CLEVELAND — Linebacker Christian Kirksey has reached a breaking point with the officiating.
“I’m tired of having bad calls on us each and every game,” he said Sunday after the 38-14 loss to the Chargers. “I feel like the league has to do something about that. But until then, we’ve just got to make sure we don’t make the games that close to where it comes down to a certain call. There’s really nothing that you can do. It’s us against everybody.”
Free safety Damarious Randall seconded the emotion.
“It seems like don’t nobody want to see us succeed,” he said. “But I really don’t care about nobody else besides these 53 men up in this room.”
The Browns never led and lost by 24 points, so no one call was the difference in the game. But two left the Browns bewildered.
The most egregious was a missed false start by Chargers left tackle Russell Okung on third-and-6 with 57 seconds left in the second quarter and Los Angeles ahead 14-3.
He started his drop before the snap, which should’ve stopped the play and pushed the Chargers back 5 yards. Instead, the play continued, no flag was thrown and Philip Rivers threw a 29-yard touchdown to Tyrell Williams.
Coach Hue Jackson said the official on the Cleveland sideline admitted the mistake.
“Yeah, I was told they missed it,” he said.
“When it comes to officiating, there’s a lot of stuff I want to say, but I don’t want to say the wrong things,” said Kirksey, who had his first career interception in his fifth season.
The Browns feel they were robbed of a victory in Oakland when a game-clinching first down was overturned and the Raiders forced overtime and won 45-42.
“It’s just something against the Browns, every week,” Randall said.
He thought he had an interception in the end zone earlier in the second quarter, but the official ruled Williams made the catch as they both had their hands on it.
“Obviously they give anything they see two guys tussling to the offense, because it’s an offensive league,” Randall said.
The officials also ruled a holding penalty on Okung late in the first quarter happened out of the end zone. He made contact with defensive end Myles Garrett in the field of play, then grabbed him in the end zone. If holding is called in the end zone, it’s a safety.
Middle linebacker Joe Schobert left in the third quarter with a hamstring injury. He had played every snap since the 2017 opener and hasn’t missed a game in his three seasons.
“We will see how bad it is (Monday),” Jackson said.
Schobert went to the Pro Bowl last year and is off to a strong start. He had three tackles and a half-sack Sunday, giving him a team-high 49 tackles with 1.5 sacks, an interception, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble.
** James Burgess, who replaced Schobert, exited in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. He had missed the previous two games with a knee injury.
** Receiver Rod Streater (neck stinger) was hurt covering a punt in the first quarter and didn’t return.
** Center JC Tretter injured an ankle but continued to play.
** Rookie receiver Damion Ratley landed hard after a catch and hurt his “hip/back area,” according to Jackson. He returned to the game.
NOT NEARLY ENOUGH
No. 1 receiver Jarvis Landry was targeted nine times and caught two passes for 11 yards. He had at least one drop.
“He is the best receiver in the league in my opinion,” Mayfield said. “I have to put the ball in better range for him.
“I have to be more accurate. That was one of my strong suits, and today it wasn’t. I will get my stuff fixed. None of that is on Jarvis. He is doing his job. I have to find ways to get him the ball more.”
Mayfield said the Chargers double-teamed Landry, but Jackson said that’s not an excuse.
“We just have to find a way,” he said. “Obviously, that is not good enough.”
BACK IN BUSINESS
One of the lone bright spots was running back Duke Johnson, who had a season-high 109 yards from scrimmage. He had four catches for 73 yards and rushed twice for 36.
He entered with 27 touches through five games and expressed his frustration to The Chronicle-Telegram during the week.
“I thought it was better,” Jackson said. “Duke is a good football player. I have said it all along that he is. He will continue to make plays. That part was good. Have to continue to build on it.”
Ratley, a sixth-round pick, had played one offensive snap and was inactive three times over the first five games. He started Sunday in a three-receiver set after Derrick Willies broke his collarbone Friday in practice and played extensively.
Ratley caught six passes for a team-high 82 yards, his first production in the NFL. However, he dropped a pass at the 1-yard line on a flea flicker to open the second quarter.
“Ratley did a great job today. I think that he stepped up big-time,” Mayfield said. “He would be the first to tell you that he would like to have that flea flicker back. Other than that, I am very proud of how he stepped in.”
Tight end David Njoku had a career-high seven catches for 55 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown.
** Receiver Breshad Perriman was inactive after signing Saturday.
** Ravens safety Tony Jefferson was fined $20,054 by the league for a roughing the passer penalty on Mayfield last week.