Jacoby Brissett looked like a quarterback who was playing close to his best football Sunday against the Jets.
Despite a 31-30 loss the Browns are eager to forget, Brissett and the offense provided a silver lining to an otherwise disappointing day — they generated 405 total yards with 221 of them coming from Brissett's arm. He established a great rhythm with top receiver Amari Cooper, looked for ways to get TE David Njoku involved and generated several opportunities on screen passes to the running backs.
His performance didn't result in a win, but it was a textbook example of what the Browns hope to do every week with Brissett under center.
"I thought we did a lot of good things well and moved forward toward what we want this offense to look like," Brissett said. "Each week is totally different, and we only have to score one more point than the other team. That's just the mindset. However that comes, we are up for the challenge."
The Browns set themselves up for success by using their elite run game to pound away for yards and create favorable pass situations for Brissett — and it worked.
The offense's third-down success rate is one way to measure that success.
The Browns finished at a superb 8-for-12 on third downs and only faced third downs of seven or more yards four times. By only needing a few yards on the "money down," the Browns could keep things simple and easy for Brissett, who passed on 10 of the 12 third downs and moved the chains on six of them.
Four of those conversions were to Cooper, whose production was another example of overall offensive improvement
After catching only three passes for 17 yards in Week 1, Cooper connected with Brissett nine times on 10 targets for 101 yards and one touchdown. That marked Cooper's most productive performance since Week 7 last season when he was a member of the Cowboys, and the Browns brought him to Cleveland to be the first and often best look for their QBs.
He certainly filled that role Sunday.
"That was just one of those days for him," Brissett said. "Did a really good job of understanding the plan. I thought we as a collective group understood the plan. It wasn't just Amari. Obviously, Amari was getting himself open, but players were running routes to help get him open. Just capitalized on the opportunities that we had."
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The way the offense looked Sunday is the blueprint the Browns have for the remaining nine games Brissett is expected to start until Deshaun Watson's suspension ends.
Cooper was active all afternoon, and Njoku, the recipient of a large extension this offseason, was the second-most targeted player with five targets for 32 yards. RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt also caught five passes for 42 yards, including gains of 15 and 11 yards.
It's all about giving Brissett manageable throwing situations and protecting the ball, which he did an excellent job of until the final drive when he was forced to throw and look downfield.
The Browns had 22 seconds to drive 75 yards. Brissett looked deep to Cooper, but the pass was intercepted, the lone blemish of Brissett's performance that sealed a stunning result.
"I was just trying to make a play," Brissett said.
He didn't make that one, but he had several others to take pride in that should've given the Browns a win. The late-game letdown prevented that from happening.
The loss, though, shouldn't cloud the progress Brissett showed in his second game under center. He executed the plan the Browns will have for him all season and showed he can put them in situations to win comfortably.
"I thought we were in a good rhythm," he said. "It just flows from there."
He kept things simple and efficient, which is when he's at his best.