Cleveland Browns Game Four: Winners and Losers

Who caught your eye? Did someone stand out? Who blew it? That’s what were interested in this morning. Winners and losers.


The Browns are tied atop the AFC North. Sure it’s only been four games, but we need to take the small victories where we can get them.

Heck of a performance by the defense. Game balls all around.

WINNER: Joe Haden. Haden shut down all-everything receiver A.J. Green. Green finished the game with seven catches for 51 yards but had a flourish at the end of the game to get there. The game film will eventually show that Haden probably didn’t give up half those yards to Green. That’s what a shutdown corner does. That’s what Haden is.

WINNER: Jordan Cameron. For a good chunk of the second half, it felt like 4 and 5 yard passes to Cameron over the middle were replacing our running game. Cameron took a beating in this one, but held on to the football and continued his incredible string to start the season.

With Cameron’s fifth touchdown catch of the season, he’s already in rare company. The only Browns tight ends to haul in five TDs are Cameron, Winslow and Ozzie Newsome who did it three times.

WINNER: Barkevious Mingo. Mingo played very well in his first start, and the most action he’s seen since back at LSU. He had a sack, a couple of tackles for loss as well as a couple of passes batted down or tipped. He wasn’t perfect. There were a couple times against the run that the Bengals got to the edge against him, but a pretty impressive first start.

LOSER: The running game. The Browns finally got some production from the running game on the long touchdown drive, but it was pretty ugly before that drive. They finished the game with 89 yards rushing on 30 carries. 35 of those yards came on 7 carries in that game clinching drive.

Really there were no big losers in this game. Unless you are a Bengal.

Your turn…

  • nj0

    I noticed the Rainey run on too as was quite perplexed by it. Weird thing is that it never turned up in the stat line yet they didn’t delete the play from having occurred (at least for the while that I was on that site).

  • nj0

    Yesterday was probably the best day in Cleveland sports since the Indians went up 3-1 in the ALCS back in ’07. Winners all around.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Yeah, they did something similar on a Gio Bernard run too… again for -17 yards. I was following along at home and was elated… figured there was a botched-handoff fumble or something. Then all of a sudden they showed a 6-yard gain instead but never updated the play-by-play. That was not a fun rollercoaster ride.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Oh very cool… I remember the play you’re talking about, but never noticed who was running the wildcat. Good to see that the coaching staff is finding a niche for Gray!

  • Hamfist

    I didn’t really see a whole lot that I could point out as a “loser” spot for the Browns.
    Re: Little. Well, even though we seemingly have relegated him to kick-off return man, as long as he’s being productive, I’m all for it. Nice to see a coaching staff who can honestly evaluate what a guy’s strengths and weaknesses are and put them in a position to compliment the former and hide the latter. I think they sat him down ad told him that his days as a WR are numbered, and here’s a chance to keep playing for us. Seems like he may have embraced that role.


    “Heckert: Yes, I’m piling on. It appears the “misses” are far outnumbering the “hits”, and the “misses” have all been at the top of the draft.”

    I don’t know that I agree with this. The 2012 1st round hurts, but I find the overall draft record to be right around .500, with a lot of hits at the top of the draft. I mean, who hits 100% on first and second rounders, anyway?

    I don’t consider 5th, 6th, or 7th rounders not working out to be “misses” necessarily, whereas a 6th rounder like Billy Winn and a UDFA like Craig Robertson are certainly “hits” and for guys in that class that are possible longer-term contributors I give them the “Too Soon to Tell” benefit of the doubt.

    Here’s my Heckert list overall (feel free to debate):

    Hits: Joe Haden (1), TJ Ward (2)
    Misses: Montario Hardesty (2), Colt McCoy (3)
    Too Soon to Tell: Shawn Lauvao (3)

    Hits: Phil Taylor (1), Jabaal Sheard (2), Jordan Cameron (4), Craig Robertson (UD)
    Misses: Greg Little (2), Owen Marecic (4)
    Too Soon to Tell: Jason Pinkston and Buster Skrine (both 5)

    Hits: Josh Gordon (supp 2), John Hughes (3), Billy Winn (6)
    Misses: Trent Richardson (1), Brandon Weeden (1), James Michael Johnson (4)
    Too Soon to Tell: Mitchell Schwartz (2), Travis Benjamin (4), Tashaun Gipson (UD)

    Look at this defense. A good deal of the players currently holding it down are Heckert guys, with the exception of Jackson and Rubin (Savage guys) and Bryant, Kruger, Mingo, and Owens (Banner/Lombardi guys).

    That’s not great, but it’s not horrible either. I think we can let go of Heckert and just say, “Yeah, it happened.”


    The full-stadium laughter after he wiped out at midfield was priceless.


    When they can line up Rubin, Taylor, and Bryant as their D-line, there aren’t many better D-lines (either 3-4 or 4-3, to be honest) in football.


    To follow up on the escape/5 yard dump, how about the touch throw to Cameron later on the drive where he dropped it right into Cameron’s hands behind pretty solid coverage? Not only did he hit the throw, but he hit it in stride and Cameron was able to pick up 10-12 more yards after the catch.


    My wife hates (HATES) Chud’s shirjacket (half shirt, half jacket). It drives her insane.


    My thought was that it was an attempt to catch that up-man napping and steal an onside kick of sorts. It didn’t work. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.


    He played at Minnesota in college, right?

  • Ezzie Goldish


  • Garry_Owen

    I actually think that your evidence mitigates MORE in favor of Heckert than you have given yourself credit. Of your list, I wouldn’t yet count Skrine or Greg Little as misses – particularly Skrine. He has played fairly well this year, particularly considering where he was drafted. I still have hope for Little to show up in some useful capacity. Colt McCoy was always a gamble, but that’s what you do with 3rd round QB picks. I don’t fault him for that one, either.

