Cleveland Browns fourth quarterback couldn't prevent fifth loss

Dec 3, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Joe Flacco (15) gestures
Dec 3, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Joe Flacco (15) gestures / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Back in 2008, the Cleveland Browns utilized four different starting quarterbacks in Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn, Ken Dorsey and Bruce Gradkowski.

On Sunday at SoFi Stadium vs. the Rams, Kevin Stefanski opened the game with veteran Joe Flacco behind center. Shades of ’08 as the one-time Super Bowl XLVII Most Valuable Player with the Baltimore Ravens is starting quarterback No. 4 for Cleveland this season.

The year began with Deshaun Watson and the team owns a 5-1 record with him as a starter. Rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson has made three starts (1-2) and P.J. Walker (1-1) has two starts. It added up to a 7-4 start, with each of the three winning and losing at least one game.

Enter Flacco, who guided Stefanski’s team to a touchdown on the game’s first possession. He finished the game with 254 yards through the air and a pair of scores. However, the afternoon ended on a sour note. Flacco served up a fourth-quarter interception, and late in the game was sacked for a safety in the 36-19 loss.

The 16-year veteran was making his first appearance since Week 18 of 2022 when he started for the New York Jets at Miami. Incredibly, he became the Browns’ 39th different starting signal-caller since the team returned to the NFL in 1999 as an expansion franchise.

Unfortunately, that late pick fits in somewhat with the performances of Watson, Thompson-Robinson and Walker.

The Browns have turned over the ball 24 times in 12 contests, with their quarterbacks responsible for 18 of those miscues. Flacco has just the one pick but the other three signal-callers have thrown at least four interceptions. Both Watson and Walker have also lost a pair of fumbles. It’s worth noting that Stefanski’s club has only played one game this season in which they did not commit a turnover.

So, can Flacco come in and take care of the football better than the other three? That’s what the Browns are certainly counting on. Considering this was his first game in nearly a calendar, he answered the bell quote nicely.

The Browns are 7-5, but the last few weeks, their defense hasn’t been up to snuff. They made need more from their offense to stay on course for a playoff berth. Flacco may wind up being the answer after all.