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The Browns Win!!!

The Browns Win!!!

The Cleveland Browns Pulled out a Tough One

As expected, this was a close contest and came down to the last play of the game.  The special teams frankly got it done in the fourth quarter and survived a pair of Josh Lambo field goal attempts late in the contest.  I’m not going overboard, but I am extremely relieved that the team was finally able to pull out a win in this treacherous season.  What can be taken away from this victory?

A Little Bit of Each

The Browns’ offense was not stellar, but was gritty enough to move the football and (more importantly) put points on the scoreboard.  Likewise, the defense did not shut down the Chargers – however, they prevented the opponent from finding the end zone on a few occasions (which was the difference in the outcome).  Obviously, the special teams were good enough as well in this game.  The Browns got it done in all three phases in this matchup.  I would like to think that with improved talent, and complementary football – the Browns will win games with more regularity this season.

What this Means

If anyone has seen the video from the locker room after the victory, it is easy to see why this was a critical win.  The locker room got a bit tighter and the players showed their continued support for coach Hue Jackson.  I hope this is a turning point for the franchise, but we can not have this argument until they had their first victory of the season.  I am pulling for this being a rally cry for the changed culture which will improve with more talented athletes and wins.

Protection Remains Alarming

The Chargers sacked the Browns quarterbacks nine times, meanwhile the home squad did not put up a single sack on Saturday afternoon.  If the Browns ever want to be a consistent winner, they need to level the playing field in this department.  I believe they will bolster their pass rush in the draft, but the offense still has work to do.  The signal caller must get the ball out quickly, and the offensive line must hold up their end of the bargain.

Conclusion:  The Browns won a game and still maintained their overall first draft pick status – not a bad day for the Cleveland Browns organization.  I am eager for their building in the offseason, but clearly making the right choices (by personnel department) is what is important.

 

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Posted by on December 24, 2016 in Cleveland Browns Fans, NFL Season, Players

 

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A Look into Browns vs. Falcons – Preseason Game #2

A Look into Browns vs. Falcons – Preseason Game #2

A Look at Preseason Game #2 – Browns vs. Falcons

Following their first road trip (and defeat) of the exhibition season, the Browns will finally get a game in front of their home crowd.  Hopefully they are be able to build upon some positives that occurred last week, as well as see some action from a few guys who were held out of the opener.  I don’t expect to see a huge jump in performance by the whole team, but just what can Browns’ fans expect?

Offense: 

Quarterback: I would really like to see two things in this contest. One is Robert Griffin leading the offense to a touchdown (more than one would be great). The other is to see how Cody Kessler can take what happened from last contest and build upon it. He tossed a touchdown but also made several mistakes. With Austin Davis suffering a concussion last week, Kessler might see a majority of playing time in the second half of this contest.

Running Back: I envision Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson getting limited playing time in this contest, so the battle between Raheem Mostert and Terrell Watson rages on. Provided the coaches agree, I would like to see Watson get the lion’s share of repetitions in this matchup. It’s likely that only one of these two will make the final roster – I feel we already know what we are getting with Mostert. 

Wide Receiver: Will we see Corey Coleman and Andrew Hawkins complement this offense? I surely hope so, as they can make this passing offense more formidable. I expect big things from the rookie, while the veteran might end up as the starter in the slot. Rashard Higgins took an early lead to see which of the other three rookies will step up. He warrants playing time earlier in the contest; I expect to see him make a play or two Friday night. 

Tight End: We all know what we got with Pro Bowler Gary Barnidge, but what about the guys behind him (on the depth chart)? E.J. Bibbs made a nice grab last week, while Connor Hamlett had a touchdown – which was disallowed following a Josh McCown penalty. I’m starting to feel that the Browns actually have depth at this position and one of the unexpected younger guys might make his mark with this club.

Offensive Line: There are two key spot on the offensive line I will be focusing on during this contest. At right tackle, will Spencer Drango fortify the starting right tackle job? Or will a veteran like Austin Pasztor or Alvin Bailey be the man on the right edge? Meanwhile, is Cameron Erving the heir apparent (after many years of Alex Mack) at center? I want to see some solid-to-dominating play by the second year athlete, but that might be asking for a big much at his point.

