The Cleveland Browns are still processing Sunday’s stunning loss to the New York Jets.
Cleveland possessed a 99.9 percent win probability when a Nick Chubb touchdown extended its lead to 30-17 with 1:55 remaining in the fourth quarter. Then just about everything possible went wrong to complete a collapse for the ages.
Cade York missed the extra point, and the defense allowed a 66-yard touchdown to Corey Davis on the second play of the following drive. But the Browns still could have sealed a victory by recovering the onside kick.
Amari Cooper was the closest Browns player to the kick that Jets cornerback Justin Hardee ultimately recovered. On Tuesday, per Tom Withers of the Associated Press, the Browns wide receiver took responsibility for not coming up with the ball.
“It was my play to make, and I didn’t make it,” Cooper said.
Via Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot (h/t Pro Football Talk), Cooper dissected what went wrong on the play that allowed the Jets to score a game-winning touchdown and extra point in the closing seconds.
“It’s kind of a new way of teams onside kicking the ball to where you don’t really know if it’s going to go 10 yards and it’s moving at an awkward angle — more difficult to locate the ball and make a play on it,” Cooper said. “On one hand, you want to get to the ball as fast as possible. But on the other hand, you don’t want to misjudge the ball. It’s just more difficult. But at the end of the day, you have to make those types of plays.”
Perhaps thinking it would either go out of bounds or not travel 10 yards, Cooper didn’t lunge for the football. It was one of many mishaps that cost Cleveland during the game’s final two minutes.
Before the meltdown, Cooper caught nine of 10 targets from Jacoby Brissett for 101 yards and one touchdown. He would be celebrating an excellent performance with his new team if not for an improbable string of events leading the Browns to suffer their first loss of the season.
They’ll have less time to shake off the nightmare finish before hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football.