Browns move to brink of winless season, lose 20-3 to Bears
CHICAGO (AP) — The Cleveland Browns got pushed to the brink of a winless season, and the anger and embarrassment were as easy to spot as the mistakes they made.
DeShone Kizer called it a low point in his life. Coach Hue Jackson made his feelings clear, too.
Kizer threw two more interceptions and the Browns committed two turnovers in the red zone on the way to a 20-3 loss to the struggling Chicago Bears on a snowy Sunday.
One more loss and the Browns will join the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only teams to go 0-16.
It’s not hard to see why Kizer called this “one of the more difficult moments in my life.” He insisted this will be “one of the more pivotal years in my career.”
“You’ve got to understand what rock bottom looks like before you can even climb to the top,” Kizer said.
The Browns (0-15) could hit rock bottom when they wrap up the season at AFC North leader Pittsburgh next week. But whether they’re playing first-place teams or last-place teams, the Browns (0-15) keep racking up losses.
They’re 1-30 in two seasons under Jackson. And after beating the then-San Diego Chargers on Christmas Eve last year, there was no holiday celebration for them this time.
“I’m (ticked) off because I never saw this being this way in my two years — ever,” Jackson said. “I’ve been coaching football for a long time, been through a lot of things, seen a lot of things. I just know without question we’re gonna get this fixed. ... I’m not going to let this define our organization, our players, our coaches, as we move forward.”
Kizer 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.
Defensive end Myles 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.
Mitchell Trubisky threw for 193 yards and ran for a touchdown against his hometown team to help the Bears pick up the win in what might be coach John Fox’s final home game at Soldier Field. With a 14-33 record, he could be on his way out after three seasons.
The Bears at least avoided the ultimate indignity in a season full of them by not losing to the Browns.
HAUNTING HOMETOWN TEAM
Trubisky, who grew up near Cleveland, played a big role, completing 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.”
Though he finished with 44 yards on 22 carries, Jordan Howard ran for two scores, and the Bears came away with the win after dropping six of seven.
“Don’t be fearful, be grateful. 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.” — Garrett on what he would tell players who don’t want to be drafted by the Browns.
Jackson declined comment on reports that he will hire an offensive coordinator in the offseason and hand over play-calling duties.
Browns: Garrett got poked in the eye on the first play of the fourth quarter but returned to the game.
Bears: RT Bobby Massie played through a slight knee injury he suffered in the first quarter. He exited late in the game, though Fox said he could have stayed in if needed. ... G Josh Sitton (ankle) and TE Adam Shaheen (chest) were inactive.
Browns: At Pittsburgh on Dec. 31.
Bears: At Minnesota on Dec. 31.