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Monthly Archives: December 2014

So Long, Farewell….

So Long, Farewell….

Browns @ Ravens – Review of Game #16

Well, the Browns gave everything they have in this contest. They had an early goal-line stand and a solid offensive drive leading to a touchdown. However, that was not enough – as the Browns fell once again to the dirty birds. I’m simply amazed at how the Browns can find new ways to blow it to division rivals, but here we are. There was improved quarterback play, and some decent defense – but the Browns are losers again. Let’s analyze…

Offense: I’m really intrigued to see Connor Shaw with this team next season. The undrafted rookie made a couple of plays, and was much better in the pocket than his rookie counterpart. He’s got a ton of room to grow if he wants to be a starter in the future – but it could have been a lot worse. While the former South Carolina star did not find the end zone passing, he was not awful. His early fumble was expected to be a tone-setter, but the quarterback managed to have a decent outing. I’m looking forward to his progress heading into 2015.

Returning back to Baltimore, Terrance West was there to impress. The rookie runner finished the contest with just under 100 yards and the only offensive touchdown. I’m intrigued to see how he and Isaiah Crowell matchup in the offseason and going forward. With better quarterback and offensive line play, the running attack should be solid.

My oh my, Andrew Hawkins is an enigma for the wide receiver corps. He made some nice, shifty plays for the offense – while still dropped a couple of easy tosses. Taylor Gabriel led the group with three grabs for sixty-six yards. Jordan Cameron also had three grabs. This team needs to dump Gordon and acquire a pair of stalwarts this offseason – doing so could lead to a solid group for whoever is under center.

Early on, I thought the five guys upfront did everything they were asked against the defensive line. Mitchell Schwartz made a bonehead penalty and Nick McDonald fumbled an early snap, to kill this offense. I desperately want to see the team get a new right guard and tackle between free agency and the upcoming draft.

Defense: At least the defensive line did not give up over 200 yards on the ground in this contest. They did surrender 119 rushing yards to Justin Forsett, but at least it was an improvement for the orange and brown. There was little to no pass rush upfront, which must be addressed in the coming months. No guy really stood out, even Scott Solomon was locked down on the edge.

Craig Robertson and Paul Kruger each had tremendous outings by the linebackers. The former had a couple of nice stops against the run, and was exceptional in coverage (outside of a few plays). The latter was disruptive on the outside and had a forced fumble, knocking the opponent out of field goal range. Karlos Dansby and Chris Kirksey each underwhelmed, but those things happen in the NFL.

Despite the fact that Joe Haden is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, the veteran gave up the deep toss on the go-ahead drive in the fourth quarter. It’s beyond frustrating, but unless #23 can step it up in crunch time, this will be his Achilles’ heel. Buster Skrine, K’Waun Williams, and Jordan Poyer each had their moments – I think they are reliable athletes who can be a part of the team going forward. Tip of the cap to Jim Leonhard; the newly retiree had a solid career and I wish him all the best (I just wish the Browns had him a few years ago).

Special Teams: Bringing out kickoffs nine yards deep has been killing this offense. The Browns lost the starting field position battle, and it did not help matters. Other than that, the special teams were on par with the Ravens’ – not terrible but not spectacular.

Coaching: Kyle Shanahan called a conservative game plan for this offense and it showed. While they held their own for a while, it was a dagger late in this contest. It was the best as they could have expected but still not enough. Defensively, the coaches could not generate a pass rush all day and it killed the defense. At the end of the day, it was another division loss and a losing season.

What’s Next: After a week break, we’ll look back at this 2014 season and all the excitement around this offseason after that. It is safe to say there are many important decisions to be made by Ray Farmer from now until May 2015.

