Browns, Featured

Browns make it sort of interesting, but lose to Steelers, 24-9

steelers.com

The Cleveland Browns lost their eleventh game of the season, falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 24-9, at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday. The Browns had a chance to possibly earn their first win of the season, but their offense was unable to do much of anything against the Steelers defense. In the loss, the Browns were led through the air by quarterback Cody Kessler, who completed 7-of-14 passes for 128 yards and an interception before leaving the game with a concussion. On the ground, quarterback Josh McCown led the horrible rushing attack with just 11 yards. The top receiving target for the Browns was receiver Terrelle Pryor, who caught five passes for 97 yards.

The main issue with Cleveland on Sunday was not their defense, but their offense. The Browns defense played their hearts out, holding a potent Steelers offense to just 313 total yards of offense and three points in the second half. The Browns offense was awful. The quarterback position is a mess. Both Kessler and McCown hold onto the ball far too long, which contributed to the Steelers eight sacks in the game. The Browns offense played an average defense, but couldn’t do anything on the ground and little through the air. Here is a rundown of the game:

The first half was all Steelers. Both teams had just three drives in the first half. This was due in large part to the Steelers first two drives of the half. On their opening possession, Pittsburgh drove 82 yards on 16 plays to get a field goal, taking nine minutes and 18 seconds off the clock. On their second possession, the Steelers drove 68 yards on 16 plays for a second field goal. That second drive took nine minutes and 28 seconds off the clock. The Browns defense bent, but did not break for most of the half. However, on the last drive of the half, the Browns allowed a touchdown (and two-point conversion) to make the halftime deficit 14-0. The defense could have held the Steelers to just six points prior the heading to the locker room, but the Browns were called for two penalties with no time remaining at the end of the second quarter, giving the Steelers two untimed downs and allowing them to score a touchdown.

The Browns offense was just as bad as the defense in the first half. They had three possessions that totaled just 50 yards. The offense could only hang onto the ball for nine minutes and 23 seconds and called just 17 plays in the opening two quarters. Nothing went right for the offense; they couldn’t run the ball, nor throw the ball. Kessler struggled, throwing for 60 yards and an interception while completing 3-of-7 passes. He was sacked three times. At the half, the Browns somehow only trailed by two touchdowns, while not being able to put any points on the board.

The third quarter saw the Browns and Steelers trade field goals, making the score 17-3 heading into the final quarter. Somehow, Cleveland’s defense – that lacks pretty much everything – was able to thwart another Steelers’ red zone appearance, holding quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Pittsburgh’s offense to their third field goal of the game. The Browns offense finally put together a good drive, but they too struggled to punch it in when they reached the red zone.

The Browns made it interesting in the fourth quarter, at least. After a big hit forced Kessler to leave the game with a concussion, Josh McCown came in and put together a touchdown drive to cut the deficit to 17-9. The orange and brown’s defense stepped up once again, holding the Steelers offense to no points in the final 15 minutes. But, McCown reverted back to his old self after his touchdown drive. He held onto the ball too long, allowing the Steelers to get to him in the backfield, which led to plenty of sacks and hard hits. The game was cemented when McCown was stripped in the endzone and the Steelers defense came up with the ball to score the team’s second touchdown of the game. The Browns lost once again, 24-9.

They move to 0-11 on the season, continuing their search for their first victory of the year. Cleveland plays the New York Giants next week at FirstEnergy Stadium.

  • RGB
  • Sam Gold

    It has been building slowly but I am having a serious crisis of confidence in our HC. Every week he gives lip service to establishing a running game and each week he runs less. They ran 13 times FOR THE ENTIRE GAME. Each time Duke carries the ball he makes something out of nothing every, single time. Yet he keeps going back to Crow who just runs into the pile regardless of what’s happening on either side of that pile of humanity. He’s the anti-LeVeon. He has a rookie QB with a lost, deer in the headlights stare who can’t anticipate and Hue keeps sending four receivers on go routes on 3rd and 5. It’s like he just can’t accept that he doesn’t have Cinci’s offense and keeps calling plays as though he does.

    Conversely, I actually see progress with the front seven on the D. Shelton, Kirksey, Collins, Ogbah actually look like they could be the beginning of a build.

    Hue says next week Josh is going to start as CK’s in the protocol.

