BEREA, Ohio (AP)Jacoby Brissett’s been classy for the Browns, not clutch.
After throwing three interceptions, all in the final three minutes of Cleveland’s three losses, Brissett watched the game film and dissected every detail of his picks, two of which ended the Browns’ chance at a comeback.
He looked for a common thread, reasons for the mistakes. Brissett found them and figured out how to prevent a recurrence.
”It’s no scientific answer,” he said. ”It’s just don’t do it.”
If it were only that simple.
His picks aside, Brissett has been everything the Browns (2-3) could have hoped while starting while quarterback Deshaun Watson serves his 11-game suspension for alleged sexual misconduct. Brissett has played well while providing leadership and stability to a potentially awkward situation.
Only in crunch time, he’s crumbled.
On Sunday, with the Browns trailing the Los Angeles Chargers by one and only needing a field goal to take the lead, Brissett made a bad decision inside the 10-yard line and threw an interception in the end zone with 2:55 left.
A week earlier in Atlanta, Brissett forced a pass into heavy coverage and was intercepted with 1:03 remaining to secure the Falcons’ 23-20 win. And in Week 2, after the Browns had melted down and blown a 13-point lead in the final two minutes, Brissett was intercepted with 13 seconds to go.
There’s nothing he can do about the miscues now but learn from them. He can’t look over his shoulder despite his days as a starter dwindling with Watson returning to the team’s facility as his ban nears its end.
Brissett’s only option? Move forward.
”It’s something that’s part of the game that obviously I’m trying to work on and get better at,” he said Wednesday when asked about his late-game errors. ”And, listen, clearly I haven’t lost trust in myself or confidence in myself.”
Brissett’s next chance to atone will be Sunday as the Browns host the New England Patriots (2-3), who drafted him in 2016 and had to start him as a rookie when Tom Brady was suspended for ”Deflategate” and backup Jimmy Garoppolo got hurt.
Brissett has fond memories of his one season with New England, and the Patriots remember him as dependable.
”Jacoby looks like Jacoby,” coach Bill Belichick said. ”Big kid. Strong arm. Tough. Smart. Does a good job with the system that they’re running. Doesn’t turn the ball over.”
Brissett’s reputation for avoiding turnovers was one of the main reasons he appealed to the Browns when they were looking for a quarterback to plug in during Watson’s absence. In 30 starts over four seasons with Indianapolis, he only threw 13 interceptions.
And while his three this season are magnified because of when they happened, they haven’t caused coach Kevin Stefanski to lose any faith in Brissett.
”There are going to be moments that you absolutely have to bounce back from,” Stefanski said, ”and just the makeup that Jacoby has and the things he’s seen, the things he’s been through, I have no doubt in my mind that he will be ready to go Sunday.”
Brissett’s teammates are equally confident. They’ve been impressed with the 29-year-old’s composure and consistency and don’t see that changing.
”Jacoby’s a great player,” said Nick Chubb, the NFL’s leading rusher. ”We all know it’s a bad decision (the interception against the Chargers), but he’s owned up to it. He feels really guilty about it, but then again, he’s the one who put us in position to win the game time in and time out.
”Those things happen. We’ve all been there, so it’s not really something to beat yourself up over. You just gotta learn from it.”
Brissett promised to do just that. He’s overcome self-doubt, anxiety and grown from experiences – good and bad.
He’s not going to let a couple of bad throws, albeit costly ones, change him.
”It’s over now. The game’s over,” he said. ”I can’t go back and do anything about that. I moved past that a long time ago. So excited for this opportunity and this next one we got.”
NOTES: Newly acquired LB Deion Jones practiced for the first time since coming over in a trade from Atlanta. Cleveland’s defense has allowed more than 200 yards rushing the past two games, and Jones could help plug the middle. Jones is trying to quickly learn the Browns’ system, and Stefanski said it’s possible he’ll play this week. … DE Jadeveon Clowney sat out practice with ankle, knee and elbow injuries. … Pro Bowl CB Denzel Ward remains in the concussion protocol.
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