The Cleveland Browns Progress Report took some time off during the bye week to rest and recuperate, but we are now ready to dominate the last quarter of the season. The actual Cleveland Browns may not be so prepared, but we’ll see which of their players are up for the challenge.
The Browns showed some life against the New York Giants two Sundays ago, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a solid performance from quarterback Eli Manning. The Giants’ veteran gunslinger only threw for 194 yards, but he also only threw 27 passes. Two of those passes went for touchdowns and none of them were caught by the Browns. Manning also threw the ball away when necessary, avoiding a couple of sacks in the process.
The Browns’ defense was almost adequate in Week 12. Backup outside linebacker Corey Lemonier tallied the only sack on the day for the Browns, but they did manage to reach league average with four tackles in the backfield. One and a half of those tackles for loss came from Christian Kirksey, who had a very respectable effort and led the team with eleven tackles. The numbers seemed to back up what we were seeing on the field as it seemed like Ray Horton unleashed Kirksey to make plays from sideline to sideline, as well as in the backfield.
Briean Boddy-Calhoun had another excellent effort and is showing that he is the best cornerback on the roster. That’s a terrifying statement given that Joe Haden is healthy and played in this game. Boddy-Calhoun swatted down two passes and took down a Giant behind the line of scrimmage. Haden only registered two tackles and one pass defensed on the day. Opposing quarterbacks are not afraid to throw at him.
QB Hits: 4
Tackles for loss: 4
Passes Defensed: 5
Week 12 PRESSURE Grade: 2 (out of 5)
GETTING OFF THE FIELD
It has been a very rare occurrence this season, but the Cleveland Browns actually won the time of possession battle in Week 12 and did so handily. The Browns did manage to force Bobby Rainey to fumble the ball, but they committed three turnovers of their own to negate the positive. I suppose none of us are surprised that it was a former Brown who committed the only turnover of the day for the Giants.
Third and Fourth Down Conversion Percentage: 31 percent
Potential Takeaways: 1
Opponent Time of Possession: 26:09 (out of 60:00)
Week 12 GETTING OFF THE FIELD Grade: 3
Terrelle Pryor reminded us all why the Browns need to pay him this offseason. He caught a 54 yard bomb from Josh McCown, which was one of the few electric plays that were gifted by the quarterback. Pryor put up 131 receiving yards on six catches and could have done much more damage if McCown had throw more accurate balls.
Once again the running game was completely stymied with both Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson putting up only 2.8 yards per carry. Opposing defensive coordinators do not believe that Josh McCown will beat them, so they are happy to leave extra players in the box to shut down the run. This would be the one benefit to starting Robert Griffin III in Week 14. His accuracy with the deep ball should force the safeties to stay deep and allow the running backs some more room to maneuver.
Plays of 20-plus Yards: 4
Red Zone Conversion Percentage: 33
Yards/Run Play: 2.8
Yards/Pass Plays: 5.6
Week 12 PLAYMAKERS Grade: 2
Hello darkness, my old friend. The pass rush and negative yardage that opposing defenses are putting up on the Browns appear as astronomical numbers every single week. Eight sacks by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Seven sacks by the New York Giants. Jason Pierre-Paul had more sacks than fingers on his right hand. You have to give the guy some serious credit for that.
Josh McCown is well known for helping to create these sack totals by holding on to the ball too long, but he also has an offensive line who can’t stop anyone. It’s a horrible and deadly combination, and I mean this literally as we’ve seen too many concussions and injuries arise from the poor play this season.
It doesn’t seem like the offensive line will get any better before the end of the year, so if RG3 plays on Sunday, he had better expect to get hit a ton.
Opponent Sacks: 7
Opponent QB Hits: 11
Opponent Tackles for Loss: 11
Week 12 PROTECTION Grade: 1
I thought the performance from the Browns was better last Sunday, andthat showed up in the numbers this week. The defense took a very small step forward, and we’re seeing Briean Boddy-Calhoun make a case for being paid this summer. He certainly has that swagger that you want in your cornerbacks, but we’ll see how he performs over the last four games before dubbing him the heir apparent at the top cornerback spot. Chris Kirksey is also showing that he’ll be a major factor moving forward along with Danny Shelton.
The rookies didn’t show up in Week 12. Emmanuel Ogbah and Carl Nassib were both quiet. Derrick Kindred was not noticable. Spencer Drango had a mediocre performance. Corey Coleman was like some burning tinder that was never able to get a campfire started. We really need to see more from these guys.
Josh McCown has been an absolute nightmare in the games where he has stepped in as the starter. It’s time for a change. We might as well roll the dice with Robert Griffin III again and see what happens.