When Browns rookie DeShone Kizer ran a quarterback sneak from the Lions' 2-yard line with 15 seconds left in the first half and no timeouts, everyone just assumed that coach Hue Jackson, perhaps overtaken by the stress that comes with overseeing the NFL's worst team, had finally and completely gone mad. There was no other explanation for the play call.
As it turns out, Jackson hadn't lost his marbles at that exact moment and there was another explanation; Kizer, the embattled rookie who has been benched twice this season, audibled to the quarterback sneak that was a complete and utter failure, even by the Browns' low-bar standards. To Jackson's credit, he wouldn't blame Kizer after the 38-24 loss in Detroit.
"It's on me,'' Jackson, who is now 1-24 in Cleveland, told reporters, via Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot. "I'm mad at myself. Nobody else. period. I'm taking the fall on everything. We're an 0-9 football team right now.''
Kizer, meanwhile, who has taken responsibility for the team's performance in the past, was less inclined to do so when the topic turned to the failed quarterback sneak.
"I think coach addressed it in here,'' Kizer said. "You know, we've got to work to get better in the red zone. I'm out there calling shots as a quarterback, so I've got to do whatever I can to get better in the red zone."
While coach and quarterback were silent on the matter, Kizer's teammates told a different story.
"We got to the line and we audibled to the sneak,'' said left guard Joel Bitonio.
Tight end Seth DeValve added: "We had no timeouts. We were trying to get the ball snapped. The refs had stopped the game for a possible review and then the play clock was going to resume as soon as they blew the whistle, so we got up on the line and we had a different play called. DeShone took it upon himself to sneak it, which is not a bad thing to do. We didn't get it. That was unfortunate, but we moved on.''
Exacerbating matters: When the play failed in speculator fashion, the Browns still had an opportunity to spike the ball and stop the clock. The execution would have to be perfect, however, and because these are the Browns that didn't happen. The Lions' defenders took their sweet time unpiling themselves off Kizer and by the time both teams were lined up the clock had expired.
"Yeah, that's the defense's job,'' Kizer conceded. "Anytime the clock's rolling, they're going to try to stay on top of you. They did a good job of making sure we couldn't get up and get the ball snapped to kill it. It is what it is."
Here's your silver lining: There are only 420 minutes left in the Browns' 2017 season.