Defense:

Defensive Line: I really enjoyed the way Carl Nassib and Jamie Meder played in last week’s contest. Was this a one-time thing, or will both be able to be reliable upon this season? Assuming Danny Shelton can up his play, Meder appears to be a solid reserve nose tackle. While Desmond Bryant’s injury appears to still loom large – I’m still holding out that Nassib and fellow rookie Emmanuel Ogbah can soften the blow by playing well. Meanwhile I am eager to watch John Hughes return back to this club and potentially grab a starting role at one of the defensive end spots.

Linebacker: Where is the Browns’ pass rush? That is the question, but I am not sure whether we will see an answer prior to the regular season opener. Paul Kruger and Nate Orchard are in line as starting linebackers; the team still needs another reliable guy or two to help in situations. Barkevious Mingo might be on his last shot with this team; meanwhile Armonty Bryant is suspended for the first four games of the regular season. I’ve liked what I’ve seen so far out of the inside linebackers – progression out of the three rookies should help to solidify my hope for this position group. 

Secondary: This unit continues to be a huge question mark for the Cleveland Browns. I am worried that no one has really stepped up in the cornerback group, but with Joe Haden’s return perhaps we are closer to a stable unit. Tramon Williams is not instilling a great deal of confidence, but I am not sure whether another guy (including Jamar Taylor and Justin Gilbert) can help with this. There are two new starting safeties from last year’s underperforming unit. I would like to believe that Jordan Poyer and Ibraheim Campbell can continue to progress, but seeing Rahim Moore and Pierre Desir perform well would surely help.

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

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Browns Review of Preseason Game #1

Browns Review of Preseason Game #1

Loss at Lambeau – Looking Back 

It was hardly pretty, but I feel better about the Cleveland Browns following this preseason opener than I did a season ago. Let’s take a look into what went right and wrong for each position group.

Offense: 

Quarterback – Good – The back shoulder fade touchdown from Cody Kessler to Rashard Higgins. I know it was just one play, and it was against guys who might not make the final roster – but that was a thing of beauty.

Bad – The goal line interception tossed by Robert Griffin. The signal caller took a chance and it did not work out. Hopefully, he is smarter with the ball in the regular season.

Ugly – The possibly concussion that Austin Davis might have received in the third quarter. He slid headfirst and got a knee into his head; all football fans hate seeing that. (Kessler’s first safety is an honorable mention – come on rookie!)

Running Back – Good – The twenty-seven yard rush by Raheem Mostert. It was the only long play on the ground by the Cleveland Browns. I want to see these type of runs going forward, but it might not be by the same player.

Bad – It came on special teams, but Mostert’s fumble on a free kick (following a safety) is unacceptable. He showed flashes of speed as a returner last season; however security of the ball is vital to make the roster.

Ugly – The lack of output by the running game. I’ll give them a little bit of a pass, as this was likely done by design (to reduce opportunities for injuries). Garnering seventy-seven yards on just seventeen carries is not spectacular though.

Wide Receiver – Good – The first offensive play of the game. The forty-nine yard bomb from Griffin to Terrelle Pryor was a fine sight to see. Should this be a staple of the offense in 2016? It would be a nice option, if it can consistently work.

Bad – The drops by Rannell Hall. The athlete is fighting for a job and his mistakes are not helping his chances. Hall must overcome this in practice and next week’s game if he wants to make the final squad.

Ugly – ­I cannot really think of a play for this category (which is obviously positive). The team refrained from dumb penalties or mistakes at the position. Maybe this is growth at a previously underwhelming unit.

Offensive Line – Good – The starters were not noticed in this contest. That means they were not beaten or committed penalties. I understand this is just a preseason contest – but I will take it from these guys upfront.

Bad – I guess it would be the three sacks that rookie Cody Kessler endured in the pocket. There is ample blame to go around for sacks, but the guys upfront should be doing a better job of protecting the quarterback.

Ugly – Two penalties for guys making contact for hands to the face. Really? Those are drive killers and are completely unnecessary. It’s fortunate that the starters did not commit these errors.

Defense:

Defensive Line – Good – The play of Jamie Meder. The veteran might have secured his reserve role at nose tackle. He notched a safety and tallied four stops in the contest – I am eager to see him continue to develop.

Bad – The run defense as a whole. The Browns surrendered 151 yards on the ground, which is not stellar. Couple that with the fact that teams usually do not run in the preseason, and this could be an early red flag.

Ugly – Nothing of great note in this category for the Browns. I would like to see them garner more sacks, but that will come when Ray Horton designs them in his game plan.

