Browns @ Bills – Review of Game #11
Yikes, another pathetic performance by the Cleveland Browns. Poor defense, a rough offense, and mistakes for the special teams did in the team. Their playoff chances all but evaporated in Orchard Park – let’s determined what went down.
Offense: That might be the end of an era from Brian Hoyer. Another stinker from the quarterback, as his day included a pair of interceptions and no touchdowns. Johnny Manziel, who finally found the end zone, replaced him. I’m expecting the rookie to be under center from here on out, he is the guy going forward and can make plays with both his arms and legs.
As expected, the running attacked faltered greatly on Sunday. Instead of Isaiah Crowell fumbling the ball this week – it was Terrance West who put the ball on the ground for the Browns. Hopefully the offensive line can become healthy, as the third string center did not hold his own upfront. I’d like to think the running attack will bounce back next Sunday – but again I have my doubts.
Hoyer and Josh Gordon were never in synch in this contest. It showed, as the offense looked less than cohesive. Will Johnny Manziel look better with this group going forward? I would love to find out – as he can use his legs to extend plays. Miles Austin and Taylor Gabriel both need to step up going forward; neither was impressive against Buffalo.
Of course the Browns lost their weakness in their offensive line. Backup center Nick McDonald was lost for the game – and the Browns went to his backup against this tremendous defensive front. I am at a loss for words for Joe Thomas – it was easily his worst performance in some time. A few holding calls, a false start penalty, and ineffective blocking really hurt the veteran.
Defense: Not a great job by the defensive front for the Browns. Ishmaa’ily Kitchen and Desmond Bryant appeared to be the only guys who could hold their own upfront. The unit surrendered over 100 yards on the ground to the Bills. Three tackles and no disruptive plays occurred for Ahtyba Rubin – if the guys upfront want to do their job, it will take great efforts by the veterans.
Where were the linebackers for the Browns this week? Craig Robertson and Chris Kirksey played adequately, leading the team with a combined twenty tackles. Paul Kruger played decently, but was never able to take down Kyle Orton. Both Jabaal Sheard and Barkevious Mingo were rather irrelevant, as per usual. If fair to say that upgrades need to occur in this area for the Browns to be dominant in the linebacker corps.
Those ticky-tack calls against the secondary made it rather difficult in corralling the wide outs. Joe Haden was a part of a tremendous interception, but outside of that – they were less than average. Hopefully, Justin Gilbert can return next week and give this group a boost. If not, it will be a difficult matchup against Andrew Luck.
Special Teams: That miss of the Billy Cundiff field goal loomed large in the first half. Would it have made a difference in the outcome? Probably not, but who knows for the Cleveland Browns. Otherwise the unit did their job, but it was not enough to seal the win.
Coaching: The offensive game planning was not great for the guests in Buffalo. Too many failed runs early and incomplete passes late was the detriment of the offense. I want to see what Kyle Shanahan does with Manziel going forward – but that remains to be determined.