Browns, Featured

Rock Bottom: Browns dominated at home by Bengals, 31-7

Ken Blaze/USA Today sports

When it rains, it pours – or something like that. Just when some of us thought the Cleveland Browns saw some silver linings in a comeback effort that came up just short in Indianapolis last week, this effort happens. The Browns lost a game, that after the first quarter, was never particularity close. The 31-7 score somehow feels closer than it actually was as the Browns narrowly avoided being shutout thanks to a late Duke Johnson one-yard touchdown run. The offense couldn’t muster any kind of rhythm, and the defense just seemed helpless at times against the Bengals duo of backup tight end Tyler Kroft and wide receiver A.J. Green. There really isn’t anything positive that can be taken away from today’s overall effort.

The offense was out of sorts right from the jump as Cleveland went three and out (thanks to a Kenny Britt meaningless false start on third-and-short) and continued their trend of slow starts on their first possession. After the punt, the Bengals had the ball close to midfield when we saw what may be the lone highlight of the day. Andy Dalton dropped back on second down and was strip sacked by Emmanuel Ogbah. The defensive end found a way to recover it for what seemed like a momentum-shifting turnover.

From there the Browns were unable to muster much of anything and another Kenny Britt mishap on third down forced a long field goal – one which unfortunately Zane Gonzalez missed and gave the Bengals life. Much of the first quarter showed two 0-3 teams battling to hand the other team the chance to win the game.

Then the second quarter happened. The Bengals found some offensive rhythm and the Browns kept shooting themselves in the foot. An early seven-yard touchdown from Dalton to AJ Green put the Bengals up 7-0 and gave Browns fans more bullets to fire at Jabrill Peppers. The Browns responded with a nice drive, but unfortunately Britt couldn’t string consecutive nice plays together and made this mistake when Kizer needed him on third-and-9:

After the turnover, the Bengals scored on a long 13-play drive capped off by a three-yard touchdown pass from Dalton to Tyler Kroft, giving the Bengals a 14-0 lead. The Browns then went three and out with just a few minutes remaining in the quarter. Cleveland then needed a stop to keep the game within two scores and what happened was….not that.

The untouched nature of the screen play was indicative of the type of effort we saw all day. The 21-0 halftime deficit was essentially rendering the rest of the game useless and the Browns couldn’t muster much of an effort against a Bengals defense that seemed to know what was coming from the Browns offense.

Kizer was only able to lead the browns offense to the tune of 118 yards passing, going 16-of-34 on the day with an interception. Mix in 45 total rushing yards on 17 attempts between Isaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson, and Matthew Dayes and that’s the recipe for an anemic offense.

Although Gregg Williams’ defense was able to keep the Bengals’ run game in check, they helped Dalton get back on track as he threw for 265 yards on 25-of-30 with four touchdowns. A majority of those throws were with the middle of the field wide open, or routes being run with little resistance.

Not much can be said to spin this thing positively. Between reports of unrest between the front office and coaching staff prior to the game and this effort from the team, it’s as close to rock bottom as the Browns have been in years. Four wins in their last 41 games equals an unhappy fan base and an even more restless group in Berea. Wholesale changes don’t need to be made based on one poor performance, but the direction we are seeing is worrisome. All we can see is the group continue to get healthy, and keep working toward a better result. Getting Jamie Collins, Myles Garrett, and Danny Shelton back will help. Hopefully playing the Jets next week will help as well, but then again, New York has won their last two games.

  • Steve

    More time to devote to the World Series favorites.

  • Eric G

    Thorough and complete trash. I saw one good play before I turned it off in the 2nd – Browns were on their 10ish (of course) and Kizer was getting blitzed, read it well, dumped it to Duke, who turned it into about 12 yards. You see good teams making that play. You see the Browns make the ensuing bad-snap-loss-of-10 play to negate the whole thing.

