Browns vs. Broncos – Analyzing Game #6
Another game against the Broncos, and yet another heartbreaking loss against the orange and blue team. It’s beyond maddening that the Browns cannot get it done versus a team that is not superior in any way, but here we are. On Sunday, the home squad was unable to do what it takes to get the victory. Let’s review what when down at First Energy Stadium.
Quarterback – Two costly mistakes cost Josh McCown from winning this contest. The signal caller threw an interception to Aquib Talib for a touchdown in the first half, and tossed one late in the fourth quarter nullifying a possibility of a late victory. The team has been so close to winning for so long; it’s disappointing that they cannot get over the hump and Josh McCown has not been able to be the guy to do it.
Running Back – The rushing attacking of Robert Turbin, Isaiah Crowell, and Duke Johnson was not extremely effective on the ground (totaling just under 100 yards) but they gave the Broncos’ defense something to think about. I was intrigued with the play of Turbin, as he looked to pick up steam late in the contest, but he was not the difference in this contest – maybe next week.
Wide Receiver – It really looks like Travis Benjamin is the main (and only) wide out option for this football team. Garnering nine grabs for over 100 yards is exceptional, but it would be nice if another target is able to get open and secure grabs for this offense. Brian Hartline has been a disappointment over the past few contests – and the veteran did not make a single catch in this game. The Browns need as many hands on deck during each contest, but it seems like they are unable to get it done.
Tight End – It was a slow start, but tight end Gary Barnidge did enough to have a solid effort on Sunday. He only came away came away with three grabs, but two were for touchdowns. This has been very pleasant to see the veteran continue to put up great numbers on a weekly basis, but it was not good enough to win the game.
Offensive Line – Four sacks surrendered and less than 100 yards by Browns’ running backs means a losing grade for this offensive line. I understand the opponent is a very good one, but I could count multiple times were the right side of the line lost on a consistent basis (and that is without the services of DeMarcus Ware). Clearly Cameron Erving was not good enough to play in this game, but perhaps that can change down the road.
Defensive Line – Going against the thirtieth ranked rushing offense, and the Browns gave up 111 yards to Ronnie Hillman. It has been disappointing to say the least, but it is also been extremely consistent by this unit to make their opponent look exceptional. Desmond Bryant and Randy Starks combined for nine tackles but that was not good enough to win at the point of attack. Danny Shelton was not a factor in this matchup – it’s beyond frustrating and Jim O’Neil must figure out some adjustments before it’s too late.
Linebacker – I was pretty pleased with the output by Karlos Dansby and Chris Kirksey at the linebacker position. The former had a pair of interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. Meanwhile, the latter made a couple of nice key stops on third down leading to Broncos punting the ball. Barkevious Mingo even had an interception – but two forced turnovers led to zero points for the Browns (and that was the difference in the game).
Secondary – If it weren’t for a few of dropped passes by Demaryus Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, then this secondary would have been embarrassed. Peyton Manning was off target most of the game, while his targets did not help most of the time as well. Pierre Desir gave a huge cushion consistently and was less than stellar. At the safety spot, Donte Whitner missed a few key tackles early and never recovered. The Browns need a solid safety who can make plays, but currently do not have that guy on their roster.
Special Teams: Clearly the team was not ready to give Travis Coons the shot to kick a fifty-yard field goal an opportunity. The offense turned the ball over on downs early in the contest and it was a blown chance for points. Other than that, the special teams were reliable as usual for the home team. The big play was not there – but not giving Travis Benjamin a shot to return punts was a part of the opponent’s game plan.
Coaching: The game plan was good enough to get a win for the orange and brown but it simply was not executed to the point where they could get the victory. The offense either made one too many mistakes or did not make the most out of what they were given. Meanwhile, the defense could not capitalize on an aging Peyton Manning and his erratic passing. Alas, another loss for the Cleveland Browns.