By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
Tony Grossi’s Take on Browns’ 31-17 loss to the Detroit Lions
Offense: In the first half, they mixed up the run (16) and pass (20) nicely. In the second half, lopsided play-selection (four runs, 23 passes) put the game in Brandon Weeden’s hands. Weeden’s bone-headed interception in the clutch proved again the team’s fortunes are shaky in that situation. The offensive line looked to be in control of this game in the first half, but penalties and a total meltdown turned the game over to Weeden. Bottom line: Deflating play infected the defense again.
Defense: Firstly, they received two terrible calls that should have referee Walt Coleman in the NFL principal’s office this week. The first pass interference on Joe Haden was non-existent. The roughing call on Quentin Groves in the fourth quarter was abysmal. Groves made a textbook sack and opened his arms on his way down on Matthew Stafford. But the defense came apart in the second half when the Lions re-discovered Reggie Bush and isolated him on linebackers. Nobody could cover the tight ends, either. Bottom line: Tough to apply pressure when the QB gets rid of the ball so quickly.
Special teams: The Lions caught the Rabbit and swallowed it up. Travis Benjamin was held to minus-10 yards on three punt returns. This created a statistical oddity. Lions punter Sam Martin had a greater net average (47.8 yards) than gross average (45.8) on five punts. Billy Cundiff had four touchbacks in four kickoffs. Overall, this game had 47 return yards total for both teams – 25 for the Browns and 22 for the Lions. Bottom line: Big win for the Lions.
Coaching: The Browns were defeated soundly in second-half adjustments. The greater challenge ahead is what to do with the quarterback position. Either they construct a “don’t let Weeden lose it” mentality in future game plans, or the season could go in the sewer fast. Bottom line: Back to the drawing board.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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