  • Sam Gold

    Hue Jackson, OC: “Don’t worry man, I got this.”

    https://media3.giphy.com/media/cjIjTzV9LDTs4/giphy.gif

  • Robert Sass

    Honestly, since I am a browns fan living in Chicago (and I have most, but not all) of my life; I have driven my 1-2 games a year to Cleveland, and spent tons of money to watch this team lose. The browns abandoned us all, moved to Baltimore, and I took that 3 years remaining a Browns fan in the hopes of rebirth. Since then, one playoff appearance, and all we see in Chicago is Dallas, Pittsburgh, and New England (and the Bears) on TV every weekend. This is getting old. And with a child in college, trying to pay for it all in cash and stay debt free, they are not worth two trips to cleveland a year, much less the tickets in Soldier Field to ruin my Xmas eve instead of having Xmas dinner with the family… I can cope and have (like you all) with this team SUCKING for the longest time, but what I am not willing to cope with anymore is spending my time driving from Chicago to Cleveland for games and spending any nickel or penny on this $%^&*(. You have to stick with your favorite team even when they suck, so when they win, you feel like you were a great fan all along. And while I get that, I simply am NOT spending money anymore to see the team continue down this path: Bad Owner, bad coaches, bad draft picks, and possible another 1 win season, of not zero win season. I simply am not spending money at this time on it. Even this year’s draft class sucks. EVERYONE in the world said the Browns should draft Myles Garrett and NOT DeShawn Watson. Well guess what… I am a CPA, and a musician, I am not a football person for my career. But holy cow, these guys cannot even accidentally get one draft pick (but Joe Thomas) right, and honestly, why does he even stay? We need a new regime (hate to say it), a new owner, and yet again cleaning house. Myles Garrett is the next Courtney Brown… Kizer is not even the next TIm Couch, maybe the next Charlie Frye…

    I will be a fan, but am not spending a dime anymore on this team until they are “accidentally” 4-12 one year…

  • Sam Gold

    1 win? Where? Against which team? This “plan” will see us going from 1-15 to 0-16. In Hue we trust. God, if only we could get that rookie QB to pass more, then we’d be all set.

  • Robert Sass

    I think this team may be worse than last year’s team, and you are right, if we do not beat the Jets at home next week, this team may not win one game at all this entire seasons. We missed Garrett, Collins, and even Shelton today. We really needed Coleman to step up this year…
    This is rock bottom, honestly, I think this may be worse than the Browns moving. This may be lower than that point… cause even when they moved, I remained a fan waiting for them to come back. BUT now, I have decided to at least not put any more money into this… I would still buy merchandise when the team did not exist, but I will not now… Hence, I tend to wonder if this is worse than rock bottom…

  • Skulb

    What was that? It just get worse and worse with Hue and this team. Oh well, another football season in Cleveland…

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/459ef32e39757ec0311fa3b5a87c6a338bdd65ee07567b6d3d6d97a2067a5790.gif

  • Sam Gold

    Yep.

  • Sam Gold

    I’d like to add that I’m all for a little organizational unrest at this point. Whatever I believed Hue could bring to this team back in January ’16 is gone. I’m actually shocked at how incompetent he appears at scheming to the actual players he has rather than those he wants.

  • Bryan Filla

    Yea fire him that will help since we have so many great coaches beating down the door to work in Cleveland coaching the Browns. C’mon man this IS NOT Hue Jacksons fault totally. Lack of talent and depth! If we keep firing and rebuilding every year or too the same thing will keep happening guaranteed!!! I didn’t expect more than 3 wins this year and wouldn’t be surprised by 1 or 2. Now the big problem currently is guys that are on the field not hustling (J.Taylor) and guys not making plays (all WRs and DB’s). This is an absolute rebuild counting last year I wouldn’t judge them until at minimum 2 more drafts. That would be 4 years worth of Hue bringing in players he wants and hopefully by then they would have a couple superstars, some depth, a respectable QB and a chance at being over .500. Cleveland has NEVER been patient with this team. Try it !!!

  • JM85

    I’m glad they allowed me to free up my Sunday’s to do something else.

  • Casual_Kenny_Reigns

    I don’t understand starting rookies and giving them the toughest assignments on the field. Why even bother?

