If you’re feeling bad today about the fact that the Pittsburgh Steelers are 2-1 after they dropped a pitiful game yesterday evening to the Eagles in a 31-point loss, think of it this way: at least you’re not rooting for the Cleveland Browns. Though they managed to score 24 points, they missed a game-winning field goal and lost in overtime to a then-winless team to go 0-3 themselves.
That’s right, business is boomin’ in the factory of sadness that is Cleveland, Ohio. But at least they have that NBA title, right?
For the third time in as many games this season—and, in fact, for the fifth time in as many games going back to last season—the Browns started a different quarterback, yesterday’s choice being rookie third-down draft pick Cody Kessler, who did manage to complete 21 of 33 pass attempts for 244 yards, but he neither threw a touchdown nor an interception over the course of the contest. He did fumble twice, losing one of them.
In fact, the Browns only managed to get one of their two touchdowns on offense, that being a carry by the other player who played quarterback for Cleveland on the day, quarterback-turned-wide-receiver Terrelle Pryor, who is now the team’s top target with rookie Corey Coleman sidelined.
The other touchdown was scored by—who?—cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun, an undrafted rookie who was claimed off waivers by the Browns from the Jaguars a few weeks ago. Boddy-Calhoun not only played in, but started, his first game, and recorded a 27-yard interception returned for a touchdown.
Also making his unfortunate first appearance for the Browns was kicker Cody Parkey, who spent all of 2014 and three games in 2015 with the Eagles, making 35 of 40 attempts in that span. Yesterday, however, he missed three field goals out of six tries, including a 46-yard potential game-winner after the Browns recovered a fumble at Miami’s 27-yard line with 20 seconds to play.
Rather than try to advance the ball, with a timeout in hand, the Browns took a knee and used the timeout with four seconds left, thinking that their kicker who had already missed two kicks and who was just signed would be the wise choice from 46 yards out with no further assistance. These are the sorts of products that the factory of sadness has been churning out for decades.
The Browns actually won the turnover battle with three takeaways versus a lone giveaway, and matched the Dolphins’ four explosive plays with four of their own, but Miami produced four touchdowns on offense, while Cleveland mustered one. They continue to sit alone at the bottom of the AFC North standings, winless.
It’s hard to imagine what will come next for the Browns on a week-to-week basis as they mix a volatile concoction of misfortune and poor decisions that result in a relentless cascade of futility. Just writing about them helps keep in perspective whatever might be going on at the time in Pittsburgh.