Regretfully, “Kevin Stefanskimade a terrified statement about his star leaving today following the game loss.”

Regretfully, “Kevin Stefanskimade a terrified statement about his star leaving today following the game loss.”

CLEVELAND (AP) — Kevin Stefanski trusted his quarterback. The wrong one.

With a chance to possibly seal a gritty win in Seattle on Sunday, Cleveland’s coach turned to his starter — his franchise QB was standing on the sideline in street clothes nearby — to make the right play in the game’s biggest moment.

A calculated gamble. Seemingly low risk. Stefanski had other, safer options.

This one backfired. Badly.

Stefanski’s decision to have backup P.J. Walker throw on 3rd-and-3 at Cleveland’s 41 with two minutes left — when a run might have been the wiser choice — resulted in another gut-wrenching loss for the Browns (4-3), who have perfected them over the years.

Walker’s short pass deflected off the helmet of Seattle’s Jamal Adams and was intercepted. The Seahawks capitalized on the unexpected turnover by driving 57 yards and scoring a touchdown with 38 seconds remaining for a 24-20 win.

Stefanski is being panned for the call, with the strongest argument that it was too chancy to have Walker, making his second start this season in place of the injured Deshaun Watson, throw in that situation.

Perhaps. The Monday morning arm-chair QBs are feasting Stefanski, who called an impeccable game to that point.

They contend a running play was better because the Browns had moved it on the ground, and even if Seattle stopped Cleveland on third down, a punt would have pinned the Seahawks deep and forced them to go the length of the field against the NFL’s highest-rated defense.

That’s making some assumptions, but so be it.

Stefanski stood by his decision.

“I felt good about our group,” he told reporters on a Zoom call. “Obviously, you’d prefer an incompletion there, you know it stops the clock at the two-minute warning. We knew that. And obviously, you would have preferred a run for a gain of 0, 1 or 2 (yards) or get it. All of that’s true, but the result didn’t go the way we wanted.”

It’s hard to lay all the blame on Stefanski, who has been put in a tough situation while Watson recovers from his right shoulder injury. The Browns’ trade of QB Joshua Dobbs — who has been starting for Arizona — before the season left Cleveland’s coaches without an experienced backup.

Rookie Dorian-Thompson Robinson started one game for Watson and was dreadful. Walker, on the practice squad until a few weeks ago, somehow led the Browns to comeback wins over San Francisco and Indianapolis and Cleveland went 2-1 despite him throwing five picks in three games.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *