Owen Ate in London: Cleveland Browns Week 8 Winners and Losers

DeShone Kizer Isaiah Crowell Cleveland Browns Minnesota Vikings
Associated Press

Since the Cleveland Browns have decided that being 1-23 over the last two seasons is great for fan morale, I’ve done my best to make sure that the entire regular season is about me. I’ve tailgated many times, but have not paid for a ticket. I’ve purchased apparel, but only because some of the new Nike DryFit stuff is can’t-say-no level of quality. But if anything has made the game-watching experience more fan friendly, it was a 9:30 a.m. kickoff that allowed me to not only get on with the rest of my Sunday afternoon, but have my choice of a host of other games to watch as I was doing so.

Typically, the Browns (coupled with league rules) run the 1 p.m. hour, which means I have little to choose from for the rest of the day. This past Sunday, however, we had choices at the 1 p.m. spot with two quality games at the 4 p.m. hour. None of this even includes the movie-worthy World Series game that would cap off the night. It was like we got to experience life as a west coaster, if only for a day.

I’m not sure how we could get this to be a thing, but I’m all for 9:30 a.m. kickoffs from now until the team is watchable again. By my calculations, that will be…

LOSER: DeShone Kizer

Things were looking up until the Cleveland Browns actually needed their quarterback to make plays. If we’re going to give credit anywhere, it should be to the game plan which consisted of a lot of short passes that simply looked to methodically move the ball down the field. A stark contrast to earlier in the season, Hue Jackson’s play calling led to much in the way of dinking and dunking one’s toward the end zone, with only eight of his completions taking place past the line of scrimmage.1 When the Browns needed Kizer to make plays in the second half, however, things got shaky. While the Vikings were looking to go vertical at several points in the contest, Kizer had just one completion go north of ten yards (a beautifully thrown ball down the left sideline on Xavier Rhodes, for what it’s worth).

WINNER: DeShone Kizer

Hey—he got to play the entire game. Baby steps! Also, spearheading this celebration which led to a perfectly executed heel kick from David Njoku is worth the nod.

LOSER: Hue Jackson

Another game, another week where Jackson completely abandoned the run with an entire quarter of play left to go. Another game, another 70-plus yards in penalties gifted to the opponent. While the penalty count was sliced in half compared to the previous two weeks of 11 and 12, respectively, the five penalties credited to the Browns’ defense provided the Vikings with 74 yards. On the season, the Browns have been flagged 63 times (tied for third worst in the league), providing 554 free yards (second worst in the league). None of these numbers include the nine penalties that opponents have declined. Do better.

WINNER: Joe Thomas

In addition to providing excellent commentary throughout the game, Thomas penned an eloquent essay for Sports Illustrated, painting the picture of the days surrounding his injury and the surreal experience of watching the Browns on television. “I knew I was going to watch Sunday’s game,” Thomas wrote. “But when I woke up Sunday morning, more than a little part of me felt: I don’t want to watch this game. It’ll be too hard.”

The entire story is worth your time. Let me know if you also feel like that kicker is written as if the Hall of Fame-bound left tackle is unsure of his future in the league.

WINNERS: Shon Coleman and Spencer Drango

Thomas may not have been able to be on the field, but the kid on the other side of the line was masterful, leading the way in the running game while allowing nary a pressure in 40 passing snaps.

Thomas’ replacement, Drango, had his hands full all day in blocking Everson Griffen, but did well for a kid asked to fill some mighty big cleats. Bonus points for Drango on this Isaiah Crowell run where he shuffled inside and then peeled off to pop the edge and give his running back an extra second to get through the hole.

LOSER: Zane Gonzalez

Another missed field goal and another missed extra point. These clearly weren’t game-defining plays, but this team simply cannot afford to leave points on the table. That they drafted Gonzalez makes things that much worse. The Cowboys had to replace their kicker this week, doing so with Mike Nugent who made four field goals and three extra points. Blair Walsh was a free agent add in Seattle who is coming off a game with a perfect 2-of-2 on field goals and all five extra points in a game where his team needed every point they could muster. This shouldn’t be this hard, yet the Browns can’t seem to figure it out. Even the commentary is at a loss for words.

WINNERS: TY McGill and Danny Shelton

If you’re looking at the list of interior lineman sorted by pass-rush productivity, the name at the top is Cleveland’s own T.Y. McGill. On the field for eight passing downs, McGill rushed Case Keenum seven times, caused pressure on three, and was credited with two hurries. McGill combated this with strong interior presence in the run game, credited with two tackles and one stop over 16 run snaps. Not far down either list is Shelton who also added two tackles and a stop in the run game, and three hurries and three pressures in pass rushing. If you’re a fan looking for silver linings, it’s that these young kids — both those drafted high and those who just jump into the scene — are the ones producing.

LOSER: Jamar Taylor

If he wasn’t finger pointing at teammates for blown coverage, he was drawing pass interference calls and then going all Tim Duncan about them.

LOSER: The Back Judge

Look, the Browns are fighting enough of an uphill battle as it is, but this bullshit pass interference call set up a touchdown and a subsequent two-point conversion. The ball was beyond uncatchable and was the equivalent of a shooter jumping into a defender who’s in mid-air in hopes of drawing a few free throws. Bush league.

  1. For comparison, nine passes were caught on or behind the line of scrimmage. []

  • MartyDaVille

    I think the Browns were looking ahead to their annual Christmas Eve win.

    Will the bye week be the bye-bye week? (Ironically, Pryor and the Redskins have a similarly bad relationship. The grass ain’t always greener.)

    The Duke of Edinburgh did not attend the game.

    Starting to get the ball more. ‘Bout time.


    He’s good at letting the air out of the Browns.

