Freddie Kitchens: Don't overreact to Week 1 blowout loss

Browns head coach says penalties in 43-13 Titans blowout are correctable

Daryl Ruiter
September 09, 2019 - 2:09 pm

(Photo by Jason Miller/Kirk Irwin/Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

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Berea, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – A day after the Browns imploded and were taken to the woodshed by the Tennessee Titans, head coach Freddie Kitchens’ message was simple.

Relax, it’s just one game.

“What we have to refrain from doing right now is overreacting,” Kitchens said a day after his team embarrassed themselves in a 43-13 loss to Tennessee. “It is one game in a 16-game schedule. We are very disappointed in the lack of discipline that we showed, the loss of composure that we showed.”

The Browns were flagged 20 times and 18 were enforced – two were nullified by superseding flags on the same play – in the worst opening day defeat since 1999 that dropped the franchise to 1-19-1 in openers since returning to the NFL.

It was a monumental letdown following an exciting offseason that had fans looking forward to a season for the first time in years.

FirstEnergy Stadium was packed at kickoff, and empty late in the fourth quarter, which has become tradition over the years in Cleveland.

“The atmosphere was incredible for that game, for an opening game, a day game and all those sort of things,” Kitchens said. “Really have never been in that type of atmosphere before. As a testament to our fans.”

Kitchens felt his team responded well in meetings Monday morning and has little doubt they’ll do so on the field next Monday night at New York against the Jets.

“The men we have in that locker room, they are going to rally together, and they are going to be accountable to each other,” Kitchens said. “They understand the problems that we created for ourselves. They will rectify the problem.

“We have a bunch of guys in there that bought in to what each other means to them. They will do that. I feel very confident that I know what we are going to get when we go to the practice field starting tomorrow, and I feel very confident in what we are going to get when we show up.”

Offensively the Browns were flagged for holding five times, false starts twice, a blindside block, a disqualification for kicking an opponent, illegal use of hands and offensive pass interference.

The defense was hit with a pair of roughing the passer, three holding, unnecessary roughness, an offsides and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

The special teams unit committed just one foul – an illegal double-team block.

“Everything we pointed out and identified in our team meeting can be fixed,” Kitchens said.

While some fans might be frustrated at the one-sided nature of how Sunday’s game was called, Kitchens was not in the mood to complain about how the game was officiated.

“We understand that you just have to play the game until you win some games, and then questionable calls are questionable calls and hopefully they go your way sometimes,” Kitchens said. “From that standpoint, we are never going to make excuses about penalties and all that. Those guys try to do a good job of officiating the game. Some of those penalties we had now were self-inflicted, too. Those are the ones that I care about.”

Kitchens was angered most by the lack of composure that saw left tackle Greg Robinson ejected for kicking Titans safety Kenny Vaccaro in the head, Myles Garrett throw an open-handed punch and Devaroe Lawrence was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct following a profane exchange with an official.

“We are going to play with class. We are going to play with pride. We are going to play to the whistle,” Kitchens said, “but we are not going to do anything after and certainly are not make comments to people that are in affect like that.”