By Tony Grossi
Tony’s Take on Browns 17-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts
Offense: Infatuation with Brandon Weeden’s beautiful passes proved their undoing. Weeden was sharp throughout the contest, and certainly laid the ball in to Josh Gordon for what should have been a go-ahead TD with 6:45 to play. But the Colts were able to turn the Browns away from their weak run defense. The Browns ran only 17 times – partly because of Trent Richardson’s rib cartilage flareup – and passed 41. Bottom line: Unnecessarily one-dimensional.
Defense: OK, they were outschemed in the first half when the Colts surprised them with a great mix of run and pass. The Browns expected Andrew Luck to pass all day. To their credit, the coaches adjusted at halftime, clamped down on the run and made the turnover in the fourth quarter that could have won the game. They sacked Luck three times in all and held him to 186 yards and a 74.8 rating. Bottom line: Recovered in time.
Special teams: An atrocious afternoon. They committed three penalties on Josh Cribbs’ four return opportunities. Reggie Hodges botched the placement on an automatic extra point and then failed to execute a coffin corner punt; he kicked it out of bounds at the Colts’ 20, starting from their 41. Ray Ventrone said the blocking penalties on him were called for dragging down a Colt each time. Bottom line: Every time they screw up, it’s costly.
Coaching: The pass-run imbalance of 41-17 defies explanation in a game in which the Browns never trailed by more than eight points – no more than four in the second half. The decision to punt on fourth-and-1 with 6:31 to go was debatable – especially after play-selection of pass, pass, pass. Even though the defense got the ball back with 4:08 to play, why be uber-aggressive in play-selection then be passive? Bottom line: With every game a must-win, this one was extra costly.
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