Linebackers – Good – The play by rookies Dominique Alexander and Joe Schobert. The inside linebackers had a combined nine tackles, two of them going for a loss. The latter was drafted while the former was not; however both are fighting for their spot on this team.

Bad – Not making the Packers pay for using their reserve signal callers. Aaron Rodgers and Brett Hundley did not suit up for this contest – I would have liked to have seen the Browns put more pressure on Joe Callahan and Marquise Williams.

Ugly – Seeing the Packers reserve runners getting to the third level. This refers to the linebackers not making tackles on Williams, Brandon Burks, or Brandon Ross – and witnessing the secondary having to bring down the athletes.

Secondary – Good – The interception by Eric Patterson at the goal line. I admit, I was unaware that the guy was on the team before the game. Will this help him make the final roster? Who knows, but I was glad seeing someone nab one of the Packers signal callers.

Bad – The play of veteran Tramon Williams. He was beaten on a few plays and was not impactful at all. I hope this was the fact that he was underselling an exhibition game (though that attitude cannot rub off on the younger guys).

Ugly – Nothing too ugly for the Browns’ secondary. Were they lockdown? Nope, but they were not giving up longer gains – typical of years past. I want to see a guy or two stand out (in a good way) next contest.

Conclusion: It was not a pretty game, but the Browns did have some bright moments. I think they are miles ahead of where they were in 2015, but still would like to see further improvement next Thursday.

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

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Yet Another Loss for the Orange and Brown

Yet Another Loss for the Orange and Brown

Another Loss – Game #15 – Browns @ Chiefs 

It was a miserable start, but at least the Browns made it interesting before falling to the Kansas City Chiefs. There were ample errors, a turnover, and several missed opportunities for the Browns. The end result was a tough defeat and yet the team hanging their heads at the end of the contest. Let’s remember what went down for the orange and brown.

Offense:

Quarterback – I guess you could say that Johnny Manziel had a decent game. The signal caller made several plays – via mostly by his legs. However, the quarterback missed a few targets and heaved a costly interception early in this matchup. I still feel he should get the shot to start the final game next wee, but worry about his future going forward (a fair amount will be dictated by the front office, however).

Running Back – Both Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson was active in this matchup – both as rushers and as receiving options. I still feel each can help with this offense, provided the guy under center can move the ball at a reasonable pace. Duke once again displayed a solid ability to catch and run, while Crowell carried the ball well between the tackles. It will be interesting to see what happens between the pair.

Wide Receiver – It appears that finally the injuries to the wide receiver spot have taken a toll on the group. Travis Benjamin and Darius Jennings were less than stellar; Manziel targeted his tight ends and running backs more as a result. I guess Dwayne Bowe played in this matchup – he was as productive as expected. Maybe next season the Browns can get guys who can move the chains and excel as athletes.

Tight End – Gary Barnidge made a few plays when given an opportunity to catch and run. Several time Manziel over through his target and missed connection was a result – unfortunately that hurt the offense. Jim Dray mad a few receptions, but it was not enough to help the offense. I was disappointed to see E.J. Bibbs not get any chances, but what is new.

Offensive Line – I was extremely pleased to see Cameron Erving not get blown up and destroyed by the defensive line. I do not know whether the rookie has improved or if he was not getting challenged as much as he usually has been in contests. However, Manziel and the backs were not being harassed at the point of attack the way they have been.

Defense:

Defensive Line – I guess keeping Charcandrick West from getting 100 yards plus on the ground was a positive for this defensive line. They ground was far from dominant, but they could have been a whole lot worse. Danny Shelton was around the ball a decent amount, but I would have liked to see Xavier Cooper, Randy Starks, and Desmond Bryant corral Alex Smith in the pocket.

Linebacker – Along the lines of limiting the signal caller, I was terribly disappointed to witness the opposing signal caller run down the field on occasions. I guess one could argue that Craig Robertson and Nate Orchard made a few plays (including teaming for an interception), however there were many missed opportunities by this unit. Barkevious Mingo whiffed on a wide open shot at a sack – one more game until this awful bust is hopefully off this squad.

Secondary – Maybe Charles Gaines has turned a corner at cornerback? The rookie was not burned as badly as he usually has been, and was actually somewhat respectable. Tramon Williams, on the other hand, was picked on and could not help his teammates in defending the pass. I though K’Waun Williams did a decent job this game, at some point he may have to get an increased role in the NFL.

