No Response: Week 15 Winners and Losers

Each year, when Browns fans are going through the schedule, a select number talks themselves into beating one or two of the AFC North teams, usually at home. While Andy Dalton and the Bengals are a standard HEY WE SHOULD GET AT LEAST ONE OF THESE, Joe Flacco and the Ravens, lacking much in the way of marquee names on either side of the ball, oftentimes get a share of this pie.

The thinking is, Flacco is overpaid. He’s bruised and battered. Their running backs are Buck Allen and Alex Collins? And who is Flacco throwing the ball to? Ben Watson and Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace? I mean, that would’ve been solid in 2011, am I right?

Wrong. The Ravens have their sights set on the playoffs and the Browns are a disgrace. They may be old and overpaid and lacking anything in the way of household names, but they just laid a 17-point win over the Browns in Cleveland.

I literally don’t even know what to say at this point. Good news is, I’m not alone.

LOSER: DeShone Kizer

LOSER: Hue Jackson

Looking at the box score, one would see the Browns amassing 130 yards on the ground. Great, right? Well, yes—until you realize that they had 108 in the first half, against a terrific Baltimore defense, and only ran the ball five more times in the entire second half. Not running the ball does a multitude of things, including, but not limited to, forcing your 21-year-old quarterback to make plays without having play-making options on the receiving end.

“Not a good day at the office,” Jackson would say following the game. We would tend to agree.

WINNER: Duke Johnson

Another great game from Johnson after a few games worth forgetting earlier this month. Duuuuuuke hauled in five passes (seven targets) for 40 yards while adding another 23 yards on the ground, including a touchdown. New Orleans’ Alvin Kamara is getting a ton of love for being elusive, but it’s Johnson Jr. who is right behind him in missed tackles on the season, adding two more this past Sunday. Shout out to Isaiah Crowell as well, despite his who four catches for -7 yards thing.

LOSER: David Njoku

A complete non-factor on Sunday. Njoku ran 22 routes and received zero catches for zero yards on just one target. While I’d have to go back through the video to see why he only received on target on the day, he was 21st in tight end routes for Week 15, but 41st in targets. This is less than ideal.

WINNERS: Christian Kirksey and Carl Nassib

Kirksey should be getting some Pro Bowl consideration at this point. Here’s PFF:

Another productive showing from Kirksey who racked up 5 stops for the sixth time this season, putting his season total at 57, 6 shy of his career high set last season. Kirksey made the most of plays in front of him, picking up 3 of his 5 stops against the Ravens’ short passing game. Kirksey tied for the team lead in stops with fellow LB James Burgess Jr., with all three of the Browns’ starting linebackers playing every defensive snap.

Not mentioned: Kirko’s six stops were six of his 13 total tackles. He also recorded a tackle for a loss and pass defensed.

If you would have asked me to list off players I thought would never be dubbed “Winners” in one of these columns this season, Nassib would be there. That said, the kid played his ass off on Sunday, setting the edge, getting three stops in the run game, getting credit with one hit and one hurry in pass rush, and batting away a screen attempt in the second half. For a Browns team that has been obliterated by the screen pass for much of the last decade, it would appear not letting the ball get to the running back is a superb way to stop said screen from taking place.

LOSER: Josh Gordon

Eleven targets are much better than the single-digit variety from a week ago, but man—a tough afternoon. A lot of focus is being paid to a play where Gordon was supposed to sit unnderneath a Cover 2 zone midway through the third quarter, but ran a fly route instead. Kizer would miss the throw, leaving it behind his receiver, and the Browns would be forced to punt. While the focus on Gordon as a legit weapon is a good thing, it’s clear that there needs to be a bit of chemistry building between the rookie quarterback and the receiver who was in just his second game in three years.

“In the course of the game, I was ready to book it, try to go get a big chunk of a play as I can, and had a little miscue right there,” Gordon said on the play. “That’s on me, for sure.”

