Youngho Koo’s 45-yard field goal and Jacoby Brissett’s last-pass interception provided the difference in the closing minutes.

ATLANTA — The vibe wasn’t great from the start, and in the end it proved to be true.

The Brown suffered a potentially devastating 23-20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, dropping what many called a preseason victory. Cleveland blew the lead in the fourth quarter as both the offense and defense went toe-to-toe late, with Youngho Koo’s 45-yard field goal and Jacoby Brissett’s last-pass interception providing the difference.

This week has largely been dominated by the car crash involving Myles Garrett, and while both he and his passenger suffered relatively minor injuries, the star quarterback was unable to give her a warm welcome on Sunday. Jadeveon Clowney and Taven Bryan were also out, and the Browns’ front seven was broken after the Falcons made some adjustments to their game.

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For Cleveland, Nick Chubb was brilliant as always, rushing for 118 yards and a touchdown. Jacoby Brissett had his moments (including a four-yarder), but an uninspiring second half left him 21-of-35 for 234 yards and a pick. Amari Cooper had just one catch for nine yards, and despite having five of his own, David Njoku committed a costly fumble that led to Atlanta’s TD.

Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota struggled, completing just 36.8% of his passes for 139 yards and an INT. After the Birds’ coaching staff noticed the passing attack wasn’t working, the team leaned heavily on the run, with Tyler Allgeier and Caleb Huntley combining for 140 yards and a touchdown with Cordarrelle Patterson somewhat limited.

The Browns host the Los Angeles Chargers next Sunday, now 2-2 and still in first place in the AFC North. Meanwhile, the Ultimate Cleveland Sports Show has your instant reaction to tonight’s game:

Also, here are some postgame observations from 3News’ Tyler Carey:

1. Defense fails again

There are plenty of culprits, but once again the Browns defense tops the list.

The unit did pick up after a slow start, pressuring Atlanta quarterback Marcus Mariota and causing some wayward shots. So the Falcons adjusted by switching almost exclusively to the run. Even with Cordarrelle Patterson limited, Cleveland was helpless to stop it, allowing 202 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

And what would Brown’s defensive collapse be without a little “miscommunication”? In what turned out to be the game-winning drive, Mariota found a wide open Olamide Zaccheaus for a 42-yard gain thanks to another coverage break. Both Denzel Ward and John Johnson III were in the zone, and for good measure, a masking penalty on the latter put the Falcons within field goal range.

I understand that Myles Garrett and the rest of the front four are out, but there are no excuses for this effort.

2. Red zone of trouble

Twice in the first half, the Browns cost themselves by changing their minds over the goal line. Instead of taking a field goal early in the game, Kevin Stefanski opted to go for it from the 4-yard line, and Jacoby Brissett fumbled it out of the end zone.

Cleveland did settle for three later, but only after a second-and-goal penalty pushed them back. Had they continued their elite running attack, a touchdown seemed likely, but instead they tried to pass.

Such missed opportunities can cost teams. Who knows what would happen with better decision making?

3. Brissett looks normal

Jacoby Brissett had a strong first half, but proved in the second why he’s been a productive QB for most of his career. It certainly wasn’t his worst game, but he was largely a non-factor, and it was the second time in three weeks that he threw a potential game-winning interception.

Overall, the Browns offense never got going, only gaining some sense of momentum when they fed Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt in the fourth quarter.

4. Let’s talk about coaching

We can’t forget that Kevin Stefanski is still in charge of the offense. Many are going to point out his choice to miss a field goal (again) before failing to convert on fourth down, and his reluctance to use Chubb and Hunt from the 1.

And then there’s Joe Woods, who has had to endure the wrath of fan criticism seemingly over his hiring. It wasn’t always fair, but those first four games won’t be a highlight on his resume, and today, the lack of adjustments in the Falcons’ game plan, along with another late crossover in the secondary, is coming again.

The responsibility starts at the top, and much of the responsibility for this latest defeat lies with the coaching staff. I’m sure Stefanski and Woods know this, but at some point the results have to change.