  • Sam Gold

    Jesus, best gif ever.

  • **** 2016 WFNY PREDICTION GAME ****

    I want to see more of Briean Boddy-Calhoun. He could be very good in the future.

    Two more players down for the count, but five new players join RGB ON THE VERGE. Jason Hurley, Pat Leonard, thanks for playing. Try again next year.

    Now time to change my sausage underwear. I think beef holds better in the cold.

    See who’s safe, ON THE VERGE…, and who lost here:

    http://numutango.blogspot.com/

    See all of the entries here:

    http://waitingfornextyear.com/2016/09/10-bold-predictions-for-the-2016-browns-season/

  • nj0

    I’m no brain whatchamacallit, but aren’t two concussions in a month a not good thing for QB guy Kessler?

  • nj0

    I know the accepted opinion is that the Browns offensive line can’t run block. I don’t disagree with this, but I do wonder what would happen if we stuck with it over the course of an entire game.

  • Sam Gold
  • Sam Gold

    It would be an interesting experiment.

  • NankirPhelge

    Sashi, we need to blow this thing up and start fresh.

    I’m on it, boss.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4c5711101ac6a8ba53fd63fbe65bfe7843acd29f5620172194d600d5170d529f.jpg

  • Chris

    Gross…come on man.

  • Saggy

    i can’t believe i looked up with 9 minutes left in the game and said to my wife: “they can tie it up with a TD drive right here!” No sooner did the go backwards and give up a fumble-TD. Oh, only the Browns.

    I agree with @disqus_N10rKYFXyj:disqus with regards to Hue – I’m not so sure he has a grasp. Why keep going for it on 4th and 9 but then punt on 4th and 4? There are some other random things, too, like how Pittsburgh kept bringing that same blitz every time, yet the Browns seemed like they didn’t even address it. Makes me wonder.

    However, props to the defense today. Played with a ton of heart. I’d love to get a playmaking safety or LB (or one of those hybrid things) in the draft. And the D-Line was better. Not good, but better. McCown, however, was not. I’d like to see RGIII if healthy.

  • Sam Gold

    Better?

  • Harv

    Care not a bit about the loss, but how’s that draft day rebuild doing? Kessler’s issues are unsurprising, given that he plays sport’s hardest position, he was given the least attention and fewest reps in camp and that this was supposed to be his mental acclimation year. But wither his fellow draftees, coached up by experienced assistants and given playing time to die for?

    Let’s start with the defense, and another week with a comical lack of QB pressure.Ogbah (1 tackle, 0 sacks, 0 pressures, barely in your tv screen), Nassib (statistically a little worse but same complete absence). Horrible reads, missed tackles, and really saved from an early blow out by the wind gusts which kept Ben dinking and dunking. Biggest rookie contributor by far is Boddy-Calhoun, undrafted.

    On offense: your first round receiver did Kessler no favors with two crucial, drive-killing drops on perfect throws. Today, I finally join those getting on the play-calling. Hue is so obvious: throw on first down to increase odds they won’t be blitzing over the bad protection, run on second down even though it’s now second-and 10 to “establish” the run and now your QB is in 3rd and long. Was there a second-and-3 or a third-and-1 the entire first half?

    Most excellent players will be making a noticeable game impact by this stage in their rookie years. Folks, we cannot yet know for sure but there’s an increasing chance that this latest episode of Cap Guys Wanna Draft is a disaster on par with the ’09 Great Mangini Wasteland. At least Mangini grabbed a pro bowl center. Sashi had an insane number of picks which would, he said, protect us from inevitable draft night failures. So, where’s the pro bowler in the pile, or at least guys actively impacting games? Knowing Hue was/is enthralled with Robert Griffin based on a workout, can anyone provide a rational reason – not hope, a logical reason – to think Sashi and Hue are qualified to find the QB who will save their own skins? I’m going to hope just like everyone else but making excuses for why none of the 12(!) draftees are clearly excelling is a front office dash board warning light.

    One more thing: Tomlin has ingrained the Punk Cleveland culture into his tream as deeply as losing is ingrained in Berea. His refusal to take the 3 points at at the half was more of that: we can’t lose to these guys, go kick ’em in the teeth, it’s the Browns. I was half expecting him to put Justin Gilbert on Coleman, just to give his assistants some giggles.

