What Happened – 49ers @ Browns – Game #13
Well it was exactly what the doctor orders for the Cleveland Browns. The defense had nine sacks, the running backs found the end zone twice, and Johnny Manziel made several plays under center. When the dust settled, the Browns manhandled the 49ers; despite hurting their draft position, I am glad to see that the orange and brown had this in them. Let’s delve into the victory.
Quarterback – Outside of a problematic pass (and interception) Johnny Manziel had a stellar outing. He appears to have progressed and is finding multiple targets during the contest – which has been problematic for the young signal caller. The next three games he will face tremendous defenses, so the odds are he will not excel the rest of the campaign. However, this was a good win for the quarterback and I cannot complain.
Running Back – Who knew that Isaiah Crowell had it in him? The running back belted out several long runs and found pay dirt twice in this matchup. Granted they were not playing a stellar bunch, but I am excited to see him finally play well. Duke Johnson also made a couple of nice gains as well; the rookie back was active in the running and passing game. I am eager to see what he can do in the next few weeks.
Wide Receiver – It looks like Brian Hartline was the guy for Manziel in this contest. The veteran had over 100 yards and was all over the field in this contest – however he left the game with an injury. That said, he has proven to be a reliable commodity for the Browns. Travis Benjamin was somewhat active as well – he should continue to help out this offense for the final three games.
Tight End – Gary Barnidge did what he normally does in 2015 – and that is scoring touchdowns. The tight end was superb in this contest and was the recipient of a tremendous touchdown in the second half. I am glad to see him with the team for many years (hopefully three) to come. My guy E.J. Bibbs saw some playing time, but was not targeted.
Offensive Line – The guys upfront were exceptional starting out and ending the contest. They were dominated a bit in the time between, but no one is perfect. Even Austin Pazstor had his issues at left guard – it is not just Cameron Erving who struggled at the spot. However the guys were good enough to give Johnny time, as well as lanes for Crowell and Johnson room to run. It could have been worse, so I will take it.
Defensive Line – It took facing a Browns castoff with a depleted offensive line, but the Browns finally shut down an opposing running back. O yeah, and the guys dominated at the point of attack. I was happy to see Xavier Cooper, Desmond Bryant, and Randy Starks all be effective in this meeting. They are not the best at what they do, but they can be called upon when needed.
Linebacker – Nate Orchard had a pair of sacks, which Paul Kruger was solid in getting to the opposing signal caller. Barkevious Mingo was active but not anywhere near the action, he appears to not be needed for this roster. On the inside Chris Kirksey and Karlos Dansby were solid on occasions and that was good enough for this unit.
Secondary – Charles Gaines was toasted a few times in coverage, but he stuck it in there and was somewhat reliable late in this contest. Tramon Williams held his own as well – he was very close to multiple interceptions and was nearby opposition wide outs for the opposition. The safeties were not great but not pathetic easy – playing Blaine Gabbert made this game very easy for the secondary.
Special Teams: No big deal, just another blocked field goal by the Cleveland Browns. Other than that, the special teams played well. It was Danny Shelton who allowed pressure up the middle – they have got to take him away from the field goal unit.
Coaching: This game plan was what Pettine and company had envisioned all season long. Run the ball and stop the run – that occurred and the Browns won handily. This is not a consistent happening; but for this week I will take it. It’s now on to Seattle and a extremely tough game next week.