Pittsburgh sacked Kizer six times, boosting its season total to 56, a franchise record.
Nearly four months removed from a taut 21-18 loss to Pittsburgh in the season opener — a game that seemed to indicate the Browns were ready to take a significant step forward in Jackson’s second year — Cleveland walked onto frigid Heinz Field still looking for its first win in 372 days.
The wait will continue for another eight months following three hours that symbolized Cleveland’s historically miserable season.
While there were bouts of competency, including a pair of takeaways by the defense and long Kizer hookups to Higgins and Josh Gordon, the Browns simply could not get out of their own way. Twice in the first half they drew third-down defensive penalties that extended Pittsburgh drives. Three times in the fourth quarter they had the ball and a chance to go ahead.
The first two ended with turnovers, giving Cleveland an NFL-high 41 on the season. The third ended with Kizer somehow escaping pressure on fourth down at the Pittsburgh 27 only to have his pass clank off Coleman’s hands and fall to the frozen turf, one last missed opportunity in a year filled with far too many.
While Jackson, who will jump in Lake Erie at some point in the near future to fulfill his vow the Browns wouldn’t go 1-15 as they did in 2016, is expected back in 2018, another offseason filled with searching awaits.