EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (WJW) — The Cleveland Browns had the perfect opportunity to clinch a playoff spot today in New Jersey.
Yes, they did come into the game not having the services of all of their top receivers due to COVID-19 protocols, plus a linebacker and two of their offensive linemen, but all they needed was a win and either a Colts loss or a Ravens loss to clinch a playoff spot.
“That has nothing to do with today’s loss. We didn’t get it done,” said coach Stefanski, refusing to make the absence of so many players an excuse.
The Jets had other ideas. They produced the 23 to 16 win over the Browns and held off any kind of a scenario where Cleveland gains a playoff berth after an 18-year drought.
As it stands, the Steelers, of all teams, did the Browns a favor by beating the Colts, but the Browns could not come through with the much-needed win.
“We got outplayed, I got out coached,” said Stefanski, who now has to rally the troops and come up with a win Sunday against the Steelers to try to move into the playoffs.
It is clearly a win-and-in scenario for Cleveland next week, as they are seventh in AFC playoff seeding right now.
“We still control our own destiny,” said Stefanski.
The Browns closed within one score on a Kareem Hunt touchdown with over 10 minutes left, but the point after kick was missed by Cody Parkey and that further complicated matters.
It came down to Baker Mayfield trying to sneak for a first down with 1:25 left, but he fumbled and the Jets took over. The Jets ran out the clock as the Browns were out of timeouts.
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