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#pounditSunday, July 21, 2024

Kevin Stefanski blames himself for crucial mistake in Browns loss

Kevin Stefanski speaks with the media

Feb 25, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Cleveland Browns general manager Kevin Stefanski speaks to the media during the 2020 NFL Combine in the Indianapolis Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns coach Kevin Stefanski is holding himself accountable for a crucial error that contributed to the team’s late collapse against the New York Jets on Sunday.

With the Browns leading 24-17 late in the fourth quarter, running back Nick Chubb scored a 12-yard touchdown to go up 30-17. Had he gone down short of the end zone, the Browns could have run out the clock without giving the ball back to the Jets, ensuring their victory. Instead, the Jets got the ball back, drove for a touchdown of their own, recovered an onside kick, and scored a game-winner.

On Monday, Stefanski said he failed to remind Chubb or quarterback Jacoby Brissett of the situation, and said in retrospect he should have told them not to score if the opportunity presented itself.

“Obviously retrospect you know, you want to do anything that can secure the win, so that’s something that’s my responsibility to communicate to that huddle,” Stefanski said, via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. “You know, to put yourself up potentially 14 points inside of two minutes, you should close out that game. So, yes, I wish I had said that to Nick, and Nick would have done it. But it doesn’t change the fact that we had plenty of opportunities to win that game.”

Stefanski is correct that this should not have mattered. If the Browns did their jobs on defense and special teams, it isn’t even a talking point. Sure, the coach is correct that had Chubb gone down, the Browns almost certainly win. At the time, however, the win looked to be a near-certainty either way.

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