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2014 in NFL Season

 

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The Last Game of the Season – Cleveland Browns

The Last Game of the Season – Cleveland Browns

Browns @ Ravens – A Preview of Game #16

It has finally come to this; the Browns conclude their 2014 campaign at the cesspool known as M & T Bank Stadium. Success for the orange and brown there has been few and far between (I recall close wins in 2002 and 2007 – their only winning seasons since 1999). Expectations are low for the visitors, according to national and local pundits. However, they have a shot to make an impact on the AFC playoff picture. Let’s break down this matchup against the purple and black.

Offense: Despite the fact that the Ravens are ranked 30th in the league against the pass, you can bet that they will be baiting Brian Hoyer to throw plenty in this contest. The opponent will be bringing pressure and disguising coverage in order to confuse the passer on drop backs. Can the signal caller make snap decisions and execute plays correctly? I have my doubts, but he at least led a touchdown drive last game.   At a minimum, I want zero turnovers and at least one touchdown by the signal caller.

On the other hand, the opposition has been stout when stopping running backs – surrendering less than ninety yards per game on the ground. That should not be a deterrent from the Browns’ game plan though. I envision the coaching staff putting a plan of attack together similar to the one against the Raiders. Despite rushing for only 1.6 yards per carry, the Browns toted the ball twenty-five times and let the quarterback make some big plays (in that contest). I hope Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West can slip through the defense for some long gainers – that might be the best bet for a solid offensive output.

What to make of this receiving corps; their success has been largely dependent on the play of the quarterback (which should come to no surprise). Over the last month, the play of Taylor Gabriel, Jordan Cameron, and Josh Gordon has greatly diminished. There must be some sort of rapport building between Manziel and his wide outs. I firmly believe Hawkins and Gordon can be a part of an exceptional trio going forward – provided they pick up a stalwart opposite Josh. For the time being, I just want to see some longer receptions and, even more importantly, tough grabs made in traffic.

Will the offensive line get it in gear for this contest? All five must be in synch to excel in both the running and passing games. The Browns have struggled when trying to pick up those “tough yards” in the past few contests – i.e. third down and one. This will not be cleaned up for this contest; even without the services of Haloti Ngata for the Ravens. The Browns will pass to set up the run – which could be a scary thought for Browns fans. Ryan Seymour and Mitchell Schwartz are the keys for the unit – they have allowed defenders to cross their face in some contests when the entire offense was failing.

Defense: The thought of the run defense facing Justin Forsett terrifies me. The veteran has been rushing the ball well all season long, while his counterparts have been extremely disappointing a majority of 2014. Even if John Hughes returns for this contest, I do not have a great deal of faith that the defense can slow down the home team’s running attack. With the future of Ahtyba Rubin still in doubt, the nose tackle must put everything into this contest – if he wants to return to this team next season. Billy Winn will want to prove he can be a full-time starter beginning in 2015; this final meeting could be an early glimpse into his expectations with a large workload.

Will the improved play of Barkevious Mingo continue at Baltimore? The second-year pro is standing out primarily as a pass rusher, but he is much more reliable now than he was in week one. Paul Kruger will try to put on a show against his former squad, and there’s a good chance that he can make some plays. A turnover forced is what I want to see from the former University of Utah standout. Both of the younger inside linebackers are becoming mainstays for this defense. Are they both exceptional, top-tier talents? Not at this point, but give them more playing time and their developments ought to continue.

This contest will be a litmus test for some of the youth in the secondary. This refers to Justin Gilbert, Pierre Desir, and K’Waun Williams. Two of these three rookies have made solid plays in this campaign, while Desir has been battling injuries since training camp. I would love for one to haul in an interception and be a part of multiple pass breakups – thus providing hope going forward. This might be Jim Leonhard’s final NFL game; I want to see him go out in a blaze of glory. He has been a tremendous safety, who does many things well. Why not a recover a fumble and return a punt for more than ten yards?

Special Teams: Can Garrett Hartley hold up if this contest is a close one? He has not had a big kick in quite some time, but he should still (hopefully) be an improvement over his predecessor. The return game has been non-existent for the Browns all season long; just take a knee on kickoffs! As long as the coverage teams limit Jacoby Jones, I would feel content with that part of the team.

