Returning the Pit of Misery: Week 14 Winners and Losers

Duke Johnson Cleveland Browns

One of my favorite commercials on television right now involves the Bud Light “Pit of Misery.” For those who haven’t seen it, the premise is simple. Midieval times. Torture chamber. Several folks confined to the floor or wall or various torture-based contraptions.

A man enters the chamber with a few 12-packs of Bud Light. He had escaped, only to return with said beers, handing them out to the others, before re-attaching himself to a shackle suspended from the ceiling.

He had the chance to avoid further torture. He opted to return to said torture with beer. One friend reminds him that it was a horrible idea. The rest tell him to shut up and consume his beer. They update the returning man that one of them cried while he was gone.

It’s the life of a Browns fan, every Sunday, condensed into 45 seconds. Dilly dilly.

LOSER: DeShone Kizer

Things were looking up. There were multiple touchdown passes completed to multiple receivers that made you, the fan, say something along the lines of “Holy shit, they just completed an NFL-like pass to a wide receiver!” That touchdown pass to Josh Gordon was beautiful. Getting one to Corey Coleman was cool. Setting up a play that let Duke Johnson get in to the end zone untouched was spectacular. That pass in overtime? Brandon Weeden has questions.

It may be a tad unfair to call Kizer a loser in this situation. For the first 36 minutes of the game, he was solid by any standards, let alone those of a rookie quarterback. Higher adjusted completion percentage than Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton. More deep completions than Alex Smith and Drew Brees. A higher completion percentage under pressure than Dak Prescott and Jimmy Garoppolo. The difference? All six of those quarterbacks came home with a win while Kizer did that [points up].

LOSER: Hue Jackson

I don’t even know anymore.

WINNERS: Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman

Two top receivers with touchdown catches in the same game? Yes please. One week after Coleman disappeared, he came back with five catches on six targets for 62 yards and a score. One week after his debut, Gordon came out firing, catching three balls (six targets) for 69 yards (nice), and a score—his first since 2013. If we have any issues here it’s that Gordon was not targeted more than six times. In a world where Antonio Brown gets the ball thrown his way 18 times, Gordon should be getting at least 10. Progress nevertheless.


LOSER: Gregg Williams

The Browns had a 98 percent chance of winning the football game on Sunday, up seven with less than two minutes remaining, but this isn’t even Gregg Williams’ most egregious issue.

Up 14 with 2nd-and-5, Williams opted for that deep safety nonsense that provided the Packers with the entire middle of the field. Worse, his personnel grouping put linebacker James Burgess Jr. (No. 52) on Brett Hundley’s favorite target in DeVante Adams. The outcome would be as you would expect.

When a quarterback is not throwing the ball much beyond the line of scrimmage and is still succeeding, that’s an issue with the scheme.

Seriously. What is this, and how can we make it stop?

WINNERS: Larry Ogunjobi and Derrick Kindred

Danny Shelton’s absence was Larry Ogunjobi’s gain.

From PFF:

He only registered one stop but contributed to three other tackles and was a big reason why the Packers could only gain four yards on seven carries through the A-gaps.

Kindred was also a disrupting force. While he missed on a couple of sack opportunities, he was also held on a play that initially resulted in a large gain for the Packers. Execution on the tackling end can improve. That he’s getting to the quarterback is huge.

LOSER: Chris Tabor

In the same game, The Teflon Ton was duped on a fake punt and was then obliterated on a punt return that would ultimately set the Packers up for the tie. Watch closely as the Packers ball carrier ends up right in Tabor’s grill following the play. It could not have gone better.

We’ll hear about his impending contract extension within the next 48 hours.

WINNER: Duke Johnson Jr.

Johnson couldn’t get it going in the run game once again, but catching all four targets for 41 yards and a touchdown more than makes up for it. Bonus points for his Ryan Shazier-based celebration, a part of which is pictured above.

WINNER: Kevin Zeitler

It’s not sexy, but Zeitler once again dominated the point of attack on Sunday. On 31 passing plays, Zeitler didn’t allow a single pressure. On the season, Zeitler has played 555 passing snaps and has allowed just one sack. To put this in perspective, Joel Bitonio—who we love—has allowed six over the same number of snaps.

  • Casual_Kenny_Reigns

    Kizer is not a loser this week. He gave the defense a 14 point lead and they blew it in the last 5 minutes of the game. He made a mistake trying to win back the game.

    The entire defense should be fired.

