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DeShone Kizer's best outing interrupted by rib injury as Browns fall to Lions, 38-24

By NATE ULRICH • Nov 12, 2017 at 11:20 PM

DETROIT — With the Browns and Detroit Lions tied and rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer in the midst of his best performance in the NFL, he was knocked out of the game with six seconds left in the third quarter when he took a shot to his ribs from cornerback Quandre Diggs.

The offense failed to show life after backup quarterback Cody Kessler entered the game with six seconds remaining in the third quarter. Kizer returned to the action with 4:28 left in the fourth quarter, but by then the Browns were trailing by two touchdowns.

The Browns could never catch up and fell 38-24 on Sunday at Ford Field. Haunted by a wasted scoring chance at the end of the first half, they're now 0-9 for the second year in a row and the second time since 1999 and 1-24 under the regime led by coach Hue Jackson, head of football operations Sashi Brown and chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta.

After Kizer suffered the injury to his ribs, the Lions (5-4) got the ball back and went ahead 31-24 when tight end Eric Ebron beat safety Derrick Kindred and caught a 29-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford with 10:46 left in the fourth quarter. The Lions made it 38-24 when wide receiver Golden Tate caught a short pass and turned it into a 40-yard touchdown with 4:28 remaining.

Kizer completed 21-of-37 passes for 232 yards and one touchdown with an interception and a rating of 73.3. Kizer didn't commit a turnover until cornerback Darius Slay picked off his pass intended for receiver Ricardo Louis in the back right corner of the end zone with 1:19 left. Kizer also rushed seven times for 57 yards (8.1 average) and a touchdown. He took one sack.

Kessler went 1-of-3 passing with a rating of 42.4 and took three sacks in his two-plus series.

Perhaps fueled by their squandered scoring chance just before halftime, the Browns came out swinging to start the third quarter, producing an eight-play, 85-yard touchdown drive during which they ran six times for 70 yards. Running back Isaiah Crowell finished the march with a 6-yard rushing touchdown, allowing the Browns to tie the score at 17 with 11:01 left in the third quarter.

Then the Browns went ahead 24-17 on their next possession. Kizer threw a 35-yard pass to tight end Seth DeValve and scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak two plays later with 2:23 left in the third quarter.

However, the Lions wasted no time responding, and Stafford's 8-yard touchdown pass to running back Theo Riddick capped a four-play, 75-yard drive and tied the score at 24 with 52 seconds left in the third quarter.

Then Kizer got hurt, and it all went downhill for the Browns.

The Browns trailed the Lions 17-10 at halftime after botching a precious scoring opportunity at the end of the first half by attempting a quarterback sneak with Kizer from Detroit's 2 with no timeouts left and 15 seconds on the clock.

Kizer was stuffed on the sneak and held by defenders as the Browns tried to scramble to the line, snap the ball and stop the clock with a spike. The Browns, who took their third and final timeout of the first half with 1:17 left in the second quarter, didn't get the snap off in time, so they couldn't even set up a field goal.

Jackson threw his play sheet and headset out of frustration. Running back Duke Johnson spiked his helmet on the ground, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that was enforced on the kickoff to open the second half.

Whether Jackson called the QB sneak or Kizer audibled to the play is unclear, but either way it was another blunder by the Browns.

The Browns defense fired on all cylinders out of the gate and forced a three-and-out on the game's opening possession with a sack and tackle for loss by defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah followed by another tackle for loss by linebacker Jamie Collins and tackle Trevon Coley.

After a punt, the Browns took over at the Lions 47 and advanced to the 9 with Kizer's 38-yard deep pass to receiver Sammie Coates on the offense's first play. But the drive stalled, and the Browns settled for rookie Zane Gonzalez's 23-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead with 11:30 left in the opening quarter after Kizer's pass intended for rookie tight end David Njoku sailed high and out of the end zone on third-and-goal from the 5.

During the ensuing series, Collins intercepted a pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford on third-and-5 at the Lions 30, and the linebacker suffered a knee injury after recording the takeaway with 10:02 left in the first quarter.

Three plays later, Kizer connected with embattled wide receiver Kenny Britt for a 19-yard touchdown on a catch-and-run, allowing the Browns to capitalize on Collins' interception and seize a 10-0 lead with 8:39 remaining in the opening quarter. It was Kizer's first touchdown pass since Sept. 24, when he threw two in a 31-28 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

But the Lions responded by scoring 17 unanswered points.

They cut their deficit to 10-3 when Matt Prater capped a seven-play, 47-yard drive with a 46-yard field goal with six minutes left in the first quarter. They tied the score when running back Ameer Abdullah rushed for a 9-yard touchdown with 10:25 left in the second quarter. Then they captured a 17-0 lead with a defensive touchdown with 3:55 left before halftime.

After Browns tight end DeValve caught a 9-yard pass from Kizer, cornerback Nevin Lawson stripped the tight end of the ball, recovered it and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown.

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(c)2017 Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

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