Coaching: It’s time to be aggressive and see how the young guys respond. Pettine and Shanahan must put the offense into unpredictable situations (for the defense) where Hoyer can succeed. Defensively, it will continue to be about putting pressure on Flacco. Send a few safety blitzes, as well as some edge rushes – whatever it takes to make the pocket uncomfortable.

Prediction (My Record: 10 – 5): I believe the Browns keep this one close for most of the way, only to see the home squad recover a turnover and expand their lead. The Ravens turn away the Browns by the score of 27 – 16.

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2014 in NFL Season

 

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Ugh…Another Browns Loss

Ugh…Another Browns Loss

Browns @ Panthers – A Look Back at Game #15

Well, what we learned again on Sunday is that Brian Hoyer is a better professional quarterback (right now) than Johnny Manziel. Overall, the team was dysfunctional, and they made their poor opponents look good.   When it was all said and done, it was another loss by the Browns. Let’s take a look back at the fourth loss in a row for the orange and brown…

Offense: The injury to Johnny Manziel was probably the best thing that could have happened to the Browns’ offense. The unit actually got their stuff together, and the signal caller hit Jordan Cameron for a long touchdown. Personally, I would like to see Hoyer back with this team next season, but that will likely not occur. Manziel has been horrific in 2014, if he is on the bench next season with Hoyer at the helm – then I could be complacent.

Isaiah Crowell got a few carries in this contest, and he was the only running back who got a shot at running the ball. He finished with just fifty-five yards on sixteen carries and gave the only glimpse of a running attack for the Browns. I was surprised that Terrance West did not get a carry – and the running game was not utilized at all. This is another area where the Browns can excel; it just takes a tremendous effort by the line and the backs.

Once Hoyer was re-inserted into the lineup, the wide outs finally got involved into this contest. This includes Andrew Hawkins, Josh Gordon, and Jordan Cameron. The latter had a tremendous touchdown – something a veteran signal caller would only see.   Gordon dropped an easy play on third down early and caught a few tough from Hoyer. I just want to see the veteran under center – he gets the most from the wide outs.

The injury to Ryan Seymour led to Nick McDonald playing back at center. The offensive line was less than stellar, but the guys upfront were less than consistent. At least Joe Thomas didn’t commit any penalties in this contest – the left tackle held his own reasonably well. I would still like to see the team draft a guy up the middle to help with blocking. We shall see, but that could really be huge for the Browns going forward.

Defense: Well, at least this game ended. The run defense got smoked in this contest, and gave up a fair amount of yards on the ground. Jonathan Stewart ran easily and had more than 100 yards in the first half alone. None of the guys upfront had success with great ease. The Browns’ defensive has been miserable recently; I’d like to believe they will get better going forward. The team needs to find some reliable guys upfront and soon.

So Solomon was the only guy who put a big of a pass rush against the Panthers. I was completely impressed with the play of the new member of the Browns on the edge, but no one else was very impressive in this contest. The inside backers played adequately in this contest – unfortunately if was not good enough to win this contest. Neither guy inside played well, but it was decent enough if the offense was good enough.

The secondary played good enough just to win, but they had to cover Kelvin Benjamin. The rookie tore up the defensive group, and converted against the secondary against the secondary. Buster Skrine played his best, but was unable to shut down the offensive unit. It was a respectable effort, but they will need a great effort to win on Sundays.

Special Teams: Garrett Harttley made a pair of a field goals, that was the best for the Browns’ special teams. The coverage team did not hold their own, but the offense did not give them a great opportunity to succeed.

Coaching: They let Johnny Football be himself, and it did not work. I was disappointed to see the lack of execution by his part. Granted, he is still a rookie, but he did himself no favors going forward. I always wanted Teddy Bridgewater last spring, and this game cemented this, hopefully Hoyer can play well the last game and the team makes a wise decision going forward.

