Come Missin’ Your (Josh) Gordon: Week 12 Winners and Losers

Ken Blaze, USA TODAY Sports

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.

That said…

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…

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?

  • CBiscuit

    This may be a bad time to throw it out there, but:
    1. does anybody want to buy two tix for the LA Chargers game on Sun?…or in the alternative
    2. go for free by getting me Weekend at Bernie’s drunk and dragging my corpse along to enjoy the Browns performance?

    I don’t know what I was thinking w that purchase.

  • MartyDaVille

    Penalized 15 yards for playing football.

    Disagree if you wish, but this was not illegal in my opinion. Peppers hit him with his shoulder and his helmet happened to come into contact with the receiver’s facemask, not even the body of the helmet. To me, this is incidental contact — literally a touch foul. It wasn’t head hunting, Peppers didn’t target him, the receiver’s head didn’t snap violently to the side, and he got right up. It was a clean hit.

    The league is expecting too much from players, and referees need to put these questionable hits into some context. In all sports, calling a penalty that didn’t happen is far worse than missing a penalty that did.

    They had a chance to “make a statement” by shutting down Cincinnati’s last drive with a three-and-out or so and give Kizer a chance to drive the offense down to field to tie it up (granted, that would have been a long shot). But they didn’t do it – didn’t come close to doing it. Nobody on this team ever makes a big play at the end when it counts.

    He pulled a spectacular Jets-era Braylon. Ricardo Louis pulled just a mundane Browns-era Braylon.

    As the final minute ticked away, he started to run across the field to congratulate Marvin Lewis. But the refs shooed him back to the sideline because Cincy still had to run one more kneel-down. Another instance of poor clock management.

    Taunting? Seriously? For God’s sake, you’re a Cleveland Brown! What you you possibly be saying to the guy?

  • scripty

    I hate doing things like this, but as somebody who watched the entire 99 and 00, and 01 seasons, let me tell you – the immortal Phil Dawson looked shaky AF those first 3-4 years. Rookie was 67% with a missed PAT. Gonzalez is about the same. Phil couldn’t even get the pre K Ball to the goal on 50 yarder attempts, was so weak they didn’t bother for 3 years trying from far out with him.

    People don’t want to hear it but if you commit to a kicker you have to just take the pain early on. I know every so often somebody catches lightening in a bottle but you rarely get this greatness right away. This is the sort of thing that people who root for bad teams get way to worked up about, IMO. Godspeed.

  • scripty

    3rd and 16 in the red zone – probably thought to get some yards and not go for broke. Not the end of the world. Execution is more vital. I don’t like the personnel per se but I don’t know who was in the previous plays and also all but 1 WR are sub-NFL players. Again, there’s more context that just what presented.

  • mgbode

    Zane was the best long distance kicker in college football last year. I agree w/ you. I’d like to see how he does with a different ST coach too.

  • scripty

    New stadiums, more pressure, more games in Great Lakes and seaboard climate. Give it a few seasons. It’s not an Aguayo situation.

  • Harv

    My Only Winner (sorry Shobert, who racks tackles like DQ Jackson, with nary a game-altering play): Kizer: doing some decent things despite being put in an impossible and unfair position. Undoubtedly developing some bad habits trying to compete (like exposing himself on scramble, refusing to throw ball away) but he’s fighting his butt off and tough as nails and hopefully a competent coach can one day un-do the damage.

    Hue activating only 2 QBs: no one discusses this insanity. The starter has already been concussed, hasn’t developed pocket presence and is now eschewing safety-first policy on runs. The back up is Heroic Puppy 2.0, can’t avoid hits and injuries and is understandably desperate to hang in and make a play. Had Kizer not returned you know Kessler was going down too. What possible other spot trumped a 3rd QB. Insanity.
    Kirksey: locker room inspiration is nice fodder for media in need of a story line. But how ‘bout one impact play from a 4-3
    scheme designed to let you run free and make one.
    Dayes: SashiBrown, please, just stop at Home Depot and ask for that employee who was a college return man. Dayes may have some quicks from the LOS. But he’s to kick returns what that ancient safety was to punt returns under Pettine.
    Drango: um, add a left tackle to the endless list of roster needs. Your feet are either quick enough to stop an outside speed move or they’re not. He doesn’t belong there, and he’s creating a daisy chain of probs down the line.
    “Skates” Nassib. He’s like Mingo with an inner ear issue: runs fast, no strength, no moves, falls to the ground on first contact. Length isn’t an asset from a constant sitting position unless you’re a world class ankle biter.

    Can this just be over soon?

  • RGB

    WINNER: The Process.

  • JM85

    Winner- Kizer. He played a good game and his receivers let him down.

    Winner- the fans. It’s almost over.

    Loser- the Browns for being incapable of putting together a good game from all 3 units.

  • Petefranklin

    Arizona has thin air. Were any long ones on the coast?

  • mgbode

    Well, he holds the NCAA record for most points by a kicker, so I’m going to go ahead and guess yes.

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  • tigersbrowns2

    hi CB … heck , you have the tickets , you may as well go … who knows , the Browns may end-up doing something spectacular since you’re there … and besides , where else can you see scantily-clad women at a football game in December … just sayin’.

  • tigersbrowns2

    good morning , sir … good ones … no WINNERS ?

  • MartyDaVille

    In order for this crew to win, they don’t need to be perfect, they just need four decent quarters from all three units. That’s 12 unit-quarters that have to go reasonably well. Maybe against the Bears or Packers, they could get away with, say, 9 or 10 fairly good UQs if the non-good UQs are spaced out.

  • tigersbrowns2

    good post SCRIPTY … Zane definitely has the leg , as almost every single kick-off results in a touchback … just has to work on his accuracy.

  • tigersbrowns2

    the personnel , mainly Telfer , tells me they were going to run the ball & settle for the FG.

  • Harv

    Agree. I remember the “old” Browns drafting Matt Stover, who had such a shaky rookie year they were talking about cutting him. By year 2 he was a different guy and eventually became one of the better ones.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi HARV … good observations on activating 2 QB’s & on Drango … Drango has done okay at LT , he does seem better suited to play OG … OT’s Banner & R.Johnson are some pretty big boys , but they are both rookies … S.Coleman had a forgettable day as well

  • tigersbrowns2
  • tigersbrowns2

    WINNERS : Kizer , Crowell , Tretter , Zeitler & Schobert

    LOSERS : BBC , C.Coleman , S.Coleman & Browns red-zone offense

  • Eric G

    I am increasingly skeptical about using penalties to judge a team’s discipline. How could a team with NO flags one week all of a sudden be an undisciplined team in the first half of the next (or week after?) game? I wonder if there’s a large deviation from the average when you compare referee teams.

  • Eric G

    If you’re serious, I may consider buying. I was going to wait until the day of and call 714 to get a last minute discount

  • BenRM

    How did I miss this being posted yesterday?

  • CBiscuit

    haha well that will help distract from the disaster on the field:)

  • CBiscuit

    I’m on the fence to be honest. Will probably get off the fence in next couple of days. Embarrassed to say, the seats were $165 each. What’s the going rate on discounts (% wise) btw?

  • mgbode

    Having show up unreadable made me laugh. Other than that, I like this format better. Quicker to read through too.

    Note: I am first cheering that we go 5-0, which would make me a genius. If not though, then I am cheering that we go 1-15 so that every single prognosticator is wrong.

  • paulbip

    I sneezed and my finger just happen to pull the trigger

  • RGB

    It was posted late. Like, midnight.

  • Eric G

    I’m seeing some just under $100. I’m hopeful to get it for $75 max