  • Garry_Owen

    Caveat: As a 2nd round pick, Little has thus far certainly been a miss, but I think there’s a gleam.


    I think Skrine is definitely “too soon to tell” for sure, and noted him as such. And, though it’s probably not fair in terms of a “ranking” system, to call a guy a bust who was drafted in the fifth round and immediately forced into being a starter at times during his rookie year probably wouldn’t be fair, anyway.

  • Garry_Owen

    Sorry. You did have Skrine as “too soon to tell.” Maybe I’m thinking of him more as a “hit” (I like him).

  • Bryan

    Winner: Running Game

    For the second straight week, the Browns churned out a higher YPC than T-Rich was giving them. Further T-Rich has continued his unproductive ways with the Colts – 3 YPC yesterday against a very weak defense..

    The trade, by taking away 25 touches from an unproductive back and shifting them to more productive running plays and short passes, has slightly improved the running game and vastly improved the offense as a whole. Further, I think the running game only gets better as McGahee gets more reps and runs like he did on that last drive.

    Love this trade so much.

  • BenRM

    However, what needs to be noted is:

    – Traded up for Hardesty
    – Traded up for McCoy
    – Passed on Julio Jones in favor of Phil Taylor & Greg Little
    – Most unnecessary trade up in history for TRich
    – Drafted Weeden instead of Tannehill
    – No one was going to draft Hughes in the first 3 rounds.

    Admittedly, the black and white “hits v. misses” may not look that bad, and Heckert seemed to be very good at identifying late round and UD talent.

    However, I think when the issue presented the way I have, it becomes clear that Heckert could not accurately evaluate top round talent. It’s nice to have, strong, late round, glue guys to round out a complete roster, but more often than not, games are won and lost based upon the talents of early round guys.

  • Kildawg

    Knowing Goodell and the NFL they would consider that a “bounty pool” and more BS would roll downhill from there.

  • Kildawg

    Winners: Skrine- Bengals might not have a clear #2 WR but he did a great job out in coverage. Even got an INT on a ball DQ tipped away from a Bungle. He even did an acceptable job in covering Green.
    Haden- Proved he is a Pro Bowl caliber CB; shut down Green all day like in a Florida-Georgia game when Urban Meyer still coached at UF.
    Entire defense- Limited the Bungles in running the ball and let Ginger Dalton keep making mistakes and 2 turnovers.
    Hoyer- Nice homecoming game with 200+ yards passing, high completion rate, 2 TDs, 0 INTs/TOs.
    Offensive Line- Held the Bungles vaunted DL in check for most of the game, even Oniel Cousins…
    Me- Immediately muted Marv Albert and Rich Gannon (possibly worst announcing team ever) in favor of Jim Donovan and Doug Dieken. Good thing 2-3 Dayton radio stations carry the Browns feed!
    Neutral: Greg Little- Decent on special teams but worthless as a WR. Maybe he should transition to RB/FB, possibly get in on some end around plays.
    Josh Gordon- Didn’t show up too much against that beleaguered Bungles secondary. No Leon Hall meant he should have done more damage.
    Losers: Rushing attack- Sure, the Bungles have a good strong four but there was some times where the run should have succeeded.
    Bess- Looked like Greg Little as a WR, the frustrating version.
    Cundiff- Slipped in pregame and missed 2 FGs, one within 40 yards. Strong leg doesn’t do much if it isn’t accurate. Plus, WTF was that squib kick earlier in the game about?

  • Harv 21

    yeah, he needs some queer eye for the straight guy, stat. Or something. It’s Game 5 and he’s already turning into a Mangini Year One physical mess.


    To reiterate, I didn’t post that list as an attempt to say Heckert was great. I think he was adequate. He helped to get us out of a giant talent black-hole, and I give him credit for that. But, you’re right, he made some head-scratchers as well, in terms of his value of the actual picks.

    Also, he couldn’t have drafted Tannehill, unless you are saying he wouldn’t have drafted TRich even if they stayed at 4 last year. Also, in full disclosure, I HATED the Weeden pick when they made it (when they were on the clock, I wanted DeCastro.)

  • NoVA Buckeye

    LOSER: Brandon Weeden. MarQueis Gray may turn out to be a better long-term solution than Weeden.

  • NoVA Buckeye

    Of course I remember Gray… solid player for some bad Minnesota Golden Gopher teams under Tim Brewster and Jerry Kill. Claimed off waivers from SF. I love this guy and I’ve been waiting for the Browns to pull out the Wildcat all season with him in the gun.

  • Jaker

    Agree with all you said. In addition…

    Winner: Brian Hoyer. Until he loses, why wouldn’t he be here? 2 TDs and No turnovers against the Bengals D? He’s 2-0! Winner, Winner.

    Winner: Buster Skrine. Held his own, no big plays, really starting to play well.

    Winner: Chud. He’s .500 and things are starting to gel.

    Winner: Chris Ogbonnaya. He’s become a very valuable piece in the Offense. Definitely the RB in on passing downs.

    Winner: Defense. BOO YAH. I don’t even need to explain.

    Winner: Cleveland Fans. Obviously. We’ve won 2 straight, tied atop the division with our second straight season of beating the Bengals. Oh, and the Tribe are in the Playoffs. Life is good for us right now.

    Loser: Billy Cundiff. The Kicker tryouts have begun again.

    Losers: The AFC North besides the Browns. I know its only 4 weeks, but the only team “out of it” is the Steelers. Not the Browns. Think about that