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2014 in NFL Season

 

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On to Carolina – Previewing the Browns Next Opponent

On to Carolina – Previewing the Browns Next Opponent

Turning the Page to – Game #14 – Browns @ Panthers

I still cannot believe the Browns played that poorly last week; however, they must forge on and get ready for a Carolina Panthers squad coming off a narrow (and critical) win. Although the playoffs are out of reach, the Browns must continue to improve – especially the offense (who has miles to grow). Despite their most recent effort, I feel they have a shot in this contest. Let’s break down the matchup.

Offense: So game number two must be better for Johnny Manziel than the first one, right? Granted, he was put in some poor situations (play-call wise) – but he could not move the football down the field at all. I figure Kyle Shanahan will revert to more of a traditional shotgun look, and temper the zone read option. Additionally, I would like to see some longer routes run by Josh Gordon, Andrew Hawkins, and Travis Benjamin. Do I expect Manziel to hit these athletes for deeper gains? I hope so, but worst-case scenario is that he finds the open man underneath consistently.

Put back in the quick toss and off tackle plays already! The option plays killed any momentum for Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West. The aforementioned calls can get the athletes in space and actually allow them to pick up yards (provided there’s room to run). Additionally, I would hope the team looks for a quick handoff or a toss on third down and short – as opposed to a designed quarterback draw. The success of the running attack is highly dependent on the five guys upfront and their ability to do their jobs.

The Browns have not thrown a touchdown pass since Josh Gordon was reinstated to this team. I’m hoping this streak ends on Sunday; the wide outs are too talented to not be able to make a big play. I understand there was several three-step and five-step drop backs last week, but each receiver has the speed to bust a long gainer. And when Manziel actually has a seven-step drop, look for a guy or two to get behind an unsuspecting defender.

I really had no idea what was going on with the offensive line last week. If the Browns don’t fix what ailed them, then they won’t be able to beat anyone in the NFL. Penalties, missed assignments, and overall poor play are inexcusable – and this was not the preseason. The main problem is see is on right tackle, where Mitchell Schwartz has been struggling. Manziel must get the ball out early on several occasions, as he has been under pressure and looking for defenders to avoid. If Schwartz can get some help, maybe this offense has a chance.

Defense: The Browns’ defense better put a (figurative) target on the chest of Jonathan Stewart after that dismal performance against Jeremy Hill. Their goal should be realistic – hold the Panthers to under 100 yards on the ground. Anything better than that would be icing on the cake. The bottom line is that Desmond Bryant cannot do it all himself – the defensive end has been exceptional but has also been the only reliable guy upfront. Ahtyba Rubin and Billy Winn should be playing better – this week would be a good time to do so.

For the first time in awhile, someone outside of Paul Kruger is making plays at outside linebacker. Barkevious Mingo has been improving his play when getting to the edge on passing plays. The problem might come when the Panthers are handing it off a majority of the time – neutralizing Mingo’s effectiveness. I have liked what I have seen from Chris Kirksey and Craig Robertson recently. Both have been stout against the run and the pass. I anticipate at least three key plays from this duo; whether it’s a forcing of a turnover or causing the defense to get off the field in a key spot.

It will be interesting to see who lines up at cornerback and how often for the Browns this week. Both cornerbacks Joe Haden and Justin Gilbert left last week’s contest (with minor injuries), while K’Waun Williams did not participate at all. On the flip side, rookie Kelvin Benjamin has used his height and length to make opponents look foolish this year. I expect the wide out to have at least one score, but the Browns’ secondary to have a good performance otherwise. Tashaun Gipson’s possible return could be huge for the visitors.

Special Teams: Kicker Garrett Hartley never got his shot to kick last week – hopefully he can put some points on the board in Charlotte. The special teams overall have been resilient and consistent over the past few games. What I want to see in this contest is one huge break; a turnover forced or a very long return.