Special Teams: The fake punt was a thing of beauty – I was expecting it, and they were able to execute the play. However, another blocked field goal occurred in this matchup – this is beyond frustrating.

Coaching: In the second half of this game, the offensive staff finally turned Manziel loose and allowed the quarterback to run and pick up yards while not throwing the ball. While it will not work most of the time, it was successful at times in this contest. Defensively, they were not embarrassing – it will be too little too late for this unit and many will wonder why the Brown could not limit teams all season long. Another defeat and a game against the black and yellow is next.

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2015 in NFL Season

 

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Who Didn’t See that Coming – Browns Lose

Who Didn’t See that Coming – Browns Lose

A Recap of Game #14 – Browns @ Seahawks 

Well it was a great start to this game, but after that it was all downhill for the orange and Brown. Johnny Manziel and the offense were decent but the defense was once again awful. In the end, I came away thinking less of the Seahawks. I don’t believe they are a great team – they simply feasted on a weak team. Let’s look more into this game.

Offense:

Quarterback – Johnny Manziel made several plays and avoided a few key sacks. I did not expect the signal caller to excel in this contest (and he didn’t) but figured he would be respectable. That was pretty much the case in this matchup. If the Browns want to keep the quarterback and pair him with playmakers, the franchise might actually have something under center. That is a long ways a way, however.

Running Back – The more productive back in this contest was Duke Johnson. The rookie had a couple decent runs between the tackles, but he was also able to catch and run as a receiver. I was not surprised to see the running game struggle mightily, but the fact that DeFilippo was able to still utilize the backs was something that was sorely needed. Hopefully they can improve upon this output next game. 

Wide Receiver – Drops, drops, and more drops for the wide outs – that’s what happens when you have a depleted unit. Terrelle Pryor, Marlon Moore, and Travis Benjamin each missed on great opportunities in this contest. It is beyond obvious that this team needs a top-flight target for their quarterback who can command double teams and haul in passes in traffic.

Tight End – It was Gary Barnidge doing Gary Barnidge things in this game. The tight end hauled in a touchdown (his ninth of the year, tied for the most in franchise history) and made a tremendous play to pick up a third down. Once again, he was only guy within this group to make a play – unless you could Jim Dray breaking up a possible interception in the first quarter. No E.J. Bibbs in this game, and I continue to be disappointed.

Offensive Line – John Greco got hurt early and left the game in the first quarter. Filling in, rookie Cameron Erving continued to look rough and was dominated consistently. I hope he is just learning the tricks of the trade and will pick up the professional game – but I do not have a lot of confidence at this point. The other guys held up their end of the bargain; which is a tall order against the Seattle defense.

Defense: 

Defensive Line – Facing a third (or fourth) string running back, I would like to believe that the Browns were decent against the running game. They did allow a fair amount of yardage to several backs (including the quarterback) – but it could have been a ton worse. Danny Shelton made some nice tackles, and Xavier Cooper was active upfront. Meanwhile Desmond Bryant did his best to be around the football all contest long. However that was not the reason why the defense failed today.

Linebacker – Once again the outside linebackers were invisible and could not take the shrimpy quarterback down with a sack. Maybe Nate Orchard can be a solid linebacker, but this coaching staff is putting him in spots to stop the run. Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo never rushed the signal caller and could not help in run support. On the inside, Karlos Dansby and Chris Kirksey had some tackles but there were far from disruptive. 

Secondary – I don’t care if it was Charles Gaines, Pierre Desir, or Johnson Bademosi – the cornerbacks were awful in all aspects of coverage. They simply could not cover Doug Baldwin – who is apparently Jerry Rice. It’s pathetic to see a little guy hit less than talented guys for multiple scores, especially when the Browns cannot do this. There needs to be some changes next year – I don’t care if it’s coaching or personnel but this is just sad. 

Special Teams: Raheem Moestert might have been the best player for the Browns in this game. The new returner made the most of his opportunities and actually returned kicks past the twenty-yard line. Realistically, this part of the roster was not why the team was defeated handily.

Coaching: I’m tired of defending this coaching staff (especially for the defense) – they are putting guys in bad spots and making them make plays they simply are not able to. I like DeFilippo and what he has done but the defensive game plans are terrible. Two more games of this garbage and then there’s more time off from watching bad football.

