Countdown to The Draft
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By Tony Grossi
Tony Grossi’s take on Browns’ 20-17 win over the Oakland Raiders
Offense: Brandon Weeden overcame two first-half interceptions to complete his finest day as a pro – 25 of 36 for 364 yards. He scrambled a couple times and attempted three QB sneaks. Afterwards, he said he got hit more than any game in his life. Josh Gordon had his best day – six catches for 116 yards and a 44-yard TD. Ben Watson (80 yards), Greg Little (48 and one huge block) and Mohamed Massaquoi (60) also posted big catches. Overall, 475 yards offense was the most for a Browns team since 2007. Bottom line: Very daring, considering the wet field.
Defense: It adjusted when Carson Palmer was effective in a slow-paced no-huddle format. Although Marcel Reece (36 yards, 7 rushes) and Jeremey Stewart (46 on 9) each averaged 5.1 yards a carry, they couldn’t wrest control of the game. The only big play allowed was a 64-yard scoring pass to Rod Streater. Cornerback Sheldon Brown had a big day with an interception in the fourth quarter at the Browns’ 6 and four total breakups. Bottom line: Always in control.
Special teams: Phil Dawson’s 28-yard field goal miss was caused by a deflection by Desmond Bryant when he got penetration on a mushy portion of the field. Skrine’s fair-catch interference penalty was one of only two penalties the whole day by the Browns. Reggie Hodges had to punt only two times. Bottom line: Lonesome Phil’s streak is over.
Coaching: Pat Shurmur wasn’t shy dialing up the pass, even deep in his own end. Brandon Weeden made it the right call by leading a 94-yard TD drive in the fourth quarter. Shurmur didn’t challenge a third-down spot on the drive, but burned a timeout to discuss what alignment to use on fourth down. He spread the defense with three wideouts and Weeden converted the key play on a sneak. Bottom line: Two wins in a row, four of last seven … it’s getting interesting.
|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 44 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to email@example.com
Follow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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