Coaching: My, oh my, the offensive staff must throw out last week’s playbook and put Manziel in spots to make plays. The quarterback cannot afford to be pegged in certain situations that will not lead to success. Defensively, aggression is the key – you better bet the Panthers will try to run it consistently. Stop it early and the whole complexion of this matchup changes. 

Prediction (My Record: 9 – 5): I envision a multitude of improvements by the Browns in this contest and can see them actually scoring points. However, the home team will make one more play and will pull this one out to the tune of

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2014 in NFL Season

 

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So the Browns Can be Worse

So the Browns Can be Worse

A Look Back – Game #13 – Browns vs. Bengals 

Awful, horrible, embarrassing – use whatever adjective you want to describe that game. Horrible offense, bad defense, and little to no contribution on special teams was the name of the game for the Cleveland Browns. I was deeply surprised and saddened by this outcome. Without further ado, let’s review this rotten mess.

Offense: Johnny Manziel passed for only eighty yards and heaved a pair of interceptions into his rookie debut. The Bengals crowded the line of scrimmage early and often, and the Browns’ signal caller succumbed to pressure before he could complete a pass. I know he will bounce bad – frankly, he has to. There are a ton of adjustments that he and Kyle Shanahan have to make before success comes.

Seventeen carries for fifty-three yards for the Browns’ running game? None of the rushers stood out and were very underwhelming. That said, it might have been due to the defenders crowded the line of scrimmage all game long. Perhaps Crowell and/or West could bust a huge gainer with Manziel as their quarterback – but I felt a five-yard dash was an achievement today.

Poor quarterback play leads to bad statistics for wide receivers. Andrew Hawkins and Jim Dray each had huge drops, while Josh Gordon’s thirty-two yard reception was the only impressive passing play for the Browns. I will be under the belief that he can at least be like Brian Hoyer and get many guys involved in the passing game; the only problem is that he has to be accurate for that to happen.

Wow, what a miserable game by the offensive line. Mitchell Schwartz got beat multiple times of the right edge by Carlos Dunlap, while Ryan Seymour invited Geno Atkins into the backfield a few times. Joe Thomas’s streak of mental errors is appalling. The veteran is committing false start and holding infractions at an alarming rate. I am looking forward to Ray Farmer overhauling this group in the offseason.

Defense: Is surrendering 244 rushing yards a good thing for an NFL defense? Despite the facetious question, how can the front four look this badly? They got blown off the football regularly and outside of Desmond Bryant (four tackles and one sack), all defensive linemen were greatly underwhelming. The Bengals took the ball out of Andy Dalton’s hands, and the Browns’ defense could not do anything to stop their opponent.

Two of the best performances by Browns players were Chris Kirksey and Craig Robertson. The duo combined for eighteen tackles and the veteran hauled in a big interception. When the other seven are playing well, this group can be an effective one. On the outside, Barkevious Mingo and Paul Kruger had their moments – but they were far from effective. Kruger has been the only consistent pass rusher all season, the Browns must add a complement or two this offseason.

The injuries to Joe Haden and Justin Gilbert did not help a secondary that was already missing K’Waun Williams. Fortunately, Andy Dalton did not try to find A.J. Green too frequently, and when he did Buster Skrine was draped all over the wide out. Jim Leonhard did not make his signature play, was around the ball from time to time, and got beat a few times. Pretty much sums up the day for this defense – no one could step up and make a play.

Special Teams: Well Garrett Hartley still has not missed a kick in his Cleveland Browns career. The team was so bad; he did not even get an attempt. Spencer Lanning will likely have to take an ice bath tonight; the punter had seven attempts and averaged just less than fifty yards. The coverage units were adequate, but there were way too many of those today.

