Ugly. Undisciplined. Embarrassing. The Cleveland Browns opened their 2019 season getting smashed by the Tennessee Titans at First Energy Stadium in Cleveland 43-13. The game was still a game until the 4th quarter happened and the Titans scored 21 unanswered points. The total yards were very close between the two teams at 346 for Cleveland and 339 for Tennessee. Time of possession was even really close at 30:42 and 29:18 respectively. It was 21-19 in first downs. That is pretty much where the similarites end.
Baker Mayfield was running for his life for a lot of the afternoon as he was sacked four times and threw three interceptions with one being returned for a touchdown by Malcolm Butler late in the 4th quarter to rub salt in a wide opened wound. The biggest difference between these two teams was the complete lack of discpline on the part of the Cleveland Browns. They finished the game with 18 penalties for a total of 182 yards and had 2 players kicked out of the game. Starting left tackle Greg Robinson was tossed for kicking Titans’ Kenny Vaccaro in the head as a play was finishing up. Browns Defensive End Myles Garrett came close to an ejection early in the game as he opened hand slapped Delanie Walker across the helmet. Another Cleveland player was ejected late in the game, and it was for mouthing off to a referee as he was walking off the field after a play was over.
This was a game where Freddie Kitchens looked completely in over his head and couldn’t deal with the breakdown in discipline, and the scheme Mike Vrabel brought in worked well against Baker who came in looking like he spent the offseason reading their press clippings and arguing with national media. Maybe now he’ll have his team put their heads down, not listen to any of the noise, and come into week two a lot better prepared. You can look amazing on paper, but you still have to play the game of football physically and mentally. At the end of the day it is only 1 game, the first game, and there is a lot of games left to play and they should be alright. There is nothing wrong with a wake-up call. The Browns now look ahead to week 2 when they head on the road to face the Jets in New York on Monday Night Football.