NFL Nation: MarQuest Gray

Browns continue to find new lows

December, 22, 2013
12/22/13
5:40
PM ET
Pick a word for the performance the Cleveland Browns put on the field Sunday against the New York Jets. Any or all apply.

Brutal. Ugly. Half-hearted. Lifeless. Disappointing. Sloppy.

The Browns talked all week about having two more chances this season to put forth their best effort.

They performed as poorly as they have all season, and maybe in years (and that's saying something) during a 24-13 loss.

[+] EnlargeCleveland's Gary Barnidge
Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY SportsGary Barnidge and the Browns struggled to hold onto the ball against the Jets.
There were dropped touchdown passes, a penalty on the defense for 12 men on the field, a penalty that wiped out a touchdown run, two interceptions and a defense that gave up 10 points in the final 1:18 of the first half and an 80-yard drive when the Browns had cut a fourth-quarter deficit to 17-13.

It also allowed Geno Smith and the Jets to be masters of third down.

The Jets started the game converting 36.4 percent. The Browns gave up 66.7 percent, 12-of-18.

A week ago, the Bears had the best day on third down against the Browns in five years -- 64.3 percent.

The Jets, a 6-8 team that had turned the ball over 29 times, did better. And the Browns did not force a single turnover.

A week after Jay Cutler went 11-for-12 for 152 yards with two touchdowns on third down, Geno Smith (unofficially) went 9-for-12 for 107 yards, six of the completions for first downs, one for a touchdown.

For good measure he ran for a 17-yard touchdown to seal the win.

The Browns defense has been living on numbers and ranking all season, but the numbers show for the second week in a row that a back had 100 yards against them. First it was Matt Forte, this week it was Chris Ivory, as the Jets ran for 208 yards.

The numbers also show that the Browns have given up 79 points in the final two minutes of halves. They started the game with 69 points in that time, 29th in the league, then gave up 10 to the Jets in the final 1:18 as the Browns saw a 10-0 lead dissipate into a halftime tie.

Go down the line, though. Greg Little and Josh Gordon dropped touchdowns that could have changed the game (on two red zone possessions, the Browns got three points when they could have had 14). Gordon (six catches in 16 targets) was handled by rookie Dee Milliner. Gary Barnidge's penalty wiped out a rushing touchdown.

Campbell was a woeful 18-for-40 for 178 yards with two interceptions. One killed a third-quarter drive, the last was in desperation time. He also badly overthrew a wide-open MarQueis Gray late in the first half on an important third down.

Dropped passes can take the life out of a team, as does letting the opposition convert third downs. Maybe that, or maybe 11 losses this season explains some things. The Browns looked lifeless, listless and as if they have mentally checked out.

Coach Rob Chudzinski called it unacceptable.

Which might be an understatement.

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