There’s not kind way to put it: the Cleveland Browns were embarrassed on Monday night. Their 31-3 road loss to the San Francisco 49ers dropped the Browns to 2-3, and as the score indicates, it was a terrible, no good, really bad night for the offense. Baker Mayfield was just 8-for-22 with two interceptions; Mayfield was sacked four times and hit eight; Cleveland had just nine first downs.
It is early in the Freddie Kitchens tenure, but for as eager as Browns fans were to see Hue Jackson get the boot, the Browns under Jackson never suffered a loss as bad as they did under Kitchens on Monday.
Four-touchdown, nearly 300-yard deficit
With a tip of the cap to Reddit user “raiderjose”, the 28-point deficit was bigger than any under Jackson.
In 2.5 seasons with Jackson, the Browns certainly lost a lot, but they were rarely blown out: his worst point differential was 25 points, in his first season, 2016, and the team only had four total losses by three touchdowns or more.
In fact, the Browns have two losses by four or more touchdowns this season: Monday night against the Niners and in Week 1 against the Tennessee Titans when the point differential was 30, 43-13.
What’s more, Cleveland totaled 180 yards of offense against San Francisco, while the 49ers had 446.
That’s a difference of 266 yards, again a number bigger than any one under Jackson.
There was a 252-yard difference on Nov. 10, 2016 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Does it matter?
Is a loss a loss, no matter how many yards or points separate the winner and loser? In some ways, yes. It’s still in the L column, and bigger losses aren’t weighted. The Browns host Seattle this week and then have their bye, and could always turn it around with a few days of practice focused on themselves.
But there’s also an argument to be made that close losses show better effort or execution or maybe better coaching.
Jackson will be mocked by many for the rest of his days for his 3-36-1 record over his time with Cleveland. But if you believe point deficit is at minimum indicative of effort, at least his Browns teams seemed to put up a good fight for most of his 40 games.
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