We are here with your Instant Insights and running diary of the Monday Night Football matchup between the 2-2 Cleveland Browns and the 3-0 undefeated San Francisco 49ers.
Suek: Excited for another Browns’ primetime matchup! I expect a fierce battle, especially in the trenches. The 49ers will be without starting LT Joe Staley, so there should be some adjustments along the OL to place an extra set of pads on Edge Myles Garrett. Incidentally, this should free up the likes of Larry Ogunjobi, Olivier Vernon and Sheldon Richardson to generate pressure on 49er QB Jimmy Garoppolo. Baker gains another weapon in Antonio Callaway, who is returning from a four-game suspension. Callaway led the team in average targeted air yards in 2018 (13.7), so expect some deep balls, along with the quick snap-to-throw concepts from Week 4 vs the Ravens.
Gilbert: Can’t wait for MNF! This is a great test for the Browns. I think the defense will need to create some turnovers tonight to help the offense get short fields versus this tough 49ers defense. Myles Garrett and the rush should be able to pressure the quarterback and cause Garoppolo to make mistakes. On offense, continue the success you had against the Ravens. Give the ball to Chubb and showcase innovative offensive play calling. I think the Browns win in a close battle, 24-17.
Gerbs: I try not to be a homer often, and so this week has been hard to prep for. San Francisco has looked levers bit of the 3-0 that they are, but it helps when two of your opponents are a combined 1-9 on the season (Pittsburgh and Cincinnati). It would show the world, and no better place than when you’re the only game on, that Cleveland is legit to beat the only remaining undefeated team in the NFC. I see a slug out win, 20-10 style Cleveland wins and keeps the lead in the AFC North.
Poloha: Not sure how to feel about this game. San Francisco hasn’t really played anyone yet is a perfect 3-0 and not only at home but coming off of a bye week. Then again, the Browns are hoping to keep the momentum going from last week, when they hung 40 on the Ravens in Baltimore. The stars shine brightest under the lights, it’s time for the Browns stars to do just that. Let’s do this.
Gerbs: Trickeration! An end-around to OBJ who tosses the ball effortlessly to best friend and fellow wideout Jarvis Landry on the first play of the game for a 20 yard gain.
Poloha: Some trickery on the first play of the game? Love you, Freddie. Who had OBJ throwing the first pass of the game? Cash your bets, folks.
Poloha: The offense sort of stalled after that trick play to start things off. Ricky Seals-Jones came oh so close to getting that second foot down to complete the catch and get the first down on third-and-long.
Gilbert: Well that is not the way to start the game for the defense. Giving up an untouched touchdown run on the first play of the game. Not great.
Gerbs: Yikes. Not what you want after that first drive if you’re Cleveland. An 83-yard run by Matt Brieda is a stomach punch. Is this how it feels for the opponents when Nick Chubb breaks one?
Poloha: Well, that was a disaster. Matt Breida’s 83-yard touchdown run on San Francisco’s first play of the game on offense is not good at all. For those wondering, the running back’s top speed of 23.3 miles per hour is the fastest time in the NFL so far this season. Not a single Browns defensive back was catching up to him.
Gilbert: This is the worst-case scenario start for the Browns. After the long touchdown, Mayfield throws a pick, giving the 49ers a short field to extend their lead. Freddie needs to calm down the Browns and get them focused again.
Gerbs: Double yikes.
Poloha: Worst-case scenario. Baker Mayfield follows up that long touchdown run by the 49ers by throwing an interception on the next play. Well, the only direction to go from here is up, right?
Gerbs: Tighten up the chin straps, pull the socks up and get back at it. Gotta just forget about all of these mistakes and execute the plan as best as possible.
Gilbert: Excellent play by Terrance Mitchell to knock the ball out of the receiver’s hands to force a fourth down and a punt after the turnover. Huge response by the defense. Now, give the ball to Chubb.
Gerbs: OBJ has to come up with that. It was an overthrow by Baker but OBJ had fingers on it. Keep this rhythm going.
Poloha: The fact that only a tight end — no matter who the tight end is — is forced to block Nick Bosa one-on-one is a problem.