WINNER: John Dorsey

According to this mock draft, Sir John is staring at not only getting his choice of quarterback at No. 1, but Saquon Barkley at No. 6? Also, if the Houston Texans continue to lose, that No. 6 could be No. 4. Not a bad way to start a tenure as GM… Assuming he actually uses those hard, hard-earned picks.

LOSER: Sashi Brown

While I still maintain the Browns are completely wasting Jabrill Peppers’ rookie season, Tony Jefferson was solid on Sunday, allowing zero yards in coverage. The Browns wanted Tony Jefferson, but are such an abomination that he was willing to take less money to play in Baltimore. Worse, the Browns are so bad even Bill Belichick wouldn’t trade Jimmy Garoppolo (who threw for 381 yards in yet another Niners win, by the way) to them out of sympathy, taking less from San Francisco earlier this season. When you can’t even throw money at problems, you’ve done something terribly, terribly wrong. This, apologists, is the collateral damage of believing you have to completely bottom out in order to eventually become a contender. Draft picks, though.

WINNER: Kyle Korver

The 37-year-old Korver outscored the Browns all by himself with just six shots in 23 minutes off of the bench on Sunday. I’m not sure which side of this is more impressive.

WINNER: #BillsMafia

Sundays, as mentioned last week, have become a Pit of Misery. Thankfully, with the combination of Buffalo Bills fans (dubbed “Bills Mafia”) and social media, I’ve been entertained to levels previously thought to be unfathomable when my days were solely dependent upon the Browns.

For those unaware, here’s a snippit from this past Sunday alone:

LOSER: The Browns fan who tried to replicate #BillsMafia.

Even the tailgating has turned up failure.

  • Pat Leonard

    Tony Jefferson could also be a loser as he was responsible for Duke Johnson’s rushing TD, but I agree, he’s certainly someone I wanted to have on the Browns and it hurts that he gave us the finger in spite of the extra cash that would have came his way.

    Loser: Gregg Williams – yet another week where Greggggg lines up his CBs and LBs way off the line of scrimmage and puts them in position to fail.

  • mgbode

    Mitchell Trubisky is going to ruin this game for everyone. Bwahahaha.


    WINNER: Me

    This game was not on TV in Columbus. I had family over for my son’s birthday. I did not see a single play of this game, nor did I listen to it on the radio.

    I win.

  • Chris

    Winner: The five guys in Lions jerseys behind the Browns bench with a “0-16… WE DID IT FIRST” sign

  • CBI

    Congrats Browns on once again falling short of my extremely low expectations. Words fail me trying to describe the sheer incompetence necessary to build this monument of suck.

  • mgbode

    I spent the day digging holes. My hands, back, elbow, legs, and other body parts ache. I still win.


    Loser: NOPER. Found out he’ll miss the 0-16 parade.

  • BenRM

    LOSER: Me. I was hungover this morning because the Browns make me irresponsible.

    Kizer isn’t doing himself any favors, but sometimes it looks like Hue is intentionally sabotaging him with the play calling.

  • CBiscuit

    Winner: Draft posish. How many years in a row before we are declared a draft pick dynasty? Nobody does it better.

    Winner: Houston losing. More of the juicy picks for us to eat (or likely just directly throw in the toilet).

    Loser: Kizer. Poor sweet Kizer. You never had a chance.

  • Garry_Owen

    Funny; this was the first game of the year that I got to watch, and I felt like a winner. I paused it 3 times to run my kids to places that they needed to be; watched it at my own pace; never felt frustrated; walked away thinking, “yep, that’s what 0-16 looks like;” then got on with my life. I think I’ve reached a whole new level of Zen (if “Zen” means not giving one iota of energy or care – I think it does). Thanks, Browns! You are my new spirit guides.

