Yawn. Every NFL fan’s worst nightmare is reality once again in Cleveland. The team is not only bad, but a deadly combination of bad and boring. That’s my takeaway from Green Bay as the Browns failed to do nearly anything offensively all day. The Browns end up falling to the Packers 31 to 13.
It wasn’t just the Brandon Weeden-led offense. The defense started the day off poorly as well. The Browns spotted the Pack a 14-0 first quarter lead. They missed tackles left and right, most notably on tight end Jermichael Finley. They continued their streak of not being able to get pressure on the quarterback from last game and ultimately paid the price twice. The Browns defense did get better as the game went along, but it was far too late by the time they started to play. At least it was too late for an offense like the Browns trotted out on the field.
Brandon Weeden won’t escape criticism this week. No, he didn’t have a “flipperception,”1 but Weeden started off the game with the football equivalent of his Rick Ankiel impression. That resulted in first quarter drives that went punt, interception, punt for the Browns. And the only reason Weeden was granted an opportunity to throw the interception was because Jake Stoneburner ran into Spencer Lanning’s plant leg for a penalty that gave the Browns the ball back.
The one bright spot on the day? The Browns had a 20 yard touchdown “drive” that was set up by an 86 yard Travis Benjamin kickoff return. The Brandon Weeden TD pass to Jordan Cameron cut the Packer lead to 24-13. It should have been a happy thing, but I was left wondering why we have continually watched Greg Little return kicks instead of Travis Benjamin. It isn’t like they’ve carved out serious regular receiver duty for Benjamin that he can’t spare the reps on the field.
Adding further insult to Browns fans’ eyes, the Browns recovered an onside kick after the score only to have it called back due to offsides penalty. On the second onside kick attempt they were flagged for illegal touching when the ball didn’t go past 10 yards.
I really don’t like to play the woe is me card, but I just can’t help it. Browns fans were forced to watch an abysmal game and it wasn’t supposed to be this way this year. Before you jump to conclusions about what I’m saying, this isn’t about the Trent Richardson trade. It’s not about the draft day trade of this year’s picks for next season, which I liked. It’s not about the Brian Hoyer injury, which was unlucky. This isn’t about any one thing. It’s about all of it. The end result is unacceptable.
Joe Banner and the Browns talked about what we would see this year, and it was a team that was supposed to continue to get better. This team is in a death spiral every time Brandon Weeden steps on the field, and all we’ve seen is outgoing talent without much in the way of reasonable replacement. Even though there was no other logical choice to start for the Browns at QB this week, it’s pretty unbelievable that the team hasn’t been out to any kind of replacement who might start to prepare to be the one to close out the season for the Browns at least as a contingency.
Meanwhile Browns fans have yet to hear from Mike Lombardi. I really don’t care that much, except that I know he was here when the Browns cut Bernie Kosar. What does that have to do with anything? Let me say it with a question. So, you mean to tell me that the guy who was involved in a move like cutting Bernie Kosar for having diminishing skills is sitting idly by while Brandon Weeden – a guy he’s always hated as an NFL prospect – continues to embarrass the team in the first year at the helm of the Browns for this front office? I’m only left to wonder why.
First impressions must not be all that important to this new front office. Either that or this is the best they could do. Either way, it’s not good enough for Browns fans and the Browns need to be accountable for that. Joe Banner invited accountability and doesn’t make excuses. He knows better than to try to excuse the kind of football that Browns fans have been treated to the past two weeks and in the first two weeks. Is that what we can expect for the rest of the year? What’s the plan? Right now, Browns fans need something to believe in.
- Although he was really REALLY close to throwing ANOTHER one. [↩]