By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
Tony Grossi’s Take on Browns’ 32-28 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars
Offense: Josh Gordon (10 catches, 261 yards, 2 TDs) was phenomenal. He entered the NFL record books with a second consecutive 200-yard game. To even come back into the game after the hit and fall he took in the third quarter – let alone put the team ahead with a 95-yard TD – was legendary. Brandon Weeden’s two interceptions and two fumbles (one lost) should cement him to the bench. Weeden complained of concussion symptoms after the game. Alex Mack’s errant snap was out of character. The running game showed some life against the league’s 32nd-ranked run defense. Bottom line: Alex Tanney vs. Bill Belichick’s defense?
Defense: They blew four leads to the lowest-ranked offense in the league. They can blame offensive turnovers for one lead change and the safety on the bad snap for another. It all came down to defending their home field at the end, and they allowed Chad Henne to move his team 80 yards for the victory. Joe Haden was victimized by Cecil Shorts for the winning touchdown. Haden, who has been superb all season, took the loss hard. Defense is a collective effort and the fact is not a single player on the field made a play on the final drive. Bottom line: Under the circumstances, one of the worst defensive efforts we’ve seen.
Special teams: After the safety, punter Spencer Lanning’s free kick was returned 31 yards by Ace Sanders. That set up a short field and easy field goal to force the Browns’ offense to score a TD to regain the lead. Yes, they did it on one play – Gordon’s 95-yard catch-and-run – but it was just emblematic of a complete breakdown in the kicking game caused by injuries and repeated lineup/roster shuffling. Billy Cundiff missed a 53-yard field goal try. On a good note, Jordan Poyer had a punt return of 38 yards. Bottom line: Now a certifiable liability.
Coaching: Rob Chudzinski wears the goat horns for this one. His blind faith in Weeden at the end of the first half gave the Jaguars realistic hope of winning. Chudzinski erred not once but three times in the final three minutes of the first half. First, he instructed Weeden to push the ball downfield on the first drive starting at the 19. Weeden’s interception led to a touchdown to tie the game at 14-14. Then with 1:19 to go, Chud did it again. And Weeden threw another interception on his first pass. Finally, after a Jaguars field goal, Chudzinski still instructed Weeden to try to score. He was strip-sacked, resulting in another Jaguars field goal. This was an example of recklessness, not aggressiveness. As for the defense, Ray Horton's metrics will have difficult time explaining that last drive. Bottom line: The wheels are off and the rims are skidding the pavement.
|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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