  • MartyDaVille

    Mr. First-Round Draft Pick had a chance to make a play and salt the game away, but he dropped the ball, figuratively and literally. He came up small yet again. He’s not a playmaker, and he’s not a first-round talent. He’s the personification of Sashimetrics: great analytics, great “value,” mediocre ability.

    On one of Green Bay’s fourth-quarter TD drives, Nassib had a chance to make a big play with a sack of Hundley, and he let him go. First down. Drive continues. Browns lose. Nassib comes up small. Nobody on this team makes a play at crunch time.

    If I was Dorsey, I would have cut Nacua immediately after the game, and on Monday I would have told the whole team that I am not going to tolerate these stupid, selfish, ego-driven unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. The Packers were in a deep hole and Nacua gave them a huge gift. You’re a Cleveland Brown, for God’s sake, what the hell are you running your mouth for?

    Every time the cameras showed him, he had a nasty, mean look on his face as if he had a toothache. His scowl was there even when the Browns were winning. He must be really worried about that Pilot Flying J trial.

    Mr. Grand Marshall, the streets of BrownsTown are yours!

  • RGB

    WINNER: #1 pick. All but guaranteed.
    LOSER: Rosen. Sorry, bud. Sashi is gone. The #1 pick isn’t getting traded.
    WINNER: The Parade! The dream is still alive. Somebody should invite Sashi. He can consult his Floatmetrics Power Value Spreadsheet and arrange the floats in the most efficient manner.
    LOSER: Nerds. The Alpha Betas just trashed your house. Maybe you should stick to baseball.


    Eh Kizer looked good (not counting The Fly Ball) against a heavily injured secondary. Not impressed. People are cutting him to much slack for my taste now that Gordon is back. Remember Gordon was incredible with Weedan, and Hoyer.

  • Skulb

    Not sure why we’d blame the QB when the defense decided to hand the game away in the fourth. I mean, can one of the eleven meatheads on the field make a single play of any kind? Against Brett Hundley?

  • scripty

    Seems like I say this every week in this space – too much absolute judgment on young players is the hallmark of bad team fanbase. Gronkowski dropped easier balls and looked stiff and unsure of the offense his rookie year. I know it sucks he didn’t rise up but it’s just that – he failed as a young player in this game. Way too early for career arc certainty

  • scripty

    LOSER – Sammie Coates. On the fatal punt return, he gave an all-time Cashing Dem Checks effort. Cut him now.
    LOSER – KIZER – I imagine he picks the worst play to audible into all the time. With Clay Matthews Jr. so consistnetly rushing, why not run Kizer at him to make him show more position integrity. Whole point of having mobility is to use it on occasion.
    LOSER – Nassib. Yeah, he makes a timely deflection every 5 games. Then goes into Witness Protection.

  • Harv

    another week, another classic moment from Skates Nassib. Chased down the smaller QB from behind, threw both arms around him … but it was Skates who ended up face first in the turf, pounding the ground in anger. That was as important a snafu as the Njoku drop.

  • JM85

    Winner- nobody they’re 0-13.

    Loser- the defense for blowing a 14 point lead.

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  • tigersbrowns2

    and it seems like I say this to your post on that subject every week … “good post SCRIPTY”.

  • Harv

    yeah, I do this out of some anal retentive habit now …


    – O-Line: holes big enough even for Crowell to spot. Decent protection for Kizer on the whole.

    – Corey Coleman: against undrafted rookie free agent corners, he was a solid possession receiver. So no yards after any catch? Never threatens to break away as promised in April ’16? Whatevs, he has the look of a second receiver on a meh team. Cool.


    – Hue challenge flag: in some ways the best one yet, since they were ceding all those short dinkers anyways and you knew Kizer would need every single time out. I think Hue did it in the moment because Gregg Williams was screaming about it. Been contemplating which is worse: Pat Shurmur’s perpetual befuddlement or Hue’s erroneous certainty? Welcome your input.

    – Skates Nassib, at it again, bouncing off a QB and falling to the ground rather than sacking him. That might well have saved the game. More than half his sacks in 2 years have been the “touch the QB who already fell” variety. Dude is a skinny hot mess.

    Curious: will WFNY sponsor a parade float? I think it needs the voices of Hue and his predecessors on a loop, saying “we’re going to keep working.”

  • tigersbrowns2
  • RGB

    Can we alternate with, “You have to trust me on this one.”?

  • MartyDaVille

    Re Hue’s use of challenges: Often in error, never in doubt.

