EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Cleveland Browns started the 2013 season by holding some of the NFL’s best running backs under 100 yards rushing, but struggled with three-headed running attack of the New York Jets in Sunday’s 24-13 loss at MetLife Stadium.
The Browns surrendered 208 yards and one touchdown on 39 carries, including 109 yards on Chris Ivory’s 20 rushing attempts.
“The key to the game was to stop the run, be able to stop the run, which we weren’t able to do a good enough job of,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said. “They got some big runs that hurt us. We pressured and we blitzed quite a bit, and we just weren’t able to get to him.”
In addition to Ivory reaching the 100-yard mark, fellow running back Bilal Powell added 54 yards on seven carries, and quarterback Geno Smith rushed for 48 yards on 10 attempts.
“They had a phenomenal day running the ball against us,” inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said. “Our front seven played like crap, including myself. We didn’t play good enough. You can’t win a game like that. You can’t win a game consistently giving up a 100-yard rusher. For Geno, it was easy throws. We were gearing up toward stopping the run, and he made easy throws.”
Smith had battled turnover problems, and was one of the most sacked quarterbacks in the NFL coming into Sunday’s game, but completed 20 of 36 attempts for 214 yards with two touchdown passes to former Browns wide receiver David Nelson. He was not sacked, and the Browns were not credited with a single quarterback hurry.
With Smith’s direction, the Jets converted 12 of 18 third-down attempts (67 percent) and went three-for-four in the red zone.
“He did a great job controlling the offense,” Haden said. “He didn’t have to take over as much. They did a really good job of running the ball, and once that run game was doing so well, that took so much pressure off the quarterback. They did a good job blocking and running.
“We knew he could do that, but he was never a runner. He did a really good job today. If the coverage was good down the field, he found open holes, took off and ran with it.”
Following the Browns’ sixth straight loss, Jackson said the players bear the burden of the defeat.
“It’s strictly on the players,” Jackson said. “We didn’t do a good job doing anything today, stopping the run. They were successful, and once a team like that can run, and that’s what they want to do, the game comes easy to them and it’s harder on us. We couldn’t get off the field on third down; we couldn’t stop anything. In spurts, we’d play well, but we couldn’t string enough of those three-and-outs together, and the score showed that.
“This wasn’t a good performance, and I’m talking defensively. We didn’t give our offense a chance. Our offense moved the ball well. They just didn’t have enough opportunities to do it. That’s strictly on the defense. That falls strictly on the defense. We take pride in that, and we didn’t do a good job, at all, today.”