The Browns were just inches away from earning an AFC Championship berth on Sunday night.
After Cleveland’s 22-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs tonight, Kevin Stefanski admits that he should’ve done some things differently. The first-year Browns head coach took responsibility for the crushing loss.
“I should have been better there…that’s on me,” Stefanski told reporters after the game.
#Browns Kevin Stefanski on the challenges: "I should have been better there…that's on me."
— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) January 17, 2021
Cleveland failed to capitalize on multiple opportunities tonight.
Just before halftime, the Browns drove down the field and nearly scored a touchdown to bring the Chiefs lead to 16-10. On what looked like a sure-fire TD pass, Rashard Higgins extended towards the pylon. Unfortunately, the receiver took a huge blow to the head midair — forcing him to fumble the ball out of the back of the end zone.
Kansas City then marched the ball down the field to extend its lead to 19-3 with a field goal before halftime.
In the third quarter, Stefanski utilized his strong rushing attack — something he failed to do in the first half. With a more balanced offensive scheme, the Browns were able to work their way back into the game.
Cleveland was also helped out by a head injury to reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, who left the game in the third quarter after taking a big hit.
Trailing five points late in the fourth quarter, Stefanski and the Browns were faced with a difficult situation on 4th-and-8. The rookie head coach decided to punt the ball and give his defense a chance to get them the ball back.
In a shocking twist, Chiefs backup QB Chad Henne led Kansas City to two first downs that ultimately sealed the game.
This divisional round loss will always be a game of “what ifs” for Kevin Stefanski and the Browns franchise.