Cleveland's first game without Corey Coleman resulted in a handful of highlights but not enough plays for Hue Jackson's liking.
With a rookie quarterback under center, Jackson wants to see the players lift up DeShone Kizer as he goes through the difficult task of playing the sport's most demanding position at the age of 21. If the Browns hope to snap their winless start of the season next week at FirstEnergy Stadium, Jackson wants to see more than he did Sunday from the players whom Kizer targets with the majority of his passes.
"It's very important. We talk about it all the time. We've got to make plays for him," Jackson said. "We just didn't do it today. It's just that simple."
There were certainly some positive moments from the group in Sunday's 31-28 loss, as two highlight-reel plays led -- either directly or indirectly -- to two Browns touchdowns.
With the Browns facing a 28-7 deficit near the end of the second quarter, Jordan Leslie went up in traffic and nabbed a high Kizer pass with one hand for a 26-yard gain that put the Browns on the doorstep for a touchdown. Cleveland scored two plays later when Kizer connected with David Njoku on the first of two touchdown passes.
Leslie, who was signed Tuesday and promoted from the practice squad Friday, was playing in his first NFL game. He played 21 snaps and finished with the one catch.
"We have a bunch of talent on this team, and it's on me to read the coverage and throw the ball where it needs to go," Kizer said. "Unfortunately, after that play the defense didn't allow us to get the ball back to him. We ended up getting the ball to other guys, and we were able to make plays (in) other places."
The Browns play the Indianapolis Colts in Week 3.
Kizer and Britt had trouble connecting a number of times Sunday but were on the same page for two of Cleveland's biggest plays.
Kizer's 38-yard pass to Britt down the left sideline preceded the Browns' first touchdown of the game. In the fourth quarter, Kizer threw from across the field to Britt, who caught the pass as he fell to the ground and tapped his toes for his first touchdown in Cleveland.
It ultimately wasn't enough for a Browns offense that fell into a 21-point hole in the second quarter. Even as it mounted a rally in the third, turnovers, drops and penalties stalled the unit's progress.
"We left some plays on the field," wide receiver Ricardo Louis said. "Sometimes not everything is going to be perfect. That's the thing with playing in this game. You have ups and downs. If you expect to be perfect all the time, nine times out of 10 it's not going to be that way. It's all about how you come back and bounce back. That's what I'm all about. I'm going to get back to work this week. I put in a lot of work, overtime, so we'll see what happens next week.
The Browns have experienced a significant change in their receiving corps in each week this season. The loss of Coleman, addition of Leslie and loss of Sammie Coates (hamstring) heading into Sunday's game were the latest for a group that skews as young as any in the league.
"(These are) young wide receivers that are going to get better and better and we know what we are capable of and the plays we could have or didn't have," Britt said. "So we have to go out there and work 10 times harder."