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.