Final recap: Jacksonville Jaguars 24, Browns 20 (click here for the box score)
The Browns didn't punish the Jaguars for their six turnovers, and it haunted them in the end. Four interceptions and two fumble recoveries yielded only 10 points for the Browns (3-7) on Sunday at EverBank Field. The last time a team had six takeaways and lost was on Oct. 8, 2007, when the Buffalo Bills lost to the Dallas Cowboys 25-24. Like the Browns, the Bills also finished with a plus-five turnover margin. How, exactly, did the Browns manage to fall despite finishing with such a lopsided turnover ratio? They couldn't do much on offense. In the final drive in which the Browns' offense got the ball following turnovers, it produced minus-nine yards without completing a pass or achieving a first down. Rookie quarterback Colt McCoy was under siege the entire afternoon. The Jaguars (6-4) finished with six sacks for a combined loss of 46 yards. They also hurt McCoy, who suffered a left ankle injury -- probably a sprain -- when defensive end Jordan Mincey recorded his second sack of the game early in the third quarter. The Browns' offensive line simply couldn't protect McCoy, who left the stadium wearing a walking boot, in part because it couldn't help the running game find a rhythm, either. Running back Peyton Hillis had 21 carries for 48 yards (2.3 average), and the team finished with 26 carries for 88 yards (3.4 average). Without a sufficient rushing attack, the Browns were vulnerable to the Jaguars' full-force pass rush. Sound familiar? The exact same recipe led to the Browns' 20-10 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 5. In that game, quarterback Seneca Wallace was consistently harassed and suffered a high ankle sprain. The Browns' defense played well for the most part, as evidenced by a season-high four sacks and the team's most takeaways since 2002. But it also couldn't stop Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew from taking control. He rushed 24 times for 132 yards (5.5 average), and caught three passes for 87 yards, including a game-changing 75-yard catch-and-run off a short screen pass from quarterback David Garrard. At least four Browns players missed opportunities to tackle Jones-Drew on the pivotal play that set up his game-winning, 1-yard touchdown run with 1:16 left in the first quarter. After the Jaguars went ahead 24-20, the Browns' offense suddenly came to life after stalling for virtually the entire second half. McCoy led the Browns from their 20-yard line to the Jaguars' 29. On Cleveland's last offensive play, he fired a pass over the middle to tight end Benjamin Watson. The ball bounced off Jaguars safety Sean Considine, then off Watson and back to Considine, who picked off the pass to seal Jacksonville's victory. The Browns didn't have any timeouts left, but there's a slight chance they would have had enough time to spike the ball and stop the clock if Watson could have made the catch. Considine intercepted the pass with five seconds left after it ricocheted off Watson at the Jaguars' 5-yard line. The final drive, though, didn't kill the Browns. The rest of the second half did, when the offense repeatedly failed to capitalize on opportunities created by the defense.
End 1Q: Jaguars 3, Browns 0-- 1. Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee made a 47-yard field goal to give his team a 3-0 lead with 8:08 left in the first quarter. The field goal capped a seven-play, 33-yard drive. Instant impressions -- 1. Browns rookie quarterback Colt McCoy dodged a bullet when Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis dropped what should have been an interception during Cleveland's opening drive. On first-and-10 at the Browns' 35-yard line, McCoy threw a deep pass along the sideline intended for wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi. The pass, though, was underthrown, and Mathis nearly picked it off. 2. Browns cornerback Eric Wright suffered a left leg injury on the Jaguars' first drive. He was helped off the field by trainers. It didn't look good at first, but Wright walked off the field under his own power on the way to the Browns' locker room. 3. Browns defensive end Kenyon Coleman sacked Jaguars quarterback David Garrard for a loss of 6 yards, and Jacksonville had to settle for a field goal. 4. Browns tight end Benjamin Watson suffered a right ankle injury, but he re-entered the game. 5. The Browns have been lucky. They avoided two interceptions in the first quarter. Tight end Robert Royal dropped a pass from McCoy, and Jaguars linebacker Daryl Smith nearly made a diving interception after the ball deflected off Royal.
End 2Q: Jaguars 10, Browns 7 -- 1. McCoy slipped away from the pressure of defensive lineman Terrance Knighton and completed a short shovel pass to running back Peyton Hillis. Hillis turned the play into an 11-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown that capped a 16-play, 92-yard drive that lasted 9:57. Phil Dawson's extra-point kick was good, giving the Browns a 7-3 lead with 13:11 left in the second quarter. 2. Garrard completed a 5-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mike Thomas with 30 seconds left before halftime. Thomas ran a slant and sealed off cornerback Sheldon Brown to make the catch. The PAT was good, giving the Jaguars a 10-7 advantage. Instant impressions -- 1. McCoy is playing OK under fire, but the Jaguars are getting too much pressure. Give McCoy credit for great improvisation during his scramble and subsequent touchdown throw to Hillis. 2. The Browns have now avoided three interceptions. McCoy scrambled left and threw right at Knighton, but he couldn't haul it in. 3. Phil Dawson missed a 51-yard field goal wide right with 8:01 left in the second quarter. 4. The Browns are sloppy today. They're committing way too many penalties -- five for 45 yards at halftime. 5. Browns safety Abram Elam finally made an interception. After dropping potential picks earlier this season, Abram got one when the Jaguars ran a trick play. Garrard pitched the ball to running back Maurice Jones-Drew, and Drew threw a pass that Elam cut off with 7:24 left in the second quarter. 6. Jones-Drew is punishing the Browns' defense. He had eight carries for 46 yards (5.8 average) in the first half. Meanwhile, Hillis had 12 carries for 35 yards (2.9 average).
