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Bengals 31, Browns 17: Coach Hue Jackson frustrated by another loss, 0-7 start — "I'm not used to this"

CINCINNATI -- Hue Jackson saw another quarterback leave the field with a serious injury. He saw his defense humiliated on the ground and through the air. He saw the clock ticking down toward an 0-7 start to open his career as Browns coach.

CINCINNATI — Hue Jackson saw another quarterback leave the field with a serious injury. He saw his defense humiliated on the ground and through the air. He saw the clock ticking down toward an 0-7 start to open his career as Browns coach.
He couldn’t take it anymore.
So with 5:02 left Sunday he called timeout, brought his defense to the sideline after a 17-yard run by Cincinnati’s Giovani Bernard and let loose. He finished the game without his headset.
Jackson’s return to Paul Brown Stadium was a disaster. Rookie quarterback Cody Kessler suffered a concussion with 7:27 left in the first half, the defense allowed the fourth-most yards in franchise history (559) and the Browns lost 31-17 to the Cincinnati Bengals.
“Yeah, I took (it) off,” Jackson said of the headset. “I called the team out. Yeah, I was disappointed because I don’t want anybody running the ball like that on us.
“Again, we’ve got to get some things squared away, but I take responsibility for it all. It’s not our players.”
Jackson is close friends with Bengals coach Marvin Lewis and worked for him for seven seasons, including the last four. The embarrassment in the reunion only added to the frustration.
“I don’t like losing,” Jackson said. “I can get just like anybody else. I can get disappointed and upset just like anybody else. I knew exactly everything that was going on. I can hear. It wasn’t like I wasn’t involved in the game, but I did (take off the headset).”
Rookie Kevin Hogan, who replaced Kessler, said associate head coach-offense Pep Hamilton was the voice in his helmet during the second half. It’s usually Jackson, who calls the plays.
“I can get disappointed,” Jackson said. “I don’t like where we are as a football team, and this is my responsibility, so, at the end of the day in my mind, I have to find a way to fix it — and as fast as I can as best I can.”
Jackson was a head coach in 2011 with the Oakland Raiders. He went 8-8 and was fired.
“I’m just being very honest. I’m not used to this,” he said. “I don’t like losing. But until we get it right, it’s going to feel like this.
“But we’re going to keep battling, I know that. I keep telling you guys — I’m not discouraged, I’m disappointed in losing. I’ve never lost like this. But I’m going to find a way (to win), I promise you that. I don’t know when, I don’t know how, but I’m going to find a way and that’s what we’ve got to do.”
Kessler, who was 9-for-11 for 82 yards, was hit by defensive end Carlos Dunlap and collided with defensive tackle Domata Peko as he went to the ground. Kessler completed a backhanded shovel pass to tight end Gary Barnidge for 11 yards but couldn’t continue.
He was diagnosed with a concussion and entered the league’s protocol. He must pass several steps before he’s allowed to return, so he isn’t expected to be available next week against the Jets.
Hogan earned kudos for making a few plays and running the offense with a degree of efficiency. He was 12-for-24 passing for 100 yards with two interceptions and a 26.4 rating. He rushed seven times for 104 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown — the longest by a quarterback in Browns history.
Veteran Josh McCown would be the first choice to start next week but he hasn’t been cleared after breaking his left collarbone Sept. 18 against the Ravens. McCown returned to practice Oct. 12, and Jackson said there’s a chance he could be back for the Jets.
“We’ll evaluate everything on Monday and see where he is and go from there,” he said.
Hogan was the sixth quarterback for the Browns in the first seven games. The 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the last team in a non-strike season to have six players throw a pass in the first seven games. They finished 0-14.
“It’s very upsetting,” said John Greco, who moved from right guard to center in the second half when Cameron Erving left with an illness. “You want to protect your quarterback. You never want that to go down.”
Jackson singled out the defense’s sieve-like performance against the run for his exasperation. The Bengals (3-4) rushed for 271 yards, 9.0 a carry and two touchdowns. Jeremy Hill had 168 yards on only nine carries — a staggering 18.7 per carry — including a 74-yard touchdown. Giovani Bernard added 80 and a score on 17 carries.
“We’re better than the way we played today,” nose tackle Danny Shelton said. “We definitely didn’t play our hardest today, or the way the Browns should play.”
Cincinnati ran for its most yards since December 2000.
“We just got exposed in some areas,” said inside linebacker Christian Kirksey, who had a team-high eight tackles, a half-sack, a tackle for loss and a pass defensed. “It was just one of those games where we weren’t fundamentally sound. If you’re not fundamentally sound in the league, you’re going to be beat.”
The pass defense was almost as bad, allowing Andy Dalton to throw for 308 yards and two touchdowns for a 128.3 rating. The Bengals totaled 559 yards, the fourth-most allowed by the Browns in their history and the most since 564 in 2008 vs. the Denver Broncos.
A.J. Green caught eight passes for 169 yards, including a 48-yard Hail Mary to end the first half for a 21-10 lead. The Bengals were content with a 14-10 lead until Jackson called timeout after the first play, so they picked up a first down and decided to try to score.
The defense has allowed 29.6 points per game and was hurt again by the big play. Cornerback Jamar Taylor fell for a double move by receiver Brandon LaFell on a 44-yard touchdown, Green had two 48-yard catches and Hill had runs of 74, 40 and 20.
The defense has consistently dug a hole for the team. The Bengals went 75 yards in seven plays and 2:46 to start the game, never needing a third down. The Browns have allowed the opponent to score on its first drive in five of seven games.
The previous Browns team to start 0-7 was in the 1999 expansion season, and it won its eighth game. The worst start in franchise history is 0-9 in 1975.
Jackson is new to the never-ending struggles. The Browns have lost 10 straight since Dec. 13 and 17 of 18.
They have uncertainty at quarterback, the starting offensive line changes constantly because of injuries and poor play, No. 1 cornerback Joe Haden (groin) can’t get on the field, one of several key pieces who have missed chunks of the season with injuries.
On a beautiful day on the Ohio River, Jackson didn’t like the view.
“We’re an 0-7 football team, so him and everyone else is completely justified in their anger,” said safety Ibraheim Campbell, who missed tackles on Hill’s longest two runs. “And we’ve just got to figure out a way to get a win.”
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or [email protected] Like him on Facebook and follow him @scottpetrak on Twitter.

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.

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