  • tigersbrowns2

    another game where the Browns can’t put a good game together on both offense & defense in the same game … heck , you really can’t knock playing the safety deep in this game … go up & look at Hundley’s pass chart again … the Browns OLB’s & CB’s were continually getting cooked on the short outside passes.

  • tigersbrowns2

    … and when you have a weapon like Josh Gordon , you have to make more of an effort to get him the ball … Antonio Brown & DeAndre Hopkins are continually force-fed the ball 15-20 times a game … the same should go for Gordon.

  • mgbode

    CBs were playing 10yds deep. WRs were just running 5yds and turning around, one missed tackle on some plays led to big gains.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi HARV … just a quick comment on your “WIENERS” (Crowell & C.Coleman) … things have been opening-up for these 2 since Josh Gordon’s return … Coleman will definitely benefit from Gordon being on the field & not having to be the #1 WR.

  • RGB

    Williams is known for his aggressive defensive style, which is why the 10-yard deep CBs, and 30-yard deep Safeties, are so perplexing and simultaneously aggravating.

  • Harv

    sure. And ain’t that the definitive commentary on the 15th draft choice in the entire country. As for Crowell, this is the bell lap of his contract year. Like 2016 Kenny Britt, objects may appear more passionate than they really are.

  • Harv

    This mixture is perplexing. Before the season I predicted the blitzing defense would win them at least one game against a rookie or incompetent QB. But putting the safeties way deep produces wide swaths of open field for the QB to find the TE or outlet receiver running free, or to try and squeeze a throw in without fear. It’s why the blitzing produces no turnovers from panicked throws. Almost like Williams wants to continue his career rehab with stats for fewest points, rather than winning impact plays. The scheme has effectively neutralized Peppers for the opponent.

  • tigersbrowns2

    trying to find silver linings anywhere I can.

  • RGB

    If he isn’t playing Peppers at SS, and MINKAH/Derwin James/Somebody Else at FS in a traditional formation next season, he needs to be fired.

  • Harv

    because that’s who you are. It’s a good thing

  • mgbode

    Only excuse is a complete lack of trust in the CBs as an aggregate, which means if we don’t get Minkah… maybe we look at drafting Ward.

  • Harv

    I was all in last year, but this year is even better. 1-31 completely defies league gravity – the Pats lost last night and Brady didn’t covert a single 3rd down. Bad teams win 4 games, horrible ones 2. A team going winless defies NFL physics like a speck of dust which drops like an anchor. One day we will mock ourselves for calling guys like Coleman/Coleman foundation pieces of a sustainable winning franchise. Already those claiming in July that Crowell is one of the league’s better RBs have fallen silent. This level of epic deserves nothing less than a parade.

  • woofersus

    I really believe that’s the issue. I remember earlier in the season when somebody asked in a presser about Jabril Peppers being played deep maybe not being the best use of his skill set, and Williams replied with basically “Who else do you want me to put back there?” The threat of getting torched deep for a big play is ever-present, and Williams is walking a bit of a tightrope with a bend-but-don’t break approach.

    McCourty has been a pleasant surprise, and Boddy-Calhoun is great in the slot, but Taylor has regressed a bit this year and there’s no FS of note on the roster. (and no depth at all) I think drafting a top CB or a FS would help a ton.

  • TimCleveland

    Agreed. I have Tom Savage in a Bad Quarterback League (reverse fantasy – you get points for things like INTs, fumbles, pick-sixes, etc.). Savage has put up relatively few points the last week or so (injury notwithstanding) because he just keeps chucking it to DeAndre Hopkins and lets him make plays even on crappily thrown balls. It isn’t rocket science.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi TIM … i’ve been playing FFL for 25 years now … i’ve been in leagues that were TD only , standard , PPR & even some leagues with IDP , but never in a reverse FFL … it actually sounds interesting.

    Hope you are doing good … i mean bad.

  • tigersbrowns2

    what i have been noticing on this subject : this has been working against the run , as evidenced by the rush defense rank / improvement … i have seen Kindred making many tackles in the backfield … so , even on the run blitzes they have Peppers way deep in case the opposition decides to throw a pass.

    but the blitzes against the pass haven’t been as productive because they aren’t getting to the QB quick enough … i think in the Vikings game they got their hands on Keenum about a dozen times , but were just a hair too late in affecting the play.

    they are either gonna have to learn how to get a real good pass rush with the 4 on the D-line , or they simply have to get to the QB on blitzes.

  • BenRM

    So close! I’ll wait for next year.

  • tsm

    Exactly. When you blitz, you play the DB’s up close knowing that the QB has to get rid of the ball in a hurry with a short throw.

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