  • Skulb

    I agree in principle. But what troubles me is how poorly coached they appear. You mentioned hustle, but I think they are failing at an alarming rate at just doing basic peevee football stuff. Football is simple: on defense you have to hustle, tackle, take good angles, cover, jam, rush and intercept passes. And on offense you have to pass, catch, not drop the ball, block, run routes and get into a rhythm with your teammates so everyone can be on the same timing.
    Please tell me which of the categories you think the Browns presently have a passing grade in. Because I’m not sure it’s even one.
    So it’s the coaching, obviously. Either the coaches are all morons and incapable of explaining even simple things, or they are making simple things too complicated, which is probably the case. This team is not ready for fancy. It should take fancy and stuff it in the garbage can and then drive that garbage can to the nearest landfill and blow it up with explosives. They are barely ready for the basics, even after a year and a half of Hue Jackson, and need to plug away at basic until they get the hang of it. Just do simple well, rather than fancy poorly. I think that would be a start.
    Because the present level of ineptitude will lead to the firing of Hue Jackson at some point. He may be a despicable billionaire without a soul, who mainly uses the Browns as a tax shelter, but Jimmy Haslam is paying many many millions of dollars for this product. At some point he will find his old trigger happy self again the way this is going. And then where would the Browns be?

  • Sam Gold

    So much this. I don’t need a specific # of wins but rather the obvious appearance of competence and progress. Coaching. This team has opened every game with a 3 & out except for Indy when Crow ran for a first, then 3 & out. They are never ready when the clock starts. Coaching. They are alarmingly bad out of the gate week in and week out stretching back through all of last season. They look less prepared this season. They appear to be getting worse from the first game through the fourth game. They appear to be getting worse from the beginning through the end of each game. Coaching. I have seen nothing on either side of the ball that would suggest progress with the possible exception being their run game D. No, scratch that, they still allow that big, back breaking run every game. OK, we can give that one to talent. Thankfully, we have a first round thumper playing 30 yards off the ball so, you know…coaching.

  • Skulb

    Yes, it is very disjointed and amateurish from the game management side of things as well. It just looks like they haven’t practiced properly. So coaching. I agree.

  • Skulb

    Oh about the wins: it’s his second year. Even the Browns should be able to muster a bare minimum results wise. And results are part of the process. First year: low expectations. Second year: reasonable, sub playoffs expectations. You’re not getting away with flat lining two years in a row as head coach in the NFL.
    Just look at the Jay Gruden comparison. 4-12 his first year, which was probably the minimum because the team had gone 3-13 the year before. Tangible progress to point to for his defenders you see. He then went 9-7 the next year, again exceeding many people’s limited expectations. More progress for his defenders to point to. And because of it he’s still there.

    I sometimes feels as if Browns fans are connoisseurs of losing now. Obviously we’re not going to win any games, but we can divine the progress within the parameters of losing. Just no. Winning is part of this. If the team starts accepting losing that will breed even more losing, if such a thing is possible.

  • Chris

    The Tribe game was fun!

  • Sam Gold

    Yep, absolutely; tangible progress has to equal some wins (more than 1 would be the bare minimum requirement for me). I just know that progress can be shown even if that progress doesn’t result in wins immediately. This team is showing no progress. They are regressing.

    I have no idea what they should do next. I absolutely don’t want to entertain another coaching change but am beyond dismayed at what this current staff has shown thus far.

  • RGB

    Don’t say that out loud.

  • tigersbrowns2

    good post BRYAN … i feel the same exact way. unfortunately Browns fans are super impatient & you can’t blame them. stay the course !!

  • tigersbrowns2

    good post SKULB … and you can only blame coaching so much as well. the players make the plays.

  • tigersbrowns2

    … another good post !

  • tigersbrowns2

    good post ROBERT … we all can feel your frustration.

  • Chris

    I don’t buy that this team has less talent than last year, but they are certainly playing worse. Last year, they actually played well enough to win a few games, then choked them away. This year? The only game they’ve played well enough to give themselves a shot was against the team they had no shot of beating.

