Cleveland Browns follow bye week with bad week vs. Miami Dolphins – Akron Beacon Journal

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Maybe it was the warm weather. Certainly, the mid-80s temperatures and sunshine that South Florida basked in Sunday was much better than the snow that covered Northeast Ohio.

Maybe that’s what caused the Browns to emerge from the bye week and drop a bomb of an all-around performance in a 39-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

The Browns talked all week coming out of the break about a renewed feeling of energy. They talked about being buoyed by their “Monday Night Football” win over Cincinnati on Halloween.

Instead, they had the boom lowered on them by a Dolphins team that’s playing as well as any in the NFL.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re ready to run through a wall if it’s in the wrong direction,” defensive end Myles Garrett said afterward. “We really need to just focus in a little bit more, and that’s where we’re going to get back to doing. We have that kind of energy when we’re ready to attack, but everybody’s gotta be focusing and going all in the right direction, all, all on the same page.”

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Everything about the loss to Miami seemed to indicate another example of a step forward by the Browns being followed by two steps backwards. That starts on the side of the football on which Garrett plays.

The defense had shown in back-to-back performance against Baltimore and Cincinnati the look of a unit ready to change the narrative around it, from that of a group easily carved up to one that could climb the league rankings.

The run defense, though, no-showed against a Miami rushing attack that was 28th in the league coming into the game, allowing 195 yards on 33 carries. That made things easy on the second-ranked Dolphins passing offense and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who completed an efficient 25 of 32 passes for 285 yards and three touchdowns.

“We just have to make plays,” cornerback Denzel Ward said. “They made more plays than we made. I take that upon myself, too. I didn’t make enough plays to help this team win. I’ve got to self-assess and go back and see what I can do to be better and to make more plays, try to take the ball away, help the team.”

The Browns offense, meanwhile, turned in a performance that started well, then faded away. They followed the opening script, with the help of a couple of Miami penalties, to a 7-0 lead on the opening drive.

The next 10 points they scored wouldn’t come until the second half, at which point they were already multiple scores behind. In between, they turned the ball over on a fumble, turned the ball over on downs and turned the game sideways by their inability to play with any consistency offensively.

In other words, much like their defensive counterparts, a complete 180-degree turn from the performance that had them so energized before the bye.

“Lot of frustration,” receiver Amari Cooper said. “You play the game to win at the end of the day. Played against a good team, we’re a good team, just got to come out here and play better. Got to keep it competitive and try to find a way to win, and we didn’t do that.”

Jacoby Brissett’s disappointing return to South Florida

No Browns player was more sought out by Dolphins players after the game than quarterback Jacoby Brissett. The veteran signal-caller spent last season in Miami, and made five starts for the Dolphins.

Brissett, though, reiterated what he said last week about the “homecoming” game and what it meant to him.

“Nothing,” Brissett said after Sunday’s game. “Literally nothing. I wanna go win.”

Brissett started his return to South Florida is a good way, leading the Browns to a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard touchdown pass to Harrison Bryant. He was 11-of-14 passing for 115 yards in the first half.

The second half, though, wasn’t quite as good for the South Florida native, who was 11-of-21 passing for 97 yards after halftime.

“We just didn’t execute as well, and a couple bounces one way or the other didn’t go our way,” Brissett said. “It’s tough to see what the actual cause was right now. Gotta go back and watch the film and see where did the lull come, and just get ready to get better from that and got another big game coming up (at Buffalo next Sunday).”

Wyatt Teller’s back in the lineup, until he’s not

Right guard Wyatt Teller was back in the starting lineup for the Browns against Miami. That was a first since he left early in the second quarter of their Oct. 16 loss to New England.

Teller’s return from a calf injury that kept him out of two games lasted just over one drive against the Dolphins. He was replaced on the Browns’ second possession, as much as a precaution on his part as anything.

“Yeah, it was early,” Teller said. “It wasn’t feeling right. I was trying to run off the ball, trying to get my technique and fundamentals and it was just working through it.”

Hjalte Froholdt, who had started in Teller’s place during his absence, came in for him to finish out the drive. Drew Forbes came into the game late for Froholdt once the Browns started pulling players out due to the lopsided score.

That was around the same time that left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. also left the game due to an injury. Wills didn’t sound too concerned about the long-term prospects.

“They’ll check it out tomorrow and see how it is,” Wills said. “I can walk and everything.”

Jerome Ford provides a burst in his return to action

Jerome Ford’s first time touching the ball since his Oct. 2 ankle injury was worth the wait. Ford took the opening kickoff 48 yards to to Browns 47.

That was one of two nice returns for Ford, a rookie who spent the last four games out while on injured reserve. He also had a 28-yard return in the third quarter.

“I feel like all special teams is big,” said Ford, who said he didn’t have any soreness postgame. “I feel like anytime we get a chance to make a play on special teams, it helps the offense and defense out.”

Ford averaged 31.7 yards on three kickoff returns Sunday.

Contact Chris at ceasterling@thebeaconjournal.com.

On Twitter: @ceasterlingABJ