  • Harv

    Duke a winner when his fumble at exactly the wrong time/place initiated the weekly feces downhill roll? Nassib for a deflection and tackles when the QB and RB came back to him? Yikes. Ok, deep breath…

    WEINER: Kizer, for being the perfect receptacle for his Yoda’s whisperings. Like his guru, the kid forgets the situation, panics to make something happen when things look difficult. An accurate mirror of Hue’s pulling/inserting QBs, forgetting the run game, and wasting a challenge because hey, maybe during the review a meteor will drop on the other sideline and I won’t live in infamy for 0-16. Same mindless desperation that impels a red zone throw into quadruple coverage. The pupil is the master. If there’a any mercy in this universe someone will spend time trying to de-Hue him.

    WEINER: Sammie Coates, as the poster boy for Hue Culture. An emphatic first down signal a full yard short, all the while yearning for the sunglasses the cool losers get to where.

    WEINER: Sunglasses. Great idea. At least that’s what Kenny Britt told me.

    WEINER: Steve Tasker (I dunno, maybe it was Buerlein) who blamed Josh Gordon’s lack of production the past couple of years on instability at the QB position. Stupid us, we thought his catches were a little affected by his league banishment from the NFL. Actually, that’s now also my excuse for not catching b.b’s from Weeds, flutterballs from Hoyer, shovel passes from The Kid. Still, I enjoy signalling that imaginary first down. Emphatically.

  • Chris

    Browns 2017 Regular Season Wins: Zero
    Indians 2017 World Series Wins: Zero

    My Browns prediction is long gone, but my bold prediction is still alive.

  • MartyDaVille
  • RGB

    LOSER: Williams. Good thing Peppers is 30 yards deep, so he can almost tackle that TE before he scores a TD. Oh, SO close. Maybe you should try 35 yards deep.
    LOSER: Kizer. That interception. Dude.
    WINNER: Our second first-round pick. MINKA is in our grasp.
    LOSER: Hue. You should go ahead and buy that house in Blue Ash.
    WINNER: The Process. Good thing we didn’t give up any picks for GRABAPABLO. (Is the sarcasm font working?)
    LOSER: HUE2: 5 carries for 72 yards. FIVE FREAKIN’ CARRIES?
    LOSER: Coates. Our celebration bar is low, but not that damn low.

  • RGB
  • mddawg

    Funny you should mention the TE, Ben Watson was highlighted on TV last week and a commentator said: ‘he’s still in the league? I shouted at the TV: “You’re damn right and he’s going to score a TD against the Browns next Sunday”. Voila, Gregg Williams defense never disappoints.

  • Skulb

    The Ravens are coming along a bit here recently. But it isn’t exactly wrong to say that the Ravens are presently a team that needs to be beat if you want to be taken seriously. Like the Steelers did. And the Jaguars and Titoons. If teams are either good, mediocre or bad, beating Baltimore might be a sign that your team is good, because they are mediocre. And good teams beat mediocre ones.
    Now, if you lose to mediocre teams then you’re probably bad. So it works both ways. I always like to identify the truly mediocre teams ever season and pay attention to which games they win or lose. They are excellent barometers. And the Ravens are my mediocrity focus team this year.

  • Skulb

    If there is a silver lining right now, it might be that the Bingos and Texans are probably playing much worse than the Browns at the moment. Arguably New York are as well, at least up until this weekend. I think the NFL should start a sort of reverse Superbowl for all the dregs so that these questions could be satisfactorily answered every season. Except that as punishment for being bad the stinky playoffs could be played really early in the morning, like 4;30AM. And the team that lost could advance to the next game as further punishment. The last team standing could then win the Toilet Bowl of Embarrassment. And all the players should get hugged by Roger Goodell again before doing laps and calisthenics on national TV.

    There are not enough negative consequences to sucking in the NFL. Rather you get rewarded in many ways, which somewhat makes sense on paper but no sense whatsoever as it plays out in real life. I feel as if some pre-dawn January comedy football between the most miserable teams would be a very strong incentive to shape up. Plus, you know, the Browns might actually win this trophy in dominant fashion.

  • Skulb

    Is it wrong of me that I just read this post in an Inspector Closeau voice?

  • Pat

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  • CBiscuit

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  • RGB

    The NFL needs to work out some kind of relegation partnership with the CFL.