TE Demetrius Harris just gets destroyed here by Bosa. Not an ideal blocking matchup for the Browns. pic.twitter.com/TvxmP0WzoZ
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) October 8, 2019
Gilbert: Mayfield misses a wide-open OBJ that would have had that drive off to a good start. The miss causes a three-and-out. Luckily, Jamie Gillan is the Browns punter because he flipped field position with a huge punt. Play of the game so far for the Browns.
Gerbs: Thank god for Jamie Gillan for changing the field position after that horrendous offensive drive.
Suek: Disastrous start on both sides of the ball for the Browns. The offense is out of sync, with an interception by Baker and an inaccurate throw to OBJ that would have set the tone for the drive. Defense has to tighten up the coverage, as there were multiple WRs open on the last 49ers possession. Get a three-and-out and settle in.
Poloha: At least we have the Scottish Hammer. I hoped he would be a good punter his rookie year this season but he has already exceeded expectations. The dude flips the field as good as any punter in the league.
Gerbs: Undisciplined play rears its ugly head again. A facemask penalty on Devaroe Lawrence gives the 49ers an unearned first down.
Gerbs: Great coverage by Damarious Randall to come around the back of big tight end Greg Kittle to keep a touchdown off the board on first and goal.
Poloha: The good news is that there are still over 50 minutes left in this game. The bad news is that the Browns are already down, 14-0, and have not only been completely outplayed but outcoached as well. San Francisco’s making it look easy while the Browns are out of sync and getting dominated on both sides of the ball.
Gilbert: The Browns are getting run off the field right now. Freddie, the coaches, and players must adjust or they will get blown out of this game. The offense must answer with a touchdown drive here.
Suek: Out-schemed, out-manned, and out-coached. The Browns defense has simply no answer for the Kyle Shanahan offense thus far. The offense must get some points on the board on this drive or this one has blow-out potential. Run the ball with Chubb on first down and take care of the football.
Gerbs: Nick Chubb will be the bell cow for this team. If they keep with the run and slow down this defense, they can get back into this game.
Gilbert: Mayfield again looks uncomfortable in the pocket. He scrambled when he did not have to and created the pressure. Another big turnover. This defense has to get a stop or this may be too big a deficit to overcome, even if it’s early.
Gerbs: So we are back to shuffling Mayfield. Fantastic. You can’t give the ball away if you’re Cleveland and that’s two turnovers already by Baker alone.
Suek: Baker has reverted back to the uncomfortable pocket presence we saw in Weeks 1-3 of the season. An unbelievably rough start for the second-year QB, who is now 0/4 with 0 passing yards, an interception, and a fumble. Multiple missed opportunities have been left on the field. Put some trust in your protection and get the ball to your playmakers.
Poloha: Baker looks uncomfortable in the pocket again, even worse than he did earlier in the season. He needs to be comfortable back there like he was last week in Baltimore. Also, this is the first time I’ve ever had to root against a Bosa brother. It’s not fun.
Gerbs: Great play by Mack Wilson to smoke out the tight end screen and get a tackle for a loss. Let’s keep this going.
Poloha: Hey, maybe that’s the type of momentum the Browns needed. After yet another turnover by Baker, deep in Cleveland’s own territory, the defense holds the 49ers to a field goal and Robbie Gould missed it!
Suek: Here is the offense’s chance at redemption. Come down and put some points on the board and make this a ball game. Good things happen when you step up in the pocket, 6.
Gilbert: This could be so much worse. Huge miss by Gould.
Gerbs: When in doubt, Jarvis Landry is always there for Baker. He’s been such a boon to this team and Mayfield.
Poloha: Two bad turnovers and Baker Mayfield has as many completed passes (1) as Odell Beckham Jr. Add in the fact that Baker’s completion came on the last play of the quarter and it looks even uglier. How are the Browns only down 14-0? I’ll take it.
Gerbs: Great stick by Baker to Landry on that third down. Landry is there again to be a safety valve.
Gilbert: Solid drive by the Browns to get their first points of the game and to let the defense rest. But, not getting a touchdown is not great. Nevertheless, it is a better performance by the offense. Now, can the defense show a better performance?
Gerbs: Mayfield’s issues in the red zone are going to HAVE to be a big point of change or else this season is going to continue to be disappointing.