End 3Q: Browns 17, Jaguars 10 -- 1. Elam forced Jones-Drew to fumble, recovered the fumble and returned it 18 yards for a touchdown with 11:14 left in the third quarter. The successful PAT gave the Browns a 14-10 lead. 2. Phil Dawson made a 38-yard field goal with 1:50 left in the third quarter. Rookie cornerback Joe Haden's third interception set up the field goal. Instant impressions -- 1. Browns linebacker Marcus Benard sacked Garrard to end the Jaguars' opening drive of the second half. 2. After stopping the Jaguars' offense to start the second half, the Browns did nothing with their first offensive possession to inspire confidence. 3. Two weeks after Elam had a crucial forced fumble and recovery against the New England Patriots, he did it again. Great play by Elam. 4. The Browns' safeties are making clutch plays today. T.J. Ward intercepted a pass from Garrard after it deflected off the intended receiver, Thomas. 5. The Browns failed to capitalize on Ward's interception. They went three-and-out as McCoy was sacked for the fourth time. 6. Haden picked off Garrard with about three and a half minutes left in the third quarter. Haden returned the interception 31 yards, but Jaguars wide receiver Kassim Osgood caught him from behind and forced him to fumble. Browns linebacker Chris Gocong recovered Haden's fumble at the Jaguars' 19.
End 4Q: Jaguars 24, Browns 20 -- 1. The Jaguars tied the score 17-17 with 3:34 left in the fourth quarter when Garrard connected with tight end Marcedes Lewis over the middle for a 14-yard touchdown pass. The PAT was good. 2. Dawson capped an eight-play, 57-yard drive with a 41-yard field goal that gave the Browns a 20-17 lead with 2:46 left. 3. Jones-Drew ran for a 1-yard touchdown to help the Jaguars take a 24-20 lead with 1:16 left in the fourth quarter. The PAT was good. Instant impressions -- 1. Garrard committed the Jaguars' fifth turnover when he fumbled while running a quarterback draw. Browns safety Ray Ventrone forced the fumble, and Gocong recovered it. 2. The Browns have failed time and again to capitalize on the Jaguars' turnovers because they can't protect McCoy. These teams are trading turnovers and sacks. 3. Ward made his second interception of the game. Brown deflected another pass, and Ward caught the ball. The Jaguars have now committed six turnovers, including one on each of their last five drives, yet they're still in striking distance. 4. Dawson missed another field-goal attempt, this time from 51 yards with 9:47 left in the fourth quarter. 5. The Browns drove in the final minutes to put themselves in position to win. On third-and-4 from Jacksonville's 35, McCoy escaped pressure and ran left for 18 yards and a first down. McCoy began limping after the play. He appeared to be favoring his left leg. 6. Jones-Drew caught a screen from Garrard and turned it into a 75-yard gain. He scored two plays later. 7. McCoy led the Browns down the field in the waning moments, but his final pass went off Watson and was intercepted by safety Sean Considine.
Top storylines -- 1. Heading into Week 11, the Browns have played the toughest schedule in the NFL. The Jaguars are not pushovers, but they did lose to the Browns last season. If the Browns want to build a winning streak during the more favorable portion of their schedule -- the next five games -- they must get it going today. 2. The Browns will be without two of their top players. Wide receiver/return specialist Josh Cribbs (dislocated toes) and linebacker Scott Fujita (knee ligament) are out with injuries. Recently acquired Clifton Smith is expected to replace Cribbs on special teams, and veteran David Bowens should take Fujita's spot in the lineup. 3. The Jaguars took exception to the way they lost to the Browns last season. Jaguars General Manager Gene Smith has made it known his team's loss to Cleveland in its 2009 regular-season finale influenced the moves he made in the offseason. Now he'll get to see if the changes paid off.
Inactive players: Browns -- WR Josh Cribbs, Jake Delhomme (listed as the team's third quarterback), DB Mike Adams, DL Brian Sanford, TE Alex Smith, WR Demetrius Williams, DL Jayme Mitchell and LB Scott Fujita. Jaguars -- WR Mike Sims-Walker, RB Deji Karim, FB Brock Bolen, OT Guy Whimper, OT Adam Terry, WR Jason Hill, DE Aaron Morgan and DT Nate Collins.
Lineup changes: Browns -- Colt McCoy will start at quarterback in place of Jake Delhomme; David Bowens will start at linebacker in place of Scott Fujita; Shawn Lauvao will start at right guard in place of Floyd Womack; John St. Clair will start at right tackle. Jaguars -- Tiquan Underwood will start at wide receiver in place of Mike Sims-Walker.