Coaching: When the Bengals were crowding the line of scrimmage, why didn’t the Browns try something to go downfield? Kyle Shanahan never attempted this; the offense was predictable and horrible. Defensively, they should have been focused on stopping the run. That was not the case and they suffered as a result. Time to flush this mess and move on to Carolina.

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2014 in NFL Season

 

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The Battle of Ohio Part II – Looking into the Matchup

The Battle of Ohio Part II – Looking into the Matchup

Game #13 – Browns vs. Bengals – A Preview

For the final time this season, the Browns will be playing in front of a home crowd at First Energy Stadium. What was once a promising season has now become a mediocre (at best) club struggling mightily. If nothing else, perhaps they can influence the AFC North race, in terms of the division winner and possible wildcard spots. It seems like a lifetime ago the Browns stomped down the Bengals in Cincinnati – but that’s the NFL for ya. Let’s break down this matchup.

Offense: Finally, Johnny Manziel will be under center for this contest. As much as I love Brian Hoyer – change was necessary. I had zero confidence in this offense the past few games; and this cannot occur in the NFL. Look for a ton of runs to the edge by the signal caller with a run/pass option following that. It would not surprise me to see Manziel account for three touchdowns in this contest; two passing and one rushing.

Run, run, run, and run some more – that should be the game plan for this offense. Isaiah Crowell continues to show his bursts going through the line of scrimmage, while Terrance West can still pick up the tough yards. Straying away from a run-first offense has cost the team several contests this year. They cannot afford to let another victory slip away.

There have been reports about Josh Gordon not being on the same page as his offense, as well as the wide out not finishing routes. Whatever the issue, the talented athlete must shake off whatever his issues are. Perhaps the switch at quarterback will help out the fledgling star. How will Andrew Hawkins, Taylor Gabriel, and Travis Benjamin respond to Johnny Manziel? That is a huge question, but one I am looking forward to the answer.

In the passing game, the mobility of Manziel could make the offensive line’s job more difficult on Sunday. All five must keep their eyes open and look to see where number two is at on the field. This could lead to large losses and potentially turnovers. On the positive side, I figure his running will open rushing lanes for West and Crowell. It will definitely be an adjustment for the guys upfront, but hopefully less of one than the defense will to have to do (despite Marvin Lewis’s belief).

Defense: Facing a duo that features Giovanni Bernard and Jeremy Hill will be a tough task for this run defense. Fortunately, this part of the squad has been picking it up as of late – but they cannot afford a setback on Sunday. Desmond Bryant and Ahtyba Rubin have been the standouts as of late; personally, I would like to see them lead the way in stuffing the run and getting to Andy Dalton. Being disruptive is key , much like it was during last meeting, why can’t Desmond Bryant replicate his output?

Paul Kruger, and yes (even) Barkevious Mingo, found the offensive backfield a few times against the Colts. This was the type of performance the Browns were expecting from their first round pick from a year ago. It would be a pleasant surprise should this be the norm, but we shall find out in due time. The inside linebackers have been playing solidly during the absence of Karlos Dansby. I would love to see Chris Kirksey make some impactful plays for this defense; there is a great deal of untapped potential from the rookie.

The Browns’ secondary is coming off probably their best performance in quite some time. Buster Skrine was the only guy who made a mistake or two; he should be able to recover nicely against the Bengals. Can Joe Haden shut down A.J. Green once again? That is a huge uncertainty that could determine the contest’s outcome. Jim Leonhard’s insertion into this defense has been nothing short of exceptional. Two consecutive games with an interception were unexpected from the team’s punt catcher. I’m pulling for three games in a row for the veteran.

Special Teams: Outside of a blunder of a field goal attempt – the Browns’ could not have played any better on special teams last week. Obviously, that will not be the case this Sunday. The Browns cannot lose this matchup decidedly if they want to win the contest. Billy Cundiff and Spencer Lanning must make every kick and punt count.