Poloha: It’s truly incredible how dominant the Baker-led Browns were in the red zone in 2018 compared to this season. It’s polar opposite even though they added a playmaker like OBJ.
Suek: Back to the red zone woes from Weeks 1-3, as the Browns only come away with a FG on what could have been a momentum-swinging possession. We saw again a general lack of spacing on WR routes, with OBJ and Landry running into each other on third-and-goal.
Gerbs: Pressuring Garoppolo to make mistakes and stopping the run are the ways how Cleveland keeps this game in check.
Gerbs: Aaaaaand welcome to the contest Myles Garrett. Seven sacks on the season and none have been bigger than that one to stop a drive that San Fran wanted to keep going to maintain momentum.
Suek: Alright now, offense. Time to take back control of this game on the heels of a pivotal third-down sack by Myles Garrett. Gut check time.
Gilbert: Myles makes a huge play to get the ball back to the offense. This is what you want your star players to do. Make plays for a unit that is struggling.
Gerbs: All that moving of Beckham Jr around the field just paid off on that play. A fake toss to OBJ (with a great sell by Mayfield) leads to an inside give to Chubb for 34 yards. Then a short screen to Chubb puts them inside the 10-yard line again.
Suek: Just awful. Another blown opportunity in the red zone after the Callaway drop at the goal line. I’m afraid the Browns might be running out of chances tonight. The game could very easily be 14-14. Also, I’m not a fan of the continued usage of empty personnel in the red zone. It hasn’t worked yet. P.S. Why does Harris continue to get so many looks in the red zone?
Gilbert: A successful drive is soiled by mistakes. Callaway is off to a rough start. He has to make that catch and if he had, that’s a touchdown.
The book on Antonio Callaway as a prospect was supremely athletic, but you couldn't trust him on the field or off the field.
Not much as changed.
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) October 8, 2019
Gerbs: Admittedly, it wasn’t the best throw, but that turnover is on Callaway. He has to make that catch and can’t bobble it as he did. What a waste of a great drive.
Poloha: While the throw could have been much more accurate by Baker, an NFL receiver has to make that catch. Instead, Callaway bobbles it near the goal line and the Niners pick it off and then score on the following possession. Should have been 14-10 but instead, it’s 21-3. What a difference.
Poloha: You really couldn’t ask for a worse first half for Callaway, especially considering it’s his first game back following his four-game suspension.
Btw, Mayfield is 0-of-3 targeting Callaway today, with two interceptions, per @ESPNStatsInfo
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) October 8, 2019
Suek: Browns defense cannot give up a TD here. An 18-point deficit would most likely be insurmountable, especially with the lack of red-zone execution by the offense in the first half.
Gilbert: Just a horrible sequence of events by the Browns. A horrible drop that leads to an INT. Then, the Browns defense is completely plowed over by the 49ers offense. It is getting late early here.
Poloha: Rooting against a Bosa brother for the first time really, really sucks. Nick Bosa is so damn good.
Gerbs: So about San Francisco not being real… Where to begin with the awfulness? An auspicious start to the game on the first drive that had moments reflecting Weeks 1-3, not Week 4, Antonio Callaway looking like it’s his first game ever not just this season, the defense getting gashed in the run game, Baker Mayfield looking like Mike Clevinger on the mound with fastballs and happy feet. Just not what you wanna see on prime time from a team poised to make waves in the league.
Suek: The 49ers had 185 rushing yards on 14 carries in the first half. The Browns offense had three turnovers and three points off of two red-zone possessions. A completely out of sync game on both sides of the ball. The dud of all duds. The egg of all eggs.
— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) October 8, 2019
Gilbert: That was an embarrassing half of football for the Browns. The offense was filled with mistakes and bad blocking. The defense was completely dominated by the 49ers run game. The Browns are getting manhandled in the trenches on both sides of the ball. I have no idea how it is only 21-3 at the half. It should be so much worse. I just don’t know what to expect in the second half after witnessing that first one.
Poloha: Feel so deflated. The Browns are getting outplayed and outcoached. Even though it has felt like a blowout the entire game, it’s crazy to think that if Callaway would have made that catch, it’s just a four-point game. Cleveland looks completely different than they did last week. It’s time to be better. Now. This is exhausting.
