CLEVELAND — A week after a breakout performance, the Browns spoke of consistency in a run game that was starting to come into form.
Instead, the unit struggled against a tough Jacksonville defense that bottled up Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson in a 19-7 loss on a blustery Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Coach Hue Jackson saw that trend early in the game and believed, if Cleveland was going to earn its first victory of the season, it wasn't going to be through a ground game had season-high 201 yards in Detroit.
"You have to make a decision on how you're going to best win this game," he said. "I think, to a man, to a player, they would tell you that we weren't running the ball very well."
Indeed, the Browns finished with 50 yards on 18 carries. But to be fair, Jackson said his team — who finished with a season-low 184 yards — didn't throw it very well, either. He also shrugged off the notion Cleveland abandoned its run game, pointing to a third-down conversion in the fourth quarter that kept a promising drive alive.
Still, Jackson said it was incumbent on him as a playcaller to put the Browns in a position to win. Though he and players stressed the importance of establishing a rushing attack "I didn't feel that was going to be the best way to get us a victory yesterday," he said. "I didn't see that."
There's also a certain onus on the players, Jackson said, to galvanize the offense.
"In order for a playcaller to keep running the ball, somebody better inspire the play caller to keep running," he said. "A runner, blocking, whatever that is. That wasn't happening yesterday. We did what we thought was best to give our team a chance to win."