Cleveland Browns finish 2017 season 0-16

Zero wins.

Total darkness.

The Cleveland Browns are 0-16.

Their inglorious fate was sealed with Sunday's 28-24 loss to the Steelers, despite Pittsburgh sitting star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and workhorse runner Le'Veon Bell in the regular-season finale.

While rookie DeShone Kizer made some of his best throws all year -- with deep strikes to Josh Gordon (4/115) and Rashard Higgins (3/68/2) -- the Browns couldn't keep pace with a Steelers defense that piled up six sacks and saw backup passer Landry Jones throw for 239 yards and overcome a pair of turnovers while guiding Pittsburgh to four touchdown drives.

The historically notable defeat drops coach Hue Jackson to 1-31 over two seasons, joining him at the hip with Rod Marinelli, who guided the Lions to an 0-16 finish in 2008. The 1976 Buccaneers also finished winless at 0-14, but Cleveland achieved that feat weeks ago.

Jackson has now dialed up the most defeats by a coach over a two-season span in NFL history, but he's not going anywhere. Owner Jimmy Haslam announced Sunday that Jackson would return as head coach, saying, per Aditi Kinkhabwala: "I don't think Hue has lost (his) magic."

Cleveland lost four tilts this season by just three points, but consistently shot themselves in the foot with one of the worst red-zone offenses in memory. The overwhelmed Kizer led the league in turnovers for an offense that lacked identity from wire to wire and made life easy for opponents.

If there's reason for hope, it comes through the 2018 NFL Draft, in which the Browns own the top-overall pick and five selections over the first two rounds as part of the impressive haul amassed by jettisoned VP of football operations Sashi Brown.

After the Sashi-led front office passed on Carson Wentz and DeShaun Watson -- two transformative signal-callers -- it's a rock-solid bet the Browns use one of their two first-rounders on a quarterback.

The roster needs help from head to toe, but Dorsey has to be pleased with the presence of rookie pass-rusher Myles Garrett and a handful of productive players such as Gordon, Duke Johnson, David Njoku, Emmanuel Ogbah and Danny Shelton.

These young assets have shown flashes, but all played their part during a season that saw the roster crumble in key moments while Jackson offered up a litany of baffling in-game coaching decisions.

Point the blame wherever you wish in assessing this winless, autumn-into-winter disaster in Cleveland.

Blame the coaches. Blame the players. Blame the front office. Blame ownership. And last but not least, blame the severe football gods who have peered down on the Browns with utter disdain since their return to the league in 1999.

From a win-loss perspective, it gets no darker. This season won't soon be forgotten for what it represents for this once-glorious franchise: A total embarrassment.

What the Browns do from here is anyone's guess, but the only direction is up.

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