    Peppers-like underachiever so far.

    Maybe break .500 – or even win one game – before you go running your mouths at the opponent. You look like fools.

    Doug Dieken was hospitalized last week, forcing him to miss his first broadcast since 1989.

    Cleve. 63.1m, Minn. 10.9m. Another beatdown.

  • RGB

    WINNER: Drango. Looked pretty good against one of the NFL’s best.
    LOSER: Bode. See above. You know what time it is. Time to let go…
    LOSER: Kizer. He was bound and determined he was going throw that fade to Njoku, instead of noticing that the WR 10 feet away was WIDE OPEN.

  • BenRM

    Nothing new to add here.

    Winner: 9AM game time.
    Winner: A watchable 2.5 quarters of football.
    Winner: The tackles did really well.
    Winner?: Kizer was really bad, but not as bad as normal!
    Winner: Pressure? Kind of. If Myles was playing it may have been nice.

    Notice that only 1.5 of these items are not sarcastic.

    Loser: Hue abandons the run game even when he doesn’t have to.
    Loser: Gregggggg’s defense is stupid and can’t stop the over the top plays it is designed to stop.
    Loser: Another concussion for Collins.
    Loser: Lou Groza. Apparently your award is a curse.

  • RGB

    Mmmmm, beautiful, beautiful cap space.

  • mgbode

    I am all for JoeT retiring as a member of the Cleveland Browns and having his own 9 hour Sunday television show talking about the NFL.

  • mgbode

    Can we adjust the Kizer winner to Hue’s pass calls? Notice the completion percentage beyond the LOS. Just there were more calls behind it this week.

  • BenRM

    Sure. I’m on board with that. Hue actually called a good 2 quarters of football.

  • Chris

    I’ve been treating the Browns exactly like the Cavs… regular season doesn’t matter at all.

  • RGB

    That goes against all moneylytic principles to let a asset just expire without getting any value in return.
    Nope it’s time.
    The bidding starts now. Opening bid is a first-rounder…

  • mgbode
  • tigersbrowns2

    WINNERS : the strength of the Browns team – the O-line & D-line … they both played about as good as you can play.

    LOSERS : Z.Gonzalez … we used a draft pick on this guy & he is quietly kicking his way out of a job.

  • Eric G

    Oh no! I swore I said 8-8. Darn it.

    Well, no reason to watch now.

  • RGB
  • RGB

    Soo, you’re anticipating a miraculous turnaround and a Browns playoff birth?

  • Chris
  • jpftribe

    Maybe because he can’t read the field?

  • tsm

    I simply fail to understand what is going on with our DB’s and their coaching. It seems that for 8 weeks, the other team’s WR’s have been running open, especially TE, and we never adjust. I don’t know if these are communication breakdowns (cue the Led Zeppelin song) or poor positioning, or lack of ability, but they are terrible.

  • Robert Sass

    I like you a lot TBF2, but unfortunately the Browns organization and fans are all losers. We are about to go 0-16, and the first team in NFL history to win only 1 game in a two year span… This is painful… It is literally more enjoyable to spit on fish, bark at trees, watch paint dry, lick fly paper, steal wooden nickels, etc etc etc etc. I know you still believe in this “process.” All three of our first round picks from this season combined to do nothing yesterday, and all season, for the most part… Meanwhile all the players the Browns past on seem to be doing great… Oh, and another Belichek super-bowl victory, when it should have been in Cleveland…

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi ROBERT … hope all is well. i am willing to stick-it-out with the current regime … i think if we still have all the same people in place in 2019 we will be better-off for it.

  • Harv

    Winner: a guy named Treggs. Ran a stop route, fooled the corner, caught the ball. This happened once.

    Loser: Greggg/Rob Ryan. Ok ok, let’s say all of your players are bad, every last one. And stupid. And jet-lagged. Still, when your blitzers outnumber blockers shouldn’t you reach the 3rd string QB? And if he flees the pocket shouldn’t the safety – on that blitz call at least – be close enough so that the TE is not standing alone 15 yards away? Honestly, I don’t get it. It’s almost like Williams intentionally creates the easiest safety valve, and the most anonymous QBs relive their college glory days.

    Loser: playmaker Jamie Collins. I heard he had an impactful game. Must’ve missed it. Saw him play the run strong a few times. But … plays? Mostly cashing paychecks is what I see. A TD run through his spot where he was handled – easily – by a running back. If the defense must win games for the non-existent offense (and the inept coach) who makes the play?

    Winner: 9:30 game. Every week, please. Watch the suckitude early and then do something relatively meaningful with your day. Do kindness for a friend or, better, a stranger. Pick apples. Infuse vodka with something (check in with me in a couple of weeks).

    That’s all I got. In a few years few of us will remember this season, this staff, this Kevin Hogan. And that’s a good thing.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi HARV … i infused vodka with pineapples this week & it was quite tasty.

  • tigersbrowns2

    ” a watchable 2.5 quarters …” … so you did watch !!!! hang in there , brother.

  • Harv

    same. Was going for citron but that fell through. Strawberries out of season, have a pomegranate but not sure the seeds would infuse. Peppers – that’s millenial stage stuff.

  • RGB

    The year Detroit went 0-16, they went 4-0 in the preseason…

  • paulbip

    Njoku bust. Why can’t you people see it. Also Peppers. Do you think he’s really injured?

  • Matthew Grant Anson

    Njoku bust??? hell naw

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  • Dave

    Winner: Me, because I didn’t bother watching and instead had a productive and enjoyable Sunday.

  • Skulb

    Something has to be mentally wrong with Joe Thomas. Does he have some kind of martyr complex or something? Not playing for the Browns for a week should be a relief to a healthy human being. Maybe he’s been institutionalized.