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2015 in NFL Season

 

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Monday Night Misery – Browns Blow Another One

Monday Night Misery – Browns Blow Another One

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.

Offense: 

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. 

Defense: 

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.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2015 in NFL Season

 

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Another Loss for the Browns – Game #4 @ Chargers

Another Loss for the Browns – Game #4 @ Chargers

Review of Game #4 – Browns @ Chargers 

It was good, then bad, then good, then bad for the Cleveland Browns. The offense did their part, but the defense let the team down greatly in the second half. The fans’ hopes were dashed late on a offside penalty – giving the Chargers another shot to win. Let’s review the defeat.

Offense:

Quarterback – Was he perfect? No, but did he play good enough to earn a victory? Absolutely, and my faith has somewhat been restored in Josh McCown. The veteran spread the ball around nicely to many targets on a consistent basis. He took a bad sack late, but made up for it in the forth quarter. Hopefully he can continue to play this way all season long – he simply needs some help on the other side of the ball.   356 yards is simply nothing to sneeze at. 

Running Back – This was easily the best game of the year for both Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell. Each had a couple nice receptions and rushes, while the rookie found the end zone early in the matchup. They had a winning performance, and that should be remembered this contest. Getting over 200 yards total by the duo of backs is a necessity in the NFL. I don’t know if we will witness this consistently, but the potential is a positive sign.

Wide Receiver – Brian Hartline’s early injury definitely shuffled things around for the wide receiving units. As a result, Travis Benjamin, Taylor Gabriel, and Andrew Hawkins were the beneficiaries. Each had some nice catches – including the game-tying two-point conversion. Dwayne Bowe was his usual disappointing self; not notching a single statistic. This group needs at least one to two more guys next year, someone who can perform up to his potential.

Tight End – Jordan Cameron who? Gary Barnidge is playing just as well, if not better than the departed free agent. The tight end made some excellent grabs, including the overturned incompletion that led to a touchdown. I got to say I am surprised to see him have back-to-back stellar games, but am not sad to see it happen. I’d still like to see E.J. Bibbs finally get some playing time over Rob Housler, but that will not happen just yet.

Offensive Line – The unit finally played like a respectable unit. I understand there were some sacks surrendered – but they were not all the fault of the guys upfront. More importantly, the gang paved holes for Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell on running plays. I believe this is what the fans should expect going forward. Sure there were a breakdown or two; but they were competent enough to be a reliable unit in the NFL.

Defense:

Defensive Line – The rookie duo of Danny Shelton and Xavier Cooper played admirably in this contest. They finally did not allow a rusher of over 100 yards, but did make Danny Woodhead look like a great receiver. I got to admit that Randy Starks looked very slow at times, I am not sure what he can still bring to the table but my concerns grow. Jamie Meder was not great, but not terrible either – he is proving to be a dependable rotational guy. 

Linebacker – Karlos Dansby and Chris Kirksey each made a few nice stops in this contest. I was really surprised by the coverage abilities by Dansby – especially at this point in his career. On the outside, the guys were less than impressive. Paul Kruger was a second away from a sack on multiple occasions; while the only time I saw Barkevious Mingo he was chasing a receiver fifty yards down the field. The team has got to take a look at Nate Orchard sooner rather than later, but the rookie has got to earn his opportunity as well.

Secondary – Without the services of Joe Haden and K’Waun Williams, Phillip Rivers feasted on the Browns’ secondary. Pierre Desir and Tramon Williams each surrendered passes consistently and were the demise of the defense. I would have thought this part of the team would be solid as a rock – but I would then be incorrect. Tashaun Gipson left with an injury and Donte Whitner was ineffective in the second half, the safety spots need to reevaluated and soon.

Special Teams: No win or loss here for the Cleveland Browns. Travis Coons and Andy Lee were solid as usual, as the return units were solid in their production as well. Not a whole lot could be said for the special teams, I wish Tramon Williams would not have jumped offside but he did and the Browns lost.

Coaching: Some will blame coaching on the penalties, but Mike Pettine did not tell his guys to commit infractions. Both the offensive and defensive game plans appeared to be what the team needed. Offensively, the Browns executed and did so rather well. Defensively, they stopped the run and tried to put pressure on Rivers. That was not always the case, and the veteran made them pay. Now it’s a 1 – 3 team who is heading to Baltimore.

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2015 in NFL Season

 

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