Today, we are fans of the Green Bay Packers. In losing to the New York Giants on Sunday, the Cleveland Browns fell to 0-12 on the season, moving one step closer to the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. While the Miami Dolphins did Cleveland little in the way of favors in beating San Francisco—the inverse would have given the Browns a one-game cushion—it is now up to the Green Bay Packers to throw the Dawg Pound a bone.
As it stands, the Browns, as owners of the Philadelphia Eagles’ first-round pick this coming spring, stand to select somewhere in the mid-teens. If the season were to have ended today, this pick would be roughly No. 18. If Deshaun Watson is your guy, and you think he’ll fall to No. 18, then that’s fantastic news for all parties (save for, arguably, Watson). A loss by the Eagles on Monday night football, however, drops them below .500 on the season at 5-6. Finishing their season with games against AFC North-leading Baltimore, and NFC East brethren Washington, New York and Dallas, and fans suddenly have a team that came out firing on all cylinders early, but could easily be at the bottom of their conference when the dust settles.1.
More importantly, a loss on Monday night, and a 5-6 record, would currently put the Eagles behind only the Browns, Niners, Jaguars, Jets, Bengals, Bears, Rams, Cardinals and Panthers. Though then tied with a host of other teams (like Green Bay), we’re looking at a substantial jump from No. 18 to a pick that could be as high as No. 10—this all without the subsequent losses we’ve already established will happen above. A win, however, means the Eagles would go to 6-5, the same record as the abovementioned Ravens, the AFC South-leading Texans, and quietly pretty good Tampa Bay Buccaneers, meaning that No. 18 pick could slowly creep into the 20s if things don’t unfold as required.
The Packers have been some of the biggest frauds this side of Indianapolis throughout all of 2016. If anything, Cleveland fans are used to rooting for teams which should be much, much better than they truly are. Tonight, ditch that oranger orange and slap on a cheese head. It’s the least you can do.
LOSER: Josh McCown
Save the nonsense about throwing for 322 yards with a touchdown coupled with the faux belief, ushered by the FOX commentary crew, that the team could come back and win their first game of the season. When under pressure, McCown completed just 38.5 percent of his throws, recording just 45 yards. Everything else he was able to do came in dump-offs, one giant heave to Terrelle Pyror, or when the Giants simply let him pick his spots.
Settling for field goals after being inside of the 10-yard-line twice was bad enough. Given how well the defense played early on, keeping the score low and the Browns within a touchdown, not being able to capitalize after the 54-yarder to Terrelle Pryor was a crushing blow.
WINNER: Hue Jackson
The guy is trying. Managing a talent gap cannot be easy, so mixing in bizarre formations with things like a halfback pass from Duke Johnson get the thumbs up here even if they didn’t bear fruit.
Did you see his press conference following the game? He was later than usual, likely irking some deadline-driven media members, but he was late because he was speaking with the front office as he does following every other game.
The Browns will practice Monday and Tuesday before they’re sent off to enjoy their bye week. As we said earlier, giving this team a Week 13 bye may have been the worst thing to happen to such a young, overmatched group.
“They need to get a little break,” said Jackson. “We need to do some self-scouting of ourselves and get a break. We have four games left, the last quarter of our season. We have to find a way to put together a win.”
When asked if the break will be good for him as well, allowing him to clear his mind, Jackson said “I am going to be very honest with all of you, I don’t know how to do that yet because being 0-12 is probably the hardest thing ever.”
LOSER: Joe Haden
Joe Haden has been in the news much over the last few weeks as he and the team both believe he has the potential to be one of the best cornerbacks in football, but Jackson has been quick to remind him that he’s been playing at an average level this season. That average level was on display again Sunday as Odell Beckham Jr. hauled in six receptions on 11 targets for 96 yards and two touchdowns, doing most of his damage in the open field after the ball was caught.
Haden was frequently a step behind and no longer possesses the closing speed to keep up with a player like Beckham. I don’t know what the answer is for Joe, but after last season’s injury-riddled campagin, the Excuse Train is long gone.
WINNER: Brien Boddy-Calhoun
The touchdown catch by Dwayne Harris in the corner of the end zone was perfectly thrown and perfectly caught. The rest of BBC’s day was beyond solid as he was targeted seven times and gave up just two receptions for 37 yards (including said TD). For an added bonus, the kid added two tackles and two stops, helping out the run defense. Given what Haden did (or didn’t do) above, this was a welcomed sight.
LOSER: Alvin Bailey
Thrust into the offensive line after John Greco sustained a foot injury, Bailey was destroyed throughout the contest. He was responsible for a brutal false start penalty in the second half, and was solely to blame for Jason Pierre-Paul essentially beating McCown to the backfield on the strip-turned-touchdown.
Watch it all unfold here:
The left side of the line (also featuring an injury replacement in Spencer Drango) was actually pretty solid, all things considered. The right side, however, as atrocious. You could argue that our expectations of an injury replacement should not be too high, but you’d be yelling at clouds. This is the NFL.
WINNER: Terrelle Pryor
Pryor does things that remind you why he was largely out of the league a year ago, but quickly makes you forget them when you realize that he’s a 6-foot-6-inch pass-catching option who can toast opposing defensive backs in the open field.
All in all, the kid caught six balls for 131 yards. He had one drive-killing drop early on, but was visibly frustrated after the Jason Pierre-Paul play as his 50-yard reception set the team up beautifully while they were down just one score late in the game, so you definitely can’t knock the kid for caring.
WINNER: Corey Coleman
The kid is still a work in progress, but this route was a thing of beauty.
WINNER: Britton Colquitt
After Odell Beckham Jr. tried to celebrate a punt return, it was Colquitt who purposely bumped in to the receiver to remind him that there was a flag on the play and that the Giants’ return man was merely wasting his time. OBJ didn’t take too kindly to the gesture, making it that much better for Browns fans.