DeShone Kizer pointed no fingers and made no excuses after a loss to the Colts that saw the rookie quarterback and Browns offense struggle for a third time in as many games.
"In order for us to move forward as an offense," Kizer said postgame, "I've got to make sure the ball's in the right spot at the right time."
Kizer took ownership of three interceptions — including one in the red zone that ended a promising drive in the third quarter — and a new-look group still building chemistry early this season.
"Turnovers are the name of this game in this league," he said, "and we went out there and had two crucial ones in prime opportunities and moments for us to go down and change the momentum of the game."
After rallying past a three-touchdown deficit, neither head coach Hue Jackson nor Kizer took much pride in a comeback that was too little, too late. Kizer said it's on him to make sure Cleveland's offense can "sustainably play well." Jackson on Monday lauded the rookie for placing Sunday's loss on his shoulders, but made clear the rest of the Browns' offense must step up around him.
"There is a part of that I do want him to assume (responsibility) because I think he knows the buck starts and stops with him, but I also recognize – he does, too, and it's my job to show him – that everybody plays a role in it," he said. "It's not just him. He has to do his part, and he has to do it better. We have turned the ball over quite a bit the last several weeks, and we can't do that if we want to win football games.
"That's part of something that we are talking about all the time. We have to take care of the football, and we have to get more turnovers away from the other team's offense. I do get that. He's guy that wants to make sure that he's out in front and wants to handle things correctly, but I don't want him feeling like everything is on his shoulders. He has to do his part and do his job better, but we all around him have to do our job better, too."
Indeed, Kizer — who completed several big time throws and finished 242 yards, passing two touchdowns and another rushing score — was hampered by dropped passes, penalties (including several offensive pass interference calls) and other miscues.
Asked about those shortcomings around him, Kizer shrugged it off. "It's my job to make sure that each day in practice that I'm out there working my butt off to become a more accurate passer, work my butt off to run the ball a little better and have better timing with the guys who are out there with me," he said.
"Between myself and almost every one of those receivers out there, we have completed hundreds of balls together and we know what it takes to go out there and play well. We have made spectacular plays in practice. We have made spectacular plays in games. I know that we just need to continue to build on that."
With that approach in hand, the young but promising Kizer expressed optimism amid an 0-3 start.
"We understand what it takes to win," he said. "Now, it's about executing consistently like I've said over and over again to get to those wins."