INDIANAPOLIS — It was too little, too late for the Browns in Indianapolis.
Despite a late rally, Cleveland fell to the Colts, 31-28, Sunday afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium on a day that watched a young team struggle on both sides of the ball. [
They didn't have much of an answer for Pro Bowl receiver T.Y. Hilton, who caught seven passes for 153 yards and had a 61-yard touchdown reception in the first half.
Much like they did in their first two games to Pittsburgh and Baltimore, the Browns fell behind early and were forced to play catch up thereafter.
Something of a turning point came when the Colts — who combined for 22 points in their first two games — scored on four-straight possessions to take a three-touchdown lead in the first half.
Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett ran for two touchdowns and passed for another in his second start with the Colts. Brissett, who backed up Tom Brady in New England before being traded to Indianapolis earlier this month, finished with 254 yards on 17-of-24 attempts.
Earlier this week, Browns head coach Hue Jackson stressed confidence and patience in a new-look offense coming together with rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer at the helm.
Kizer, who struggled with turnovers in last week's game in Baltimore, continued those highs and lows Sunday, passing for 242 yards, two touchdown and three interceptions on 22-of-47 attempts.
With starting receiver Corey Coleman out with a broken hand, veteran Kenny Britt led the team's receivers with three catches, including an 11-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
In an otherwise sleepy first quarter that saw Cleveland and Indianapolis trade five combined punts, Brissett scored on a 5-yard keeper with 24 seconds to go in the period.
The Browns responded with two big plays as Kizer connected with Britt on a 38-yard pass. Then, Duke Johnson scored shortly after on an 18-yard run in which he leaped over defenders into the end zone.
But while the Colts offense found its footing, a Cleveland offense with eight new starters struggled to keep pace.
After a score shortly before halftime, the Browns watched two promising drives in the second half sputter because of turnovers. Trailing 28-14, the young Kizer was intercepted twice in the third quarter, including once in the red zone by Colts cornerback Rashaan Melvin.
The Browns host the Bengals next Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The Browns play the Indianapolis Colts in Week 3.