Through all the comedic bungling, through all the pitiable developments that have made the Browns practically a parody of their sorry selves, their one link to professionalism has been Thomas. He played and he played well, and he kept doing it while all around him was falling apart.
On Sunday, even Thomas could not rise above it. His streak of consecutive snaps ended at 10,363 when he left the field with a triceps injury to his left arm. Thomas never before had missed a play in his brilliant NFL career.
By then, the Browns had already switched quarterbacks again, benching rookie DeShone Kizer in favor of Cody Kessler. Kizer, back in the starting lineup after being benched for one game in favor of Kevin Hogan, threw two more interceptions Sunday, raising his total for the season to 11.
The Browns tied the game in the final minute of regulation on a 54-yard field goal by kicker Zane Gonzalez. But they lost in overtime to drop their record to 0-7 this season and 1-22 since the start of last season.
It cannot be said often enough about the Browns: They went out of their way to avoid selecting Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson in the past two NFL drafts, trading down in back-to-back years with the Eagles and Texans. Now, Wentz and Watson are well on their way to being franchise quarterbacks with those two teams. And the Browns are, well, the Browns.
And now they’re the Browns without their one shred of respectability.
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