Overall, some of the mistakes that we saw the Browns make early in the season are starting to happen again.
By GREG PRUITT
Guest Call & Post Sports Reporter
What’s up, Browns Fans!
I am at a loss for words. Last Sunday…I go to the Browns game after praising the defense a week earlier – who really played good, and were the reason we won, last week – But this week…they were one of the reasons we lost. Don’t get me wrong, let me explain. They eventually played well, a superb stretch by the defense which forced 6 straight three-and-outs and seven straight punts, but giving up those 14 points in two possessions to the Ravens changed our whole offensive scheme.
Let’s break the game down by position.
Quarterback: Didn’t feel like Weeden was on his game, Sunday. He had the opportunity to make big plays but he under-threw and over-threw wide open receivers. The only touchdown we had was called back for an illegal formation. One receiver should have been off the line and one on, but both were on and that’s illegal. A veteran quarterback would have noticed that. The biggest disappointment with Weeden and the offense, overall, is we were not very good offensively in the red zone (inside the 20 yard line). It seems as though once we got there, wrong formations, jumping off-sides, etc., killed our drive, forcing us to settle for a field goal. I thought we had overcome that.
Running back: Richardson had another week over 100 yards. I still think the best is yet to come. I still see Trent struggling with the zone blocking, but that’s a chemistry that takes a while. As a running back, you have to actually deal with every situation that you will face in the game. Look over your film, practice those situations, what you should do, if you didn’t do the right thing and continue to get better at the things you did do right.
Wide receivers: The most disappointing thing I saw with our receivers is that they continue to shorten their patterns and fall short of getting first downs. The defense is going to show blitz and force you into a hot route (meaning they are attempting not to give the quarterback a lot of time to throw the ball and try to rush him to throw the ball). But, if it is 3rd and 5, you can’t run a 4-yard route. Too many times the receivers shortened their route and put us in those 3rd and short situations that, for some reason, we are not very good at overcoming. We continue to drop catchable passes, too. That’s the problem, they’re just not getting it done when it counts!
Defensive backs: Played well, but, at the end of the game, allowed the receiver to catch a pass and score. A poor angle by Haden and the pursuit by the other defensive players ended up giving up the winning touchdown. There were opportunities for interceptions, but we didn’t get it done.
Defensive line/linebackers: Like I mentioned in the opening, the defense played very well if you forget about the first two possessions by Baltimore. They played a great second quarter, third quarter and most of the fourth quarter. Although they played very good, it wasn’t enough. The hole they dug at the beginning of the game was too deep to overcome.
Special teams: Played well. Didn’t turn the ball over. Didn’t put us in bad field position. In fact they put us in great field position, which the offense could not take advantage of.
Coaching: Still struggling with 3rd and short, and when to go for it on 4th down. Although I did see Shurmer seemed more animated and emotional as a coach. I would like to see better play-calling in the red zone. I would like to see touchdowns instead of field goals.
Summary: Overall, some of the mistakes that we saw the Browns make early in the season are starting to happen again. If you didn’t know what week it was, you would think it was the second week, with all of the mistakes they made. The good in all of this is that the Browns have had an opportunity to win every game they played this year. I don’t know what’s worse, having a team that’s just not good enough to win, or a team that’ s better at finding a way to lose. But I’m still a Browns fan, Go Browns!