Loss leaves Browns with 1 more chance to avoid winless year
By ANDREW SELIGMAN
Dec. 25, 2017
CHICAGO (AP) — The Browns are barreling toward a winless season, and defensive end Myles Garrett had a message for anyone afraid Cleveland will draft them — don't be.
Instead, embrace the opportunity.
"Don't be fearful, be grateful," said Garrett, the No. 1 pick this year. "No matter where you're picked. If you're part of the Browns, or you're part of Chicago, whoever you are, be grateful of the opportunity. There is no curse, there is no problem here. You got to be able to execute and finish games."
That continues to be an issue for the Browns, who got hurt by two more interceptions by DeShone Kizer and two turnovers in the red zone on the way to a 20-3 loss to the Chicago Bears on a snowy Sunday.
The Browns fell to 1-30 in two seasons under coach Hue Jackson. And if they lose at AFC North leader Pittsburgh next week, they will join the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only teams to finish 0-16.
"I'm not going to change," Jackson said. "I'm going to be very consistent with this group. I have their total trust, they have mine. We just have to do some things better."
There was plenty to improve on after an ugly loss to a team that had dropped six of seven. While the Browns came up short yet again, the Bears (5-10) won in what could be the final home game at Soldier Field for coach John Fox.
Here are some things to know:
FIRST UP: The Browns clinched the first pick in the draft with their loss.
Kizer called it an ugly record and said avoiding a winless season is the bigger concern.
"You have to accept that for what it is and do whatever you can to learn from that and allow that to motivate our change," Kizer said.
ROOKIE RECORD: Chicago's Mitchell Trubisky had a pretty good afternoon facing the hometown team that passed on drafting him with the No. 1 pick.
He threw for 193 yards to give him 2,015 this season — a Bears rookie record. Kyle Orton had the previous mark with 1,869 in 2005.
Trubisky, who grew up near Cleveland, completed 14 of 23 passes facing a blitzing defense. He scrambled for 44 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown in the third quarter that made it 20-3. And he played turnover-free ball after getting picked off three times by Detroit in the previous game.
"They've got a really good pressure package and they get to the quarterback really well and disguise it really well on the back end," Trubisky said. "That's what we wanted to do was just offset it with the screens. We hit them with a couple big ones and that was really big for us. We've got to keep using that and keep the defense on their heels any way we can."
OFF TARGET: The Browns will need more from Kizer if they're going to beat the Steelers.
The second-round pick from Notre Dame threw for 182 yards and ran his league-leading interception total to 21. One of those was to a wide-open Kyle Fuller in the end zone in the second quarter.
"This definitely isn't the type of ball that I want to be playing," Kizer said. "The type of ball that I want to play ends with us getting a victory in any sort of fashion — whether I go out a and complete every play or don't complete a ball at all. It's my job to do whatever I can to lead this team to victories, and anything short of that is definitely not what I want to be doing."
FOX'S FUTURE: The Bears wrap up the season at Minnesota. That could also be the end for Fox in Chicago.
At 14-33 in three seasons, his tenure has been one of the least successful in franchise history. But even if the Bears lose to the Vikings, Fox won't finish the year with a lower winning percentage than Abe Gibron (.274), who went 11-30-1 from 1972-74.
MOUNTING MISCUES: While Kizer struggled behind center, he wasn't the only one committing big mistakes for Cleveland.
Garrett had what looked like a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown early in the third quarter with the Browns trailing 6-3 wiped out because Carl Nassib was offside. Rashard Higgins lost a fumble near the goal line that Chicago (5-10) recovered in the end zone. And Josh Gordon, playing through an illness, had just two catches for 19 yards.
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