The Browns’ offense has been called for 60 penalties this season, for a total of 546 yards. That places them third in number of penalties and second in penalty yardage. On defense the Browns are in the middle of the pack, committing 50 penalties for 427 yards.
When you have been struggling to score points and win games, giving away yards, first downs and field position isn’t the way to help.
Against the Chiefs, Cleveland racked up Nine penalties for 70 yards including two big holding penalties in the fourth quarter. The first holding call helped knock the Browns out of field goal range when they were down only three points. The second pushed the Browns deep into their own territory and created a second and 20 when the team was trying to move into range to tie the game.
Joe Thomas was the Brown who was flagged for those two holds, but the rest of the team has certainly had it’s share of gaffes at inopportune times. False starts, hands to the face calls and unnecessary roughness penalties have all cost the team late in games.
Against Detroit, the Lions had just taken a 21-17 lead. Cleveland got the ball and committed three penalties to stall any chance at a response drive, including a false start and an unsportsmanlike conduct. Those mental mistakes are magnified in the closing minutes of games.
The Browns are the second youngest team in the league, and as such you might expect them to commit a few more penalties. However if they want to take the next step and be a winning team, they will need to cut down on mental mistakes.
Where did the Browns rank last year in penalties? The offense was second last year as well in penalty yards, marching 1,005 yards backwards. The defense was one of only four teams penalized for over 1,000 yards. The defense has improved slightly in that area this season.
For the most part, penalties are about discipline. Players have to control their actions and concentrate on various assignments and and techniques. If the Browns are going to be successful against the Ravens or any of their upcoming opponents, making an effort to reduce these mistakes is paramount.