The Cleveland Browns were trampled by the Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 37-21, in a game that never seemed within reach. And however predictable that may have been, the fact that we could see it coming didn’t make it any more digestible unless you were smart enough to turn off the TV and get some yard work done in the second half. Unfortunately for me, my yard remains unkempt, and I’m here to conduct the autopsy of yet another Browns loss.
Let’s do this Clint Eastwood style.
The Good –
On the offensive side, the Browns showed significant progress thanks to new Browns offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens’ adjustments in both scheme and play calling (though admittedly it was far from perfect – baby steps, my friends). The Browns featured more shotgun and play action, as well as better down and distance play calling. Chubb continued to exhibit strong instincts and running ability and Duke Johnson was effectively utilized for the first time all season, finishing with 10 touches for 86 yards and two touchdowns. Mayfield had one of the better statistical games in his young career despite being baited into a late interception.
The Bad –
The Browns failed to cover running back screens and tight ends to the tune of 218 yards and 3 TD’s. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw for 375 yards and 3 touchdowns in what was easily the best game of the season by an opposing quarterback versus the Browns defense, foiling most of the Browns attempts to pressure or sack him on the way to the Chiefs’ eighth victory of the season. He was as impressive as he has been all season and was seemingly unaffected by Browns Interim Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams’ game plan. Though the Browns lost cornerback Denzel Ward early to a hip injury, it is difficult to imagine him altering the results of this game given where Kansas City did the majority of it’s damage. This Kansas City team, despite its warts, is a real Super Bowl contender.
The Ugly –
The Browns special teams continued their scorched earth campaign towards a historically poor season, adding a blocked punt to their infamous resume today. For a team starving for any advantage it could muster, Hue served us Amos. Thanks Hue.
Summary – The Browns are in danger of spiraling in this lost season, and with a schedule that has no intention of easing up, Gregg Williams must dig deep and find a way to keep this young team engaged and progressing if even at the most basic of levels. The Browns cannot afford seven more games of hopeless football. An improving Atlanta team comes to Cleveland next week, in a game that may be among the most winnable left on the season. There were silver linings on offense today and reason to hope at least for continued development over the next 7 games. Denzel Ward’s hip injury remains up in the air however and looms large in looking forward to the schedule in search of wins. For today at least, January relief seems a long ways off.