Welcome a new season of Browns football! In an effort to give you more of our voices and in-game insights, this is how we will be covering games for this season. This one…was not pretty…in the slightest. But starting the game was fun! So let’s dig in as we go back over the game with our WFNY Instant Insights.
Gerbs: The first drive started out rough, a deflected pass on first down, has smoothed out with first downs on the following four plays.
Gerbs: And just like we all expected, Dontrelle Hilliard goes in for the touchdown!
Suek: Higgins with two clutch first-down catches on that opening drive. Going to be such a pivotal facet of this offense.
Poloha: What a freaking start. After what could have been a disastrous start to the game with Baker almost throwing an interception on the first play of the game, the only thing that could hold the Browns offense back on the first drive was a bogus personal foul flag that was thrown on a blind-side block. If that’s being called, screens are going to be nonexistent sooner rather than later. But what a first drive. The offensive line looked good, Baker was accurate, he got all the receivers involved. Then Austin Seibert happened, but we won’t talk about that.
Suek: Just a note on the current crowd pulse: No one in the lower bowl has sat down yet with 7:24 left in the first quarter.
Gerbs: Pass rush does not seem to the issue, but Denzel Ward seems to have lost the receiver as he allows AJ Brown to get past him and can’t bring him down for a 47-yard gain.
Poloha: Just starting kneeing the ball on every kickoff and start the drive at the 25-yard line, please. These penalties, man.
Gerbs: 2nd Down and 10 on the second drive, the Titans D gets some good push despite a good block from Nick Chubb and Baker gets sacked. A defensive hold washes it away.
Poloha: Well, after dominating the line of scrimmage on the first drive, the Browns offensive line looked absolutely horrible on their second drive.
Gerbs: If you weren’t worried about the offensive line, you are now. A sack and strip of Baker gets the ball down on the 1.
We joke about running the football, but the Browns would be wise to establish some of that. It can help, ya know.
— Jake Burns (@jake_burns18) September 8, 2019
Gerbs: From Jake’s lips to Freddie’s ears: two rushes out of the first three plays in this third drive to end the quarter. Getting Chubb some run will be important as it sets up play-action and allows for the offense to wear down the Titans defenders.
Gerbs: The end of the first quarter and the Browns have dominated in most aspects: passing yards, time of possession, first downs (8-2!)
Suek: A lot of variable personnel packages utilized in the first quarter, as expected with Kitchens and Monken. Empty sets, single-set back 10 personnel, and 11 personnel among others.
Gerbs: Browns hype is great, but a punch by Myles Garrett to the face of Delanie Walker who had him tied up after the play gives the Titans an unearned first down. Keep the intensity, just not the venom.
Poloha: Four personal foul penalties for the Browns in the first 16 minutes of the game. That’s unacceptable.
#Browns have been flagged 6 times for 76 yards. Not optimal.
— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) September 8, 2019
Gerbs: Penalties are keeping the Browns from fully dominating this game.
Poloha: The Browns defense just gift-wrapped the Titans their first touchdown with all those penalties. So undisciplined.
Suek: Key stat thus far with 9:39 left in the second quarter- Browns have seven penalties for 81 yards, including four personal fouls and offsides that have given the Titans first downs
Poloha Second-and-1 and third-and-1 and the Browns throw the ball twice, both incomplete. C’mon now.
Gerbs: the Titans have had a lot of success running the ball outside, taking advantage of the aggressiveness of the Browns defensive line. On top of the penalties, Cleveland needs to dial it back a bit. (As I type this, Morgan Burnett comes untouched to the QB, forcing a 3rd and 11, and I look like an idiot).
Gerbs: 5 minutes left in the first half and a kick to the face of a Titan by Greg Robinson leads to Cleveland losing its left tackle for a game. Just completely unacceptable coupled with the personal fouls.
Poloha: Grow up, Greg Robinson.
Gerbs: Failing to help out in any way to shore up the offensive line might have been one of the biggest misgivings of the Browns offseason.
Poloha: Browns allow a safety. Everything is fine
Gerbs: Just always run the two-minute offense.
Gerbs: After a killer opening drive that day Mayfield only goes to one second down on the way to a Hilliard TD run, the wheels came off the bandwagon. Ten penalties for 107 yards have killed any kind of momentum that the team had, calling back chunk plays on offense as well as negating good plays on defense. Boo birds are out in force for the Browns fans that were expecting a different team than the same old undisciplined team we have seen.
Suek: At the end of the first half, the Browns have more penalty yards (107) than the Titans have in total rushing or passing yards (singularly). The nearly worst-case scenario of a first half with undisciplined penalties, dropped passes, down to the third LT, and Njoku evaluated for a concussion. I expect (and hope) for a different team in the second half.
Dave: I think a punch in the mouth is something this team needed after reading their own headlines. Now it’s up to Freddie to get them to be more disciplined and realize that the NFL is hard.
Poloha: The Browns offense looked spectacular on their first drive and then looked nothing even similar to that the rest of the first half. That, combined with penalties on both sides of the ball, and it’s just not good. Luckily, there are two halves.
Start of the Second Half
Gerbs: A giant gain again by rookie A.J. Brown’s on the first play of the half makes it so that almost dropback has to be a sack if Cleveland wants to have a shot.
Suek: With 8:23 left in the third quarter, the Browns are now 0-for-6 on third downs.
Gerbs: Big 3-and-out tackle by Christian Kirksey with just over six minutes left in the third. Pinch them down deep in their territory and try for a good solid drive.
Gerbs: What we have been waiting for: a few great passes to Jarvis Landry for first downs, one for 23, one for 34, then a hitch route at the goal line to tight end David Njoku. The extra point puts them down two with 2:10 to play in the third quarter.
Suek: That drive was all Baker Mayfield, who has completed all ten of his last ten pass attempts.
Poloha: What a drive by Baker and company even with all those penalties (again). Perfect play calls and with OBJ being double-covered on the goal line, David Njoku just boxes out the cornerback for an easy touchdown.
Poloha: Well, that’s not what the Browns needed. Derrick Henry just caught a 75-yard touchdown pass on the first play after Cleveland scored a touchdown. Wow.
Gerbs: After the Henry TD, the Browns have gone no-huddle on offense and it seems to be just what the doctor ordered.
Gerbs: Aaaaaand Baker throws an interception. A misthrow behind the receiver, right into the hands of the safety Byard.
Poloha: Titans score a touchdown following Baker’s interception. That’s deflating.
Gerbs: Another Baker pick, another Titans TD. Just super disappointing after all the preseason hype.
Poloha: Is this a nightmare?
Poloha: Well, at least it’s a 16-game regular season. I really don’t have anything else to say. I’m more in shock than anything. I don’t want to overreact after just one week of football, but this was a horrible game for the Browns on all sides of the football. Onto Week 2.
Gerbs: The only good that can come from this game is the thought that it can only get better. Mayfield looked decent early on and the offense was as good as advertised. That was the highlight of a game in which Cleveland committed the second-most penalties in franchise history, had more penalty yards than rushing, one more first down than penalty committed. Baker threw three interceptions due to shoddy protection, made worse with the Greb Robinson ejection and subsequent Kendall Lamm injury. This is the bottom of the football world, somewhere we all should be used to, but unfamiliar all the same.
Suek: That game will either amplify or completely deflate the team. Interested to see how they bounce back vs the Jets in prime time.