Seemingly allergic to the red zone, the Browns managed to score a touchdown in just 40.62 percent of trips inside of the 20-yard line heading into Sunday’s game. Over three games prior to Sunday, this percentage is hovering below 17 percent. To put this in comparison, the Eagles lead the league at 68 percent. Believe it or not, the Brows are just below the middle of the pack in red zone attempts. The rub, of course, is once they get there, they can’t do anything about it. When you include field goals into the mix, the Browns are dead last in the NFL with just 3.2 points per trip to the red zone. In an area of the field where three points should be your floor, the Browns are right there, laying listlessly while the rest of the league capitalizes.
Conversely, when on the defensive side, the Browns are allowing a league-worst 5.87 points per red zone trip, meaning they have a differential of nearly a field goal per trip. If you assume three red zone trips per team, per game, the Browns have dug themselves an 16-point hole every Sunday on red zone appearances alone. There’s a lack of talent, and then there’s a lack of execution. The Browns are getting the trips; they’re just collapsing on themselves when they get there. It’s impressively bad.
Your 2017 Cleveland Browns: Impressively bad.
LOSER: DeShone Kizer
Of the 33 quarterbacks to throw more than one pass on Sunday, DeShone Kizer was 33rd in adjusted completion percentage. Buffalo’s Nathan Peterman, who was benched a few weeks back after throwing five interceptions in one half, had a higher completion rate once taking out things like throwaways and spikes. The Chargers blitzed Kizer 13 times, sacking him three times, and allowing just one completion on nine attempts. His passer rating under duress: 0.0.
This one was worse than the Week 11 abomination. In the event you missed it, here’s a compilation of errant passes thrown in the direction of Josh Gordon.
LOSER: Hue Jackson
His leading rusher was his quarterback. His receivers run nothing but flare routes. His team has won just four games since Thanksgiving of 2014 (though he’s only coached for a little less than two of those seasons) and are showing extremely little signs of tangible growth.
If his seat were any hotter, it’d be Kendall Jenner.
WINNER: Josh Gordon
It’s hard to not wonder “what if?” with this kid, but man… He took to the field for the first time in nearly three years only to go on to become just the second player this season to get to 85 yards on the Chargers’ secondary this season. Eleven targets in total. Seven were hauled in, but at least two more would have been six points if not for wayward throws by Kizer. It’s tough to count on Gordon going forward, but in this vacuum where we are grading game by game, this kid is an athletic freak and manifested his talents in a value-adding way for the Browns.
LOSER: Corey Coleman
Your first-round draft selection, taken with the pick that was acquired in dealing the rights to drafting Carson Wentz, went catchless on Sunday afternoon. Four targets. Zero receptions. Kenny Britt caught two balls. Hell, San Diego safety Adrian Phillips even caught one. While Gordon led the way in targets, it was Coleman who drew the easier assignment with Casey Hayward shadowing No. 12. It’s unacceptable.
WINNER: David Njoku
David Njoku has certainly had his ups and downs this season, but watching him run a seam route and have the awareness to leap into the end zone as he’s being tackled are the kind of plays that make you salivate for the kid’s future. The rookie tight end hauled in four of his six targets for 74 yards and his (team-leading) fourth touchdown reception of the season. While Njoku’s season stats (28 receptions for 330 yards) are essentially one big game from Antonio Brown, it’s also worth mentioning he was born when Bone Thugs’ “Tha Crossroads” was the No. 1 song in the country. Upside. Potential.
LOSER: Duke Johnson Jr.
Offensive MVP of the season, but this past Sunday was not kind to Duke. While Isaiah Crowell was able to get 4.1 yards per carry, Johnson Jr. managed just two yards on the ground over seven carries. Things weren’t much better through the air as one reception went for 11 yards, but the only other one went for a one-yard loss. This is one to forget.
LOSER: Jason McCourty
It was bound to be a rough day for McCourty who drew Keenan Allen in coverage, but man… Out of 64 cornerbacks to play at least half of their respective team’s defensive snaps on Sunday, only Tennessee’s Logan Ryan allowed more yardage per coverage play. McCourty was targeted 10 times and is charged with seven receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown. He was credited with two stops in the run game, but he would have needed about a dozen more to make up for how much he was abused in the defensive backfield.
LOSER: Gregg Williams
Chargers tight end Hunter Henry tallied seven catches on eight targets for 81 yards. Antonio Gates added three catches (on four targets) for 32 yards. And the Browns still can’t defend a screen pass.