Breaking Down Game #11 – Ravens @ Browns
A back and forth between battle two of the worst teams in the NFL ended with a special teams touchdown for the visitors. Once again the Browns stole a defeat from the jaws of victory on Monday Night Football. There are fortunately only five more of these guys left in the 2015 season, but let’s review the most recent one.
Quarterback – After a slow start, Josh McCown looked somewhat solid in this contest. His elusive touchdown was somewhat magical in the first half, however his injury late opened the door for Austin Davis. With the starter’s availability in doubt, it is sad that we might not see him continue to perform at a level higher than many have expected.
Running Back – It was status quo for both running backs, with Duke Johnson leading the way with around fifty total yards. Isaiah Crowell had a mind-numbing total of just seven rushing yards. The team has scrapped the running of the football and rightly so; this part of the team has been embarrassing all year long.
Wide Receiver – Travis Benjamin caught a touchdown and several quick routes, in getting back to where he was earlier in the campaign. I was glad to see Brian Hartline also productive in this matchup. He only had seventy-four yards, but eight grabs were pleasantly surprising.
Tight End – Gary Barnidge was yet again the leading receiver for this football team with ninety-one. He made several nice receptions down the seam and galloped towards the end zone. I hope the Browns keep him for next year; he may not be the youngest guy on the team but someone to build around.
Offensive Line – Cameron Erving’s struggles continued in the primetime matchup. He struggled all night with the pass rush at his gap, and running lanes were hard to come by. Overall the guys upfront were extremely porous and Elvis Dumerville made Mitchell Schwartz appear slow and out of place as well.
Defensive Line – I guess you could say the Browns’ run defense improved in this contest. They were not facing a difficult task, as Justin Forsett was out with an injury. However, when facing guys off of the street, they looked somewhat respectable. A feather in their cap, I suppose – we’ll see a real challenge next Sunday.
Linebacker – Outside of Karlos Dansby’s interception returned for a touchdown, once again the linebackers underperformed greatly. Chris Kirksey’s whiff in the first half allowed a touchdown, while the guys on the outside would occasionally bring pressure on passing downs. This position group looks to need work for the 2016 campaign.
Secondary – Tramon Williams had quite the up and down game; the veteran surrendered a long reception to castoff Chris Givens but also intercepted a Matt Schaub pass late. This would have been the turning point of the game, but we all know what happened afterward. Justin Gilbert started at cornerback in this game – he was not embarrassed but did not excel (again) either.
Special Teams: A returned punt and a blocked field goal both for touchdowns went against the Browns way. Other than that, thing were even. Unfortunately special teams lost this game, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.
Coaching: Offensively, the play calling was conservative with Josh McCown under center – which was somewhat effective. This team is not as talented as many others, so they played to their strengths (Travis Benjamin and Gary Barnidge). Defensively, they were better against a depleted bunch. However, a loss is still a loss and this was a bad one.