Coaching: Kyle Shanahan will have his mobile signal caller for this contest. I am eager to see the tricks he pulls out of the bag for this contest. Defensively should be status quo from last week – beat up the quarterback while still focusing on the run. Coach Pettine could have one huge decision to make in this matchup; I hope he chooses wisely.

Prediction (My Record: 8 – 5): Despite the optimism, I think the season is still over for the Browns. They are not going to the postseason, and there have reports of locker room dissention. The defense played their hearts out last week and still lost. I see a similar fate this week, the deflated gang helps Manziel and the Browns score early and lead – only to fall to the Bengals by the score of 27 – 21 and lose their third game in a row.

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2014 in NFL Season

 

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Hoyer’s Farewell – Thanks for Nothin’

Hoyer’s Farewell – Thanks for Nothin’

A review of Game #12 – Browns vs. Colts

I don’t know what’s worse – horrible quarterback play or the referees being completing biased. Both occurred for the Cleveland Browns, and it was just enough to ensure Andy Luck came away with another win. The Browns were completely the superior team on the field – however some bonehead plays and poor calls made sure the Colts won.

Offense: The red zone interception was all you needed to see from Brian Hoyer. He singled-handedly killed that drive, while stopped a few others with some very off target tosses.   He ended with another contest without throwing a touchdown and heaving two interceptions – his days are (finally) numbered as a starting quarterback in Cleveland. It has been so disappointing it has come to this, but it should be Johnny time next week.

Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West each had fifty-four yards in this contest. The only great play was Crowell’s nifty touchdown run. The team could have utilized the running attack more – but that is becoming a broken record. If they refuse to run it against a poor unit as they did on Sunday, I doubt they will the rest of the way in 2014.

Two catches for fifteen yards for Josh Gordon? Hoyer missed a few throws, but the Browns have mismanaging the wide out terribly. Andrew Hawkins and Jordan Cameron each had four receptions; they were the leaders of a unit that could not get the ball frequently. It all comes down to quarterback play for great numbers for receivers. The Browns didn’t have it and the targets suffered.

Fortunately the offensive line only surrendered one sack. However, they were far from stout in opening up running lanes. When facing a unit they ought to dominate, the gang fell short. Ryan Seymour held his own at the center position – he could be a keeper going forward. It was apparent that Jordan Cameron still cannot block, and should not be put that in that situation to do so.

Defense: So Andy Luck was the leading rusher for the opponent. This would lead to the home team having success, but ultimately it was not. Desmond Bryant, Ahtyba Rubin, and Billy Winn each put a hit on the signal caller and helped the team control the line of scrimmage. The defensive line played relatively well – but they could not make up for the offensive misfortunes.

Paul Kruger had a phenomenal contest – the veteran had a sack and a forced fumble, which was recovered by Craig Robertson for a touchdown. The penalty on his sack was incorrect, and cost the Browns dearly. Instead of a Colts’ punt, they got a field goal in a game they won by a point. Robertson and Mingo each played well for the Browns. The former had twelve stops, while the latter had a sack, a pass deflected, and five quarterback hits.

There’s not much more than the secondary could have done. An interception by Jim Leonhard, a pick six by Justin Gilbert, and great pass breakups by Joe Haden were some of the highlights by the Browns’ secondary. Donte Whitner was in position to win this game, but could not seal the critical stop on fourth and one late.

Special Teams: Billy Cundiff’s miss of a forty-yard field goal was the difference. The veteran is on his was out of Berea and cost this team a win. Otherwise, the Browns dominated in the special teams matchup. They completely shut down Josh Cribbs and any return units.

Coaching: Why didn’t they go to Johnny Football? The coaching staff still believes Brian Hoyer is the guy – and they were clearly wrong. Jim O’Neil had a great game plan for this defense. But it was all for naught as the offense let the team down once again. Bye bye playoffs, the Browns’ steak will now go to (at least) thirteen years since they made the postseason.

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2014 in NFL Season

 

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