Admit it, that game was more fun than you thought it would be. It’s OK, this article is a safe place where wins and losses don’t matter.
When Cody Kessler started the game with a delay of game penalty, a fumble, and a lost fumble1, weren’t we all thinking that the Browns weren’t going to be able to put up any points?
Granted, seven of the 24 points were a gift from the defense, but Cody Kessler, Terrelle Pryor, and the running backs were able to move the ball pretty well throughout the game despite some tough starting field positions. The Browns’ defense also looked frisky at times. The final score shows another loss for the Cleveland Browns, but the game itself left many of us thinking that the Dolphins had more to worry about. They are not building towards their future; their future is right now.
Did the moving of John Greco to center and Alvin Bailey to right guard help the offensive line to protect Cody Kessler better than past weeks with Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown at the helm? Did the loss of Corey Coleman stymie the offensive playmakers? Did the continued absence of Carl Nassib spell doom for the pass rush? Let’s find out.
My initial feeling about the Browns’ defense on Sunday was that they really failed to make Ryan Tannehill’s job more difficult. At the time I saw it, I was pretty sure that Corey Lemonier’s strip sack of Tannehill was the first sack of the game for the Browns. I was right. Lemonier could not have picked a more opportune time as his sack and fumble recovery led to the long field goal attempt at the end of regulation that Cody Parkey missed. At this point in the season, the Browns are averaging one sack per game, and that’s just not good enough. Overall the Browns need to find ways to spend more time making plays in their opponent’s backfield.
QB Hits: 3
Tackles for loss: 2
Passes Defensed: 4
Week 2 PRESSURE Grade: 1 (out of 5)
GETTING OFF THE FIELD
If you looked at that pressure grade and wondered how in the world the Browns were able to keep this a close game, then this category should interest you quite a bit. In spite of showing no propensity to stop Ryan Tannehill from having a clean look at the field, the defense was still able to get off the field and force Tannehill into three turnovers. The defensive backs and linebackers were able to keep tight coverage on the Dolphins’ receivers. Also, Ryan Tannehill is bad at throwing footballs.
Third Down Conversion Percentage: 2/10
Potential Takeaways: 3
Opponent Time of Possession: 29:12 (out of 36:34)
Week 2 GETTING OFF THE FIELD Grade: 5
Terrelle Pryor does it all. He throws. He catches. He runs. He blocks. His mere presence inspires fear and phantom taunting penalties. He was every bit of the playmaker that the Browns needed him to be this week. In spite of his weaker arm, Cody Kessler managed to engineer more plays over 20 yards than McCown or Robert Griffin III in previous weeks. However, scoring touchdowns in the red zone was definitely an issue this week.
Plays of 20-plus Yards: 7
Red Zone Conversion %: 33
Yards/Run Play: 5.3
Yards/Pass Plays: 6.2
Week 2 PLAYMAKERS Grade: 3
Starting center Cameron Erving was injured last week and left the game with a bruised lung. John Greco slid over to center from his usual right guard position, and Alvin Bailey got his first opportunity of the season to start at right guard. Unfortunately the nightmarish game from Austin Pasztor made it difficult to assess the progress of the rest of the offensive line. Pasztor was flagged for five penalties in the game and allowed pressure on Kessler during the plays that actually affect this protection category. He’s been poor enough in pass protection through three weeks that I would like to see Hue Jackson try Spencer Drango or Shon Coleman in his place. It would be hard for them to do more damage than Pasztor has done.
Opponent Sacks: 4
Opponent QB Hits: 6
Opponent Tackles for Loss: 7
Week 2 PROTECTION Grade: 1
The Browns were shockingly effective at limiting the opposing offense’s damage in spite of some extremely poor pass rush totals. I wouldn’t think that would be a common occurrence. Ryan Tannehill could have nailed down exactly which three celebrities he looks like2 during the time he had to throw the ball.
Cody Kessler handled himself slightly better than you would expect for a rookie facing some expensive and terrifying sack artists. Terrelle Pryor complimented him nicely, and you have to wonder if their different skill sets will continue to be utilized under center as the weeks progress. However, if Hue Jackson can’t figure a way to keep holes the size of Montana from opening up on the offensive line, Kessler and the weapons around him will have a hard time staying healthy.
If I had to make a guess, I’d say Hue looks ready to break out his happy dance against the Washington Redskins next week. I feel some shining happy faces coming.