The Cleveland Browns aren't quite Super Bowl ready after their 33-29 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs

When things were tight, the Browns folded and the Chiefs flourished. That's the key difference between where both teams are at respectively.

For football fans without a dog in a fight, the Cleveland Browns season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs can be penciled in as an NFL classic. It had everything on both sides of the ball. Offensively, it's everything the NFL and fans would have hoped for – with both teams combining for 62 points and superstars like Kansas City's trio of Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill and Cleveland running back Nick Chubb shining bright. Both defenses also made key plays as well, with Browns defensive end Myles Garrett sacking Mahomes in the closing moments and Chiefs cornerback Mike Hughes intercepting Baker Mayfield to ice the game.

But, if you're a Cleveland fan, all you can do is hang your head and sigh. Heading into this matchup against Kansas City, expectations were sky-high for this Browns squad. Usually whenever you hear the phrase "Super Bowl, Super Browns!" belted out by a fan, it's usually a joke. But, this year the energy felt different heading into the regular season. Under general manager and executive vice president of football operations Andrew Berry and head coach Steven Kefanski, Cleveland finally looked stable from the top down. It also helps that the accumulation of young talent, headlined by Chubb and Mayfield, showed tons of potential last season and made it as far as the divisional round last year as well.

That's why heading into this season opener against the Chiefs, expectations were a little different compared to prior seasons. And the Browns responded well in the first half, building a 22-10 lead by halftime and things looked sharp on both ends of the ball. The offense was balanced with Chubb, Kareem Hunt and even wide receiver Jarvis Landry getting in on the running game. Mayfield, meanwhile, was looking more and more like he was worthy of being a top-dollar quarterback, getting everyone involved on the offense by spreading the ball all over the field. The defense, meanwhile, looked much-improved with the addition of Jadeveon Clowney proving he can already be the biggest difference-maker on that side of the ball.

But, the problem is for Cleveland is that there is only so much you can do to contain Mahomes and the Kansas City offense. In the second half, things started to fall apart quickly for the Browns against the Chiefs, as they were outscored 23-7. Mahomes, along with Hill and Kelce, carved up Cleveland's secondary and were key in Kansas City showing once again why they're the best team in the AFC. It also helps that on the sidelines Mahomes fired up Kansas City's somewhat mediocre defense to try and gut out one key play to stop Cleveland from regaining momentum.

“You love his attitude because he always feels like we're in it,” said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. “He does such a great job with the guys around him. He's a great communicator during tough times on the sideline.”

Mahomes's inspiration on the sideline might have played a part in Kansas City intercepting Mayfield, that turnover was the nail in the coffin for the Browns. But, that boner by Mayfield, which he said he wished he had just thrown out of bounds, was more so a culmination of Cleveland's second half as a whole.

"It’s tough right, but at the same time, we constantly are reminded that this is a team game in all phases," said Landry. "You have to play together, good complementary football. If you don’t do that and there’s still time on the clock you have a chance to get beat. Unfortunately, we’ve been on the wrong side of that. We were on the wrong side of that today."

"It is a 60-minute game, and you have to play a 60-minute game," said Stefanski. "You don’t get anything for playing a 30-minute game. Mentality wise, we got beat. We got out-coached. We got out-played. Great football team over there, and I have a lot of respect for them. We are turning our attention to Houston."

The blame shouldn't fall solely on Mayfield. Nor should fall on Chubb, who also had a back-breaking turnover in the second half. It also shouldn't fall solely on Stefanski, whose playcalling became tighter and less aggressive as the Chiefs gained momentum. You also cannot blame ejected safety Ronnie Harrison, who was first pushed by Kansas City assistant Greg Lewis. No, the blame for this meltdown against the Chiefs falls on every member of the Browns.

The second half against Kansas City should serve as a learning experience for this extremely young, but extremely talented, Cleveland team. It also showed that right now, this Browns squad isn't quite ready to make it to Los Angeles to play in the Super Bowl. If anything, this game showed that the Chiefs are still the best team in the AFC and will likely represent the conference for a third straight year, especially after the Buffalo Bills had a meltdown of their own at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Thankfully, Cleveland's season isn't crystalized into this one game against Kansas City. There are still 16 more games to go for the Browns and plenty of opportunities to prove they do belong in the Super Bowl conversation. But, for now, this loss will sting quite a bit for both fans and the organization. All eyes will now shift to next Sunday as Cleveland makes their home debut against the Houston Texans. If the Browns look composed for all 60 minutes while defending their house, it'll be easier to move on from the loss to the Chiefs. But, if they have another late-game meltdown, it might be time to worry on the shores of Lake Erie.


Thanks for reading!

Let’s stay in touch. The Right Down Euclid newsletter is a recap of the week’s top stories.

Sign up for free now. You can unsubscribe any time.

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top