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Punished by penalties: How the Browns home opener went so awry

Posted at 6:13 PM, Sep 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-08 20:15:12-04

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns opened up their season at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday afternoon. With all of the hype that has been building for months, fans were left with a lackluster first look at the team as they were obliterated by the Tennessee Titans, 43-13.

The impact that missed assignments, a flimsy offensive line and a couple of injuries had on the outcome of Sunday’s game were nothing in comparison to the penalties the Browns could not seem to avoid.

In the first game of the season, the Browns ended with a whopping 18 penalties, the second-most in franchise history and the most in a game since 1951. Those 18 penalties cost the Browns a total of 182 yards.

The impact of the penalties went far beyond the loss of yards. The Browns just looked plain dysfunctional at times.

Myles Garrett took a shot at Titans tight end Delanie Walker, throwing his right hand into Walker’s facemask. Luckily for Garrett and the Browns, it was only a personal foul and not an ejection—like his teammate Greg Robinson.

Robinson was ejected from the game in the second quarter after he scissor-kicked Titans' safety Kenny Vaccaro in the face. Yes, you read that right.

Head coach Freddie Kitchens said that the locker room was full of disappointment following the loss, but that they are all aware of the lack of discipline the team showed on the field Sunday and plan to turn it around next week.

“We have a locker room full of disappointment right now, which we should have,” Kitchens said. “We lost our discipline, we lost our composure—but it’s one game.”

Quarterback Baker Mayfield knows that the loss will cause people on the outside to talk, but remains confident that he and the team will bounce back through the adversity next week.

“Everybody’s gonna throw us in the trash and I think that’s good. I know what type of men we have in this locker room and quite frankly I don’t really give a damn what happens on the outside,” Mayfield said. “I know how we’re gonna react, I know what we’re gonna do, how we’re gonna bounce back and we’ve got a Monday night game so we don’t really care, we’re good to go.”

What the Browns do moving forward from this game and how Kitchens handles the issue with discipline will be determined on the field next Monday when they head to New York to take on the Jets in their first of four prime time games this season.


Camryn Justice is a digital content producer at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.