The Browns had the ball at the Rams’ 40-yard line in the fourth quarter, with a chance to take the lead. But instead of trying to get the first down with a Baker Mayfield pass, Kitchens called a draw to Nick Chubb, who was stuffed for a two-yard gain.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, no NFL team had attempted a draw on fourth-and-nine or more since at least 2007, when ESPN began tracking such calls.
“It just didn’t work. It was a bad call,” said Kitchens, who is Cleveland’s offensive playcaller. “We’re trying to win the game and we’re on their side of the field. Bad call.”
With solid field position, the Rams drove down to kick a field goal and extend their lead.
Mayfield was also asked about the playcall, as well, but blamed execution for coming up short.
“I know what you guys are gonna try and do is talk about the playcalling,” Mayfield said. “But you know what, that’s why I said execution’s the most important thing. Whatever we have called, we have to do our job.”
The Browns still had a chance to send the game to overtime late, with Mayfield driving the offense to the Rams four-yard line with 43 seconds remaining. But after three incompletions, Mayfield’s desperation heave was picked off in the end zone, sealing the victory for Los Angeles.
Considering the Browns still had all three timeouts, Kitchens was asked why he didn’t try to run the ball with Chubb then.
“I should’ve run it one time,” Kitchens confessed. “I should’ve — that’s why I’m kicking myself in the ass for it right now.”
Kitchens, who took over as Cleveland’s interim offensive coordinator midway through last season as the Browns surged down the stretch, went on to take responsibility for Sunday’s loss, which dropped the Browns to 1-2 on the season.
“I gotta do a better job during the course of the week, putting these guys in better situations and then on game day,” he said. “So, if you’re looking to blame somebody, blame me. Don’t blame any of our players; don’t blame any of our other coaches — just blame me, because I can take it.
“Go write your article and say I messed the game up. Go write your article and say it’s my fault things [are] not looking like it did last year. Because it is.”