Countdown to The Draft
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By: Will Burge
Newton’s Law of Gravity says that nothing can stay up forever. The Browns proved him right Sunday afternoon with a disappointing loss to the Washington Redskins, 38-21. Here were the ten things that jumped out at me from their loss which snapped a three game win streak.
1. “I didn’t play good enough for us to win.” That’s what Brandon Weeden said after his dismal performance. He finished 21-35 for 244 yards with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. To say Weed was disappointing would be a gross understatement. His interception to start the second half when the Browns were leading 14-10 was crippling. He and the team never recovered.
2. The second half was one the Browns would like to forget. They allowed a 21-0 stretch and were outscored 28-7 overall. Trent Richardson only had two carries in the second half for 0 yards and the defense was on the field for all but 8 minutes and 30 seconds. After playing a red hot stretch of eight games, 30 minutes of football may have decided the entire coaching staff’s fate.
3. The Browns were not only outplayed, they were outcoached in every facet of the game except special teams. Dick Jauron, who has had a very good year, may have nightmares of Kyle Shanahan’s play calling. The Redskins continuously ran the same play action bootleg throughout the second half and the Browns could not stop it. The Redskins also adjusted to the Browns shallow crossing patterns in the second half and Brad Childress and Pat Shurmur had no answer. They also abandoned the run in the second half despite only trailing by two scores for most of the time. After the game, Trent Richardson said “we should have stuck to the game plan we had at the beginning.” It sounds like that will be a storyline in Berea this week.
4. Trent Richardson was not very productive. One of the reasons Pat Shurmur and Brad Childress probably went away from the run in the second half was because Richardson had 9 carries for only 28 yards at halftime. After the game he apologized to Browns fans and said they let the city down.
5. Apparently, Kirk Cousins is the second coming of Steve Young. He finished 26-37 for 329 yards and threw 2 touchdown passes. He put on a clinic with his play action passes today and the Browns defense had no answer for the backup to Robert Griffin III.
6. It was a homecoming of sorts for former Mount Union wide receiver Pierre Garcon. He certainly put on a show. Garcon forced the Browns to watch what they could have had if he didn’t sign with Washington. He finished with 6 receptions for 65 yards and had a huge fumble recovery late which would have let the Browns back in the game. He also let the Browns’ players know just how good of a game he was having by jawing with the fans, Joe Haden, D’Qwell Jackson, and many others on the defense.
7. The loss was most unfortunate because of the atmosphere the Browns fans provided. It was a warm mid December day and the stadium was rocking early on. Fans had tasted winning for the first time in years and were ready to continue what might have been a march towards the playoffs. I agree with Richardson that they let the city down.
8. This could not been a worse send off for two fan favorites, Phil Dawson and Josh Cribbs. While Cribbs had a productive day in the return game and one explosive play in the “Flash formation”, Dawson did not even get to attempt a field goal in what will most likely be both of their final home games as a Brown. Cribbs refused to talk to the media after the game and was obviously angered by the loss.
9. The Browns were one of the healthiest teams in the league heading into this game but will now have to deal with a knee injury that forced TJ Ward to leave the game early and a groin injury Frostee Rucker suffered.
10. There were not many bright spots in the game for the Browns but Travis Benjamin and Phil Taylor did impress. Benjamin caught a 69 yards touchdown pass and Taylor was dominant on the line of scrimmage for most of the day.
|Will Burge covers the Browns for ESPNCleveland.com and hosts 3 Deep, Monday - Friday from 7pm-9pm.|
Follow Will on Twitter @WillBurge
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