Hey—Josh Gordon is coming back, you guys. All is well. No, no. Don’t look at that 13-point spread coming up against the Los Angeles Chargers. And no, don’t worry about the Cincinnati Bengals suddenly joining the ranks of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens as teams the Browns can’t beat—ever. Look at the fact that the Browns will be getting a wide receiver back on the field. No, no. Don’t look at that whole “last game played” date. And don’t worry about the fact that he gave up on football a season ago after looking oh-so good in the preseason. Josh Gordon is coming back and all is presumably well in Browns town.
OK, you can feel free to look at the Browns’ 75 percent probability of a first-overall pick as well. That should at least get you all to April.
WINNER: DeShone Kizer
We were hoping DeShone Kizer could build off of his Week 10 performance and produce improved numbers throughout the rest of the second half. While he would end up doing just that, it sandwiches a week we all need to forget. Kizer had his best game as a professional on Sunday, and it wasn’t even close. His teammates did him little in the way of favors once they got in the red zone, but it was the getting there part that is worth noticing as the rookie was 7-for-11 on passes greater than 10 yards, tallying 181 yards on deep balls. When you factor in the Browns’ dropped passes and the times Kizer spiked or threw the ball away to avoid losing yards, his adjusted completion percentage (76.9) was higher than Tom Brady, Kirk Cousins, Carson Wentz and Drew Brees. He’s starting to add touch to his longer passes, and it’s starting to yield positive results.
Kizer wasn’t without fault, once again reverting back to rookie ways when it came to clock management and occasionally holding on to the ball a bit longer than some would prefer, but the Browns’ 14-point loss was hardly the fault of the kid under center.
LOSER: Hue Jackson
While I wanted to focus on the 35 yards of penalties in the first 10 minutes of the game, thus ragging on his team’s lack of discipline, we’re going to let Jake Burns take this one…
3rd & 16 and Hue calls a play with the following features:
-Randall Telfer in at TE. HE'S TE 3 ON THE DEPTH CHART!
-All verts concept against Cover 4 with 2WRs/1TE
-Has two checkdowns who release on the same side.
This is a failure to help your team. pic.twitter.com/f49khAQL0r
— Jake Burns (@jake_burns18) November 27, 2017
Other teams have their sights set at the rest of the league while Hue’s is aimed straight at his own feet. He’s now 1-28.
WINNER: J.C. Tretter
While drafting is still a mess, the Cleveland Browns front office deserves credit for the dollars allocated to both J.C. Tretter and Kevin Zeitler over the summer. Tretter is credited with not allowing a single pressure in the passing game while consistently getting to the second level against the run. For what it’s worth, Kevin Zeitler had a hell of a game as well, allowing the Browns to total nearly 170 yards on the ground while helping Kizer attempt to do some damage through the air. You can be mad at the outcome here, but the plan to bolster the line appears to be a sound one.
LOSER: Corey Coleman
The good: Three catches for 64 yards, including one that went for 44 down the right sideline. The bad: There were eight targets. One was overthrown late in the game as the Browns attempted to make a comeback, but one was a dropped touchdown pass that would have put the game within striking distance. The Browns need this kid to perform at a No. 1 receiver level, and while he’s shown flashes, he can’t be dropping would-be touchdowns.
WINNER: Myles Garrett
While the rest of the defensive line was nonexistent, Garrett was an absolute man on Sunday. Against the pass, Garrett recorded a sack (his fifth on the season), a hit, and a hurry. Against the run, he recorded two stops. If this kid can stay healthy, he’s shaping up to be one hell of a football player. For the hell of it, watch him absolutely obliterate Cincinnati’s left tackle.
LOSER: Gregg Williams
Joe Mixon, to this point in the season, has been a bit of a disappointment. Leave it to the Browns to allow the kid to have a career day, breaking four tackles on his 23 carries, eclipsing the 100-yard barrier for the first time in his career. His defense dropped a handful (at least three) interceptions that would have significantly altered the game. The Bengals’ first score? You guessed it: Pass to the tight end. One of their biggest plays? You guessed it: A 36-yard screen pass to Mixon. While it was great to see Jabrill Peppers active and racking up tackles (seven total, four solo), everything else outside of Garret and Joe Schobert (more on this in a bit) felt empty. Emmanual Ogbah’s worth is proving itself with each additional snap.
WINNER: Joe Schobert
Thirteen total tackles, 10 of which were solo, and two of which were for a loss. Factor in that the second-year linebacker also had a hit on Andy Dalton, and the kid had a hell of a game.
LOSERS: Jason McCourty and Briean Boddy-Calhoun
Oof. One week after I refer to McCourty as the team’s defensive MVP thus far, he gets obliterated by Andy Dalton and the Bengals’ passing attack. Of the nine times he was targeted, McCourty is credited with allowing six catches for 75 yards while not recording a single stop in the run game. When we talk about the team being unable to piece it all together at the same time, this is exactly what we mean.
BBC, dropped two potential interceptions, was late on closing on Tyler Croft during the Bengals’ first touchdown and would later give up multiple crossing routes to the likes dominant household names like Alex Erickson. Definitely not one for the DMX-supported YouTube highlight reel.
WINNER: Duke Johnson Jr.
Despite some pleas from his running back coach, Duke Johnson still only touched the ball 10 times on Sunday. He turned his limited role into 67 total yards, averaging 5.8 yards on the ground and 8.0 yards in the air. If there’s any silver lining, he was second to only Corey Coleman in targets.
LOSER: Zane Gonzalez
What the hell, man? No. Seriously. What the hell?