  • Skulb

    This is now so depressingly bad that it is at the very least a good situation to put Bob back in the lineup. Whatever else he might be, the guy never lacked confidence. If nothing else he might make things a little more interesting.

    https://media.giphy.com/media/FjJ4bPE52Qz4s/giphy.gif

  • NankirPhelge
  • Saggy

    I think you’re giving Tomlin too much credit there. It was the end of the half, Pittsburgh were getting the 2nd half kickoff, the Browns hadn’t done ANYTHING on offense, and they hadn’t yet stopped them on D. I agree with his decision – I would have done the same thing.

    As for the draft, I am not happy with what they’ve done this year, of course, but I told myself that next year is the money year. 2017 will be the draft where these guys had an entire year to prepare. Scout, dissect, select. I also figured that the team would be so bad that some of the draft picks might not hit their strides this season. I will give them until next year, when there is a (hopeful) talent influx.

    This team needs a leader. Not a Josh McCown (bless his heart) type guy who pats everyone on the backside, but a guy who is the best player on the team and who has no problem tearing into underperformers. He needs to be a playmaker.

    I am also getting worried about Hue. I know he doesn’t have the talent but, cmon, some of these play calls and down/distance and time management decisions have been less than professional grade.

  • Harv

    What’s funny (well, not funny, but you know) is that Ray must be delighted at what’s happening. What better revenge on the suit that axed you than suit trying to do your job and stripping the roster to a hemorrhaging mess. While willfully avoiding two franchise QBs.

  • RGB

    Ummm, 14 draftees.
    14…

  • Harv

    12 on roster, no?

  • RGB

    12 on the roster.
    Is that good, or bad?

  • Harv

    so far, so not good. I can only go by what I see.

    Maybe I’ll comfort myself with coach speak for the rest of this seaso- er, process. The only thing these guys can do is trust the process, come into the building every day and work hard until the wins come. Or until the next staff finds their skeletal remains under massage tables and in rancid hot tubs. (Will take me a little while to not insert snark but it is a process, I’m building this new me the right way, because there are no short cuts).

  • tigersbrowns2

    there are actually 19 rookies on the roster …

  • tigersbrowns2

    19

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi HARV … i understand the frustration , but the biggest proof should come in re-signing Pryor & Collins , making the team a bit better in free-agency with some true talent & then having another solid draft. this should speak volumes , but we should wait until after the next draft.

    my last look at the roster had 19 rookies … that’s a lot , no matter how you slice it … maybe some of these guys aren’t making a huge splash , but the HBT didn’t screw-the-pooch as bad as Farmer did (manziel , gilbert & erving). the young pups are getting their experience right out of the gate.

    sure , it would be nice to see the rookies making an immediate impact , but i still think it was a good draft , not great , but good … especially for what could be considered an “expansion franchise”. i still think there’s promise for c.coleman , ogbah , nassib , drango , kindred , boddy-calhoun & kessler … and we haven’t even seen what s.coleman , devalve & higgins can do yet.

  • BenRM

    I can’t tell if you think Kessler is good…

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi BEN … you could tell Kessler was making more of an effort to go deep yesterday … but the Steelers were coming hard all game.

    on the first drive , he threw deep into double-coverage , but Pryor came back to the ball & made the play … then he threw an INT going deep … other than that he didn’t have much time back there.

  • BenRM

    I agree, he was trying. It didn’t end well though. Underthrew it every time.

    He was also holding the ball a lot.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hmmmm , something positive … well , Kirksey is leading the NFL in tackles … he just might find himself in the pro-bowl. Danny Shelton looks like he’s done with getting pushed around & manhandled , like he did last year.

  • tigersbrowns2

    and considering he suffered another concussion (on a cheap shot) , they might want to consider not playing him the rest of the way … i know RGIII starts practicing this week.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi SAM … as i was watching the game yesterday , i thought Duke has a nice burst & is pretty shifty compared to Crowell … Duke is Miami’s all-time leading rusher & we all know the great names that have played there. i think he can handle more of a load than just being a change-of-pace back.

  • tigersbrowns2

    okay , if the Browns win out , i am the man !!!!!