  • tigersbrowns2

    well “rock bottom” is probably the best way to put it … i can handle the losing … i can handle being 0-4 if the Browns are competing & showing signs of progress , but they have have been regressing each game … even Mr. Positive Blow Sunshine Up Your Arse doesn’t even know what to think … i really don’t.

  • tigersbrowns2

    … and Kenny Britt … WTF !!??!! … seriously , if it was me , i would’ve cut him right after the game.

  • Harv

    Absolutely no reason to deem yesterday rock bottom.

  • Sam Gold

    Thanks TB2.

  • Sam Gold
  • RGB

    Getting smoked at home by another winless team is at least sand bottom.

  • Sam Gold

    No, but the view is quite good from here.

  • Skulb

    I just think that the answer here is improved coaching. Just look at the turnaround that seems apparent with the Rams already with the McVay/Wade Phillips combo. More or less the same team was dreadful last year under Jeff Fischer. They keep things simple until that has been mastered and the required football actions are performed on a somewhat consistent basis, and then they develop things from there. A coach needs the players to buy in, or there can be no success. But how can they buy in if they don’t understand what they are supposed to be doing at a fundamental level? And this team did buy in last year, despite comprehensive ineptitude in many areas. But they were rewarded for their herculean efforts by a 1-15 season. And that’s fine for a season if there’s a sense of purpose to things. But they need a feeling of personal and collective progress too or they will start hanging their heads. Who wouldn’t?

    This doesn’t necessarily mean that you fire Hue Jackson. The more you can tinker and change around with the staff while causing the least amount of disruption the better it will probably be right now. Because they stink! But that typically does not mean firing the HC, which is the most disruptive option available. Sack Al Saunders right this instant, to send a message, and then hire someone detail oriented with good communication skills as the new OC. Damn Hue and his play calling! He has one win in more than a year and hasn’t been competitive in most of the losses. Clearly he has more important worries to deal with than offensive play calling. That would be my answer right now. And even if it’s not Saunders, heads have to roll after a performance like this. Otherwise you are signaling acceptance of the state of affairs. And you can’t do that while still keeping the players invested.They will think, and rightfully so, that since the staff faces no consequences of stinking and don’t seem to care much about winning or losing, neither will I. And why not?

    After the next disaster game you can then fire one of the defensive coaches. Hue has to use these
    stinkers to churn the staff until he finds someone good in my opinion. If he refuses to do this because of loyalty then he needs to go himself. After a while of this process you will have a good staff that will never produce a game like this Bengals game, even with mediocre talent. And partly that will be because they know that their jobs are on the line. I’m not as finely attuned to the details of the defensive suck with the Browns right now as many of you, but you have seven defensive coaches. There has to be someone that you can throw off the cliff and into the ocean after more or less careful evaluation, replace and move on. The gods demand sacrifice!

  • Chris

    Unfortunately, the Browns are masters of sneaking underneath the ever-lower bar of expectations.

    How low can they go? How low can they go? How low can they go?
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/de0e509be100113ed00821e412506d9113ee59b3367d86cf07b302242fdd2df6.gif

  • Skulb

    Me knees hurt now. Thanks a lot.

  • Saggy

    I can’t believe i watched that whole game.

  • tsm

    Don’t forget passing on Wentz so we could trade down get Coleman and another pick that has not panned out.

  • Saggy

    NO IDEA? sign a damn wide receiver. I can only say it so many times: how on earth did they expect to see development from their rookie QB with “Can’t Catch” Kenny and the Mistake-By-The-Lakers on the flanks?

    It’s mind-boggling to me that a bunch of Harvard guys couldn’t figure that part out.

  • Saggy

    So…..see you in section 209 at Soldier Field on Xmas eve?

  • Sam Gold

    A. What receiver’s available to sign that’s an upgrade? B. They have DeValve, Njoku, Duke, Crow and even Telfer who can all reliably catch and barely use them. This offense has been painfully one dimensional and Hue is a big effen hammer beating his square scheme down a team full of round holes.

  • Harv

    and my back

  • Skulb

    Ah, to be young and limber again…

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