Week Three Cleveland Browns Takeaways

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 24: Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jordan Leslie makes a one-handed catch over Indianapolis Colts cornerback Rashaan Melvin (30) during the NFL game between the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts on September 24, 2017, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

On Sunday, the Cleveland Browns lost 31-28 to the Indianapolis Colts. For the Browns and head coach Hue Jackson, this was both a kick in the gut and a sobering defeat. Although Vegas favored the Browns on the road for the first time since 2014, it turned out that Cleveland just wasn’t ready. The Browns tried to stage a comeback after making some halftime adjustments, but they fell just short. But, through all the frustration, what can the Browns learn from this lost game? Below are some Week three Cleveland Browns takeaways.

Week Three Cleveland Browns Takeaways

Slow Starts Almost Never Win The Race

When the clock hit all zeros going into halftime, the Browns trailed 28-14 to the Colts. On defense, Cleveland had already allowed over 200 yards, which is unacceptable. The Browns had dug themselves a hole, and try as they might, they couldn’t get out of it.

The second half set the stage for an (almost) epic comeback for DeShone Kizer and company. On defense, the Browns only gave up a field goal to the Colts. Then, it was the offense’s turn to do its job. First, Kizer threw up a prayer that was hauled in by Kenny Britt for a touchdown. Then, with only a couple minutes left, Kizer himself scored on a rushing touchdown to bring the Browns within three points. However, with no timeouts left, the Browns were dead in the water and only had 30 seconds left after a Colts three and out. All things considered, the slow start defensively hurt Cleveland and they could never overcome it.

Jordan Leslie Can Play, and Then Some

Earlier this week, the Browns brought back receiver Jordan Leslie after cutting him in the preseason. On Sunday Leslie paid dividends for Kizer and the Browns, and proved that the Browns were wrong to cut him. With time running out in the first half, and the Browns needing a big play, Leslie did this.

It might not have gone for a touchdown, but it was arguably one of the game’s most important plays. More than anything, it gave Cleveland some serious momentum going into the locker room at halftime. Outside of that, the catch set up a David Njoku touchdown to help kickstart the Browns comeback. While the comeback did fall short, Leslie showed that he can be a major player on the Browns, who severely lack a receiving corps.

Myles Garrett Was Sorely Missed

One thing is absolutely certain for these Browns: they desperately need Myles Garrett. Hopefully, he’ll be back next week. But, as of right now, Cleveland’s pass rush looks absolutely horrific. Against Jacoby Brissett, the Browns only came up with one sack for seven yards lost.

On the year, the Browns have only gotten to opposing quarterbacks six times. Without Garrett on the other side, it seems Emmanuel Ogbah has become something of a non-factor. Hopefully with Garrett back soon, though, things might start to turn around on the defensive front. Jamie Collins was absent with a concussion this week as well, which likely is to blame for the two Brissett rushing touchdowns. Garrett, however, is more desperately needed than is Collins. Defensive tackle Trevon Coley can’t make every play. He just can’t.

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