Cleveland stuck on four wins as season begins circling the drain

Browns helmetFour wins. That’s where the Browns sit after Sunday’s depressing loss to the Steelers. Of course that’s also where the Browns’ record stood after the team beat the Ravens back on November third.

The Browns have finished a season with four wins four times since 1999. They have also finished 5-11 four times. The first two seasons under Chris Palmer the Browns won two and three games respectively.

That’s a whole lot of not winning.

Only twice since returning to the league have the Browns finished with more wins than losses. Twice. It won’t happen again this season.

After the loss to Pittsburgh, a few of the Browns players were honest about the state of the team and how they felt personally.

Safety T.J. Ward was clearly frustrated by the play of the offense, who put the defense in a terrible spot for the second week in a row. The offense committed four turnovers, one of which was returned for a touchdown. A second, Campbell’s fumble was returned to the four yard line where the Steelers scored a play later.

That makes eight turnovers in two weeks against division rivals and in big games where the Browns had a chance at making a run for the playoffs.

In the Browns’ four wins the offense has had five turnovers (four of which came in one game against the Vikings). In the seven losses they have had 15 turnovers.

It is about more than just the turnovers the last two weeks however.

“It is frustrating, I’m not going to lie, but it’s out of our power. We have to trust that they’re doing everything in their power to win ball games like we are,” said Ward of the offense. “And I trust that and I know that, it’s just things aren’t going the way any of us want them to go right now.”

Corenerback Joe Haden took the blame for touchdown he gave up, but even he sounded disturbed by the bad play of the offense.

“I can’t speak for anybody else, but as a defense, no matter where the ball is placed we are just trying to do what we can do,” said Haden. “When you look at it, from a defensive side, we aren’t getting run up and down the field on. So when we come in looking at what we need to change, of course, it’s big plays. They made a play on me today. That’s a great play, a good receiver, a good quarterback, making a good play. I’m saying I got beat. We just feel, as a defense, we aren’t getting marched on, we just have to step up, no matter where the ball is placed, we have to be able to do better in the red zone or whatever position we are in.”

Other players said the politically correct things, like Desmond Bryant who said that the defense needs to do a better job creating turnovers when the offense is turning the ball over. Or like Josh Gordon who downplayed the franchise receiving mark. “Honestly, it really doesn’t mean that much to me,” Gordon said. “After taking a loss like that, it means nothing. It is great for me as a wide receiver to get that experience, but if we can’t go out there and win, I don’t really care about it.”

Perhaps the most telling sign was how fast the locker room cleared following the game. Those who spoke seemed to be the ones who just couldn’t get out of the locker room fast enough.

Now the Browns must face another tough opponent. No, not Jacksonville. Apathy. Playing out the string without emotion or desire. It’s an opponent the veterans on the team know all too well.

“(We) still have games left in the season and opportunities to play,” said head coach Rob Chudzinski. “The men in that locker room there have a lot of character, and I believe in them. I believe in our coaches. We will bounce back and play well.”

That belief will need to turn into points if the Browns want to get off of four wins this season. Last year the team finished 5-11. That means the Browns would have to win a pair of games to finish with an improved record.

Jacksonville has been playing better and comes to town next week winning two of their last three. Then they play the Patriots, the Bears, the Jets and the Steelers.

  • MrCleaveland

    Time for a players-only meeting? I hear those work out well.

  • Big Z

    The most frustrating part of this mess was/is the FO’s refusal to sign another QB to replace Weeden as backup. It sickens me to think of him trotting onto the field on SUN. Sending him onto the field against the Tom Brady-led Patriots would be an insult to the proud history of the NFL. Even though it is Holmgren’s fault (the QB guru who also gave us Delhomme and McCoy) for bringing him onto the team, Banner is on the hook for forcing the the city, fans, and team to associate themselves with his nonsense for this long.

  • Harv 21

    Sure it will be hard to beat teams the rest of the way if your remaining QB is both bad and lacks confidence, and if you have no running game to divert defensive attention.

    Having said that, the defensive players should shut their collective mouths. This was going to be a low-scoring, bad weather game. They deferred the opening kick-off and promptly looked flat as Pittsburgh immediately drove for the crucial first score. So they held a so-so offense pretty well in check – whoop-de-doo. Haden was burned, I didn’t see TJ making many plays, and don’t remember Dez Bryant anywhere near the QB or on tackles for losses.

    This was a game a defense was going to win. We had all our starters, Pittsburgh did not. Their defense won it, on the road to boot. So Browns, man up and shut up.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    How ’bout those Patriots? LoL

  • @TheDeePagel

    This may not be a popular comment here…but

    9-7 makes the AFC playoffs this year. Yes we are 4-7, and yes it seems there is no hope right now after two terrible losses to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, but if we can beat Jacksonville on Sunday at home, gain some momentum and upset the Patriots, then we finish with Chicago, NY Jets, and Pittsburgh with a chance to win out and sneak in.

    I know it’s a pipe dream…..but it is possible if we can beat Jax and upset NE. Count me in for the ride.

    No quit. Go Browns.

  • Kildawg

    The “Tebow Talk” has been queued up again. Blame the poor play of Weeden. We now know Tebow’s role in the NFL: get brought up as a viable alternative for a team with a mess at the QB position. First Hoyer goes on the IR after playing well and leading the team. Now Pittspuke executed their gameplan in taking out Campbell.

  • maxfnmloans

    you know why they call them pipe dreams, right? I wonder how long before the PC police decide we cant say that anymore?

    Also, I admire your conviction, but I cannot share your faith. I prefer to hope for the best and plan for the worst.

  • Hopwin
  • Big Z

    That is just absolute nonsense.

  • Big Z

    Tom Brady is the greatest of his generation. I hope he wins the SB this year.

  • Sam Gold

    The thing is I think I’d rather wait for our chance at the playoffs when the QB who gets us there doesn’t cause me to cover my eyes or hold my breath every time the ball is snapped. I’m not sure getting there would feel all that great if we got our asses handed to us as a reward for sneaking in.

  • Wow

    What game did Ward and Haden see? I saw Pittsburgh pick apart the defense repeatedly. They act like they are the 85 Bears or something. Everyone is to blame for yesterday.