  • tsm

    If we were going to win one game this year, this was the one to win and make the max effort. Instead, our OL was useless, Kessler held onto the ball too long, our DL couldn’t generate any pressure, and the play calling was unimaginative. I truly hope this game was the low point in our “rebuild”. I can’t remember the last time I turned off a game on a Sunday when I had nothing else to do, but after Pittsburgh scored on their third try to end the half, I turned the game off and did some minor chores around the house. I am also beginning to question not only Hue but our front office. The rookies should be making an impact by now, and we should be seeing improvement. Yet, they are simply not competitive.

  • BenRM

    Personally, I’d like to continue the RG3 experiment. We know how it’s going to end, but I also think we know how the Kessler experiment ends.

  • nj0

    Just like Banner laughing at Farmer?

    Don’t worry, Sashi. You’ll be laughing at someone else soon enough. Not out of the other side of your face though. No, just the regular side.

  • jpftribe

    “It’s like he just can’t accept that he doesn’t have Cinci’s offense and keeps calling plays as though he does.”

    Think you are on to something there…….

  • Harv

    I exempt him from my analysis permanently, as I have Tim Couch. Because whatever potential he had with normal care and development is probably gone. He wasn’t supposed to play this year, but he was thrown in and has gotten hit worse than Couch. Two concussions in 28 days. Too many hits to count and such poor protection and refusal to use the running game that he’s regressed since his first game into physical survival mode. Textbook example of how to screw up a rookie QB. So I have no thoughts. I’ll just remember him as shark chum in a misbegotten O-line analytics experiment.

  • Harv

    yeah, Tiger, I don’t think we have a common set of impressions to begin discussing this draft’s quality. I watched all their top picks the last few games to see how they are playing. And have to assume there’s a reason we haven’t yet seen much of the others – given the paucity of talent, it’s probably not the great players in front of them. I do remember that you were insistent that Farmer be given more time and that we couldn’t judge his picks (or him) for 3-4 years. Let’s just say I don’t share that philosophy, or your kind and generous nature regarding whoever Haslam has last tossed the franchise keys toward. I will be less skeptical when that choice has a history of competence at that same job.

  • BenRM

    Fair enough.

  • tigersbrowns2

    guilty as charged … i wanted continuity more than anything , but when you have FOUR 1st round picks in 2 drafts & only come away with Gilbert , Manziel , Shelton & Erving , that’s about as BAD as you can do … just sets the franchise back that much more.

  • tigersbrowns2

    i agree … considering we have RGIII & Kessler , QB should not be a priority with either of our 1st round picks , unless somebody blows them away.

  • Harv

    ugh, Tiger, only you and Kirksey’s mother think he’s a possible pro bowler based on a stat that means close to nothing. Kirksey makes nearly all those tackles in the secondary, often from the side or behind, after the RB has run untouched past the LOS or when Kirksey is 2 steps too slow to prevent a wide open swing pass. Impact inside LBs make impact plays, like tackles for losses, pass break-ups, occasional forced fumbles and interceptions, maybe an occasional sack. They used a draft pick on an impending FA like Collins precisely because Kirksey and the other LBs make virtually no impact plays.

  • tigersbrowns2

    you are right-on with your points , but we both know any LB that leads the league in tackles & is also rated one of the best pass cover LB’s in the NFL (argue with PFF , not me) is going to get some consideration … i would consider him our 2nd best defensive player at this point , after J.Collins.

    i see a guy that is busting his ass & hustling on every play , regardless of the outcome … and i’m curious to see how well he’ll play when our defense is actually stout. i think he will be here for a while.

    so , i will be sitting with Kirkey’s mom at the pro-bowl …

  • Harv

    see what happens when I violate my own rules about discussing Browns players with Son of Sashi? Ok, you win. He’s great. Hell, they’re all great, and if not, very promising. And if not, certainly well above average. Also, I dub thee “Tigger,” for your relentless bouncy rosiness, resolute in the face of any game tape.

  • tigersbrowns2

    sorry HARV … i am what i am. “son of sashi” is a good one … and please do not be afraid to violate your rule … it’s all good.

    and , for the record , i never said anyone was “great” … Joe Thomas is the only one who would fall into that category. and while my disposition on talent may be way too much on the sunny side , yours is a little too much on the dark side … in reality , i think it’s somewhere in-between.

    enjoy your Thanksgiving !