Gerbs: This is exactly what the Browns cannot have happened on defense and exactly what they SHOULD be doing in offense: running the ball effectively to the outside, getting chunk plays through the air. They need stops and they are not getting them.
Poloha: So maybe it’s time for the Browns to just stop playing primetime games? This is a disaster and George Kittle was just wide open on that touchdown.
Suek: Kyle Shanahan > Steve Wilks tonight. This game is a testament to just how week-to-week NFL football is.
Gilbert: The Browns defense looked like they had no care in the world on that drive. Lack of effort allowed the 49ers to easily drive down their throat. A horrible show coming out of the half.
Poloha: 12 players on the field for a freaking extra point. That about sums up the night so far. A disaster.
Gerbs: I want OBJ to get passes as much as the next guy but pressing the ball downfield for the sake of trying to get it to OBJ is not the way to do it.
Suek: Jamie Gillan is the best player on the field for the Browns tonight. THAT kind of game…
Gilbert: This is not fun.
Antonio Callaway has played one snap since disaster struck at the goal line. And even then, it looked like Landry had to help him get lined up. I'm, uh, beginning to think his night is over.
— Jason Lloyd (@ByJasonLloyd) October 8, 2019
Gerbs: Just tackle the damn ball carrier. Good lord. Kittle might be the best tight end in the game, but TJ Carrie had him dead to right ahead of the sticks with Schobert as help and he still gets the first down.
Gilbert: This is so embarrassing. The horrible tackling is demoralizing and showing that this unit has a lack of toughness and effort in the second half. Wilks should be appalled by this effort.
Gerbs: The only good thing about this game is the fact that all this rushing by San Francisco is making the clock run. We could be done with this nightmare before midnight.
Suek: A SIGN OF LIFE! Well, kind of. A blocked FG is something to cheer about, right?
Gerbs: Oh hey, something good! A blocked attempt and a decent return by Terrence Mitchell puts Cleveland at almost midfield with the ball.
Gerbs: Oh hey, the awful offense can’t do anything! Sigh.
Suek: I’ve had more fun watching House Hunters.
Gerbs: I could be sleeping. I should be sleeping. Why do we enjoy sports?
Gerbs: If I thought anyone was actually coaching properly, I would be somewhat excited about the fact that Juszcyzk is off the field, forcing the Niners into 11 personnel. Alas my pleas will go answered, like shouting into the void.
Gilbert: The offense has regressed to its Week 1-3 form. Where did last week’s team go?
Suek: Baker Mayfield currently has more incompletions (14) than Nick Chubb has carries (12). So, we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.
Gerbs: You know what’s going to be so maddening? When the Cleveland team that played so well against Baltimore shows up next week against Seattle and we end up talking ourselves into this team being good going into the bye week at 3-3.
Suek: Would be nice to see some sort of life from the offense here. Give us something to build on. With that said, I expect a three-and-out, with multiple penalties and miscommunication.
Gerbs: If John Dorsey wants to earn back any kind of trust or hope with Browns fans, he’s on the phone with Bruce Allen and offering two firsts for Trent Williams and not hanging up until they secure the left tackle. Oh and Antonio Callaway can find his own way home.
Suek: Greg Robinson might have a 0.0 PFF grade. Rookie Edge Nick Bosa has absolutely dominated the reclamation LT project.
Gerbs: It’s astonishing how bad this team looks after looking so dominant in Baltimore.
Gerbs: Larry Ogunjobi made a great tackle on second down on that drive. At this point anything positive needs to be identified so we can have some semblance of reason to be watching still.
Gerbs: Are you even kidding me. Why. Why the hell are you doing this? I get the idea is to try to make something happen and I have to admire the drive to not give up, but there’s being tricky and being stupid. And that was stupid.
Gilbert: Why was OBJ returning a punt when the Browns were down 28-3? Yeah, that OBJ fumble sums up the game perfectly.
Gerbs: It’s crazy to think how different this game would be if Callaway caught the TD or if it was someone else who wasn’t fresh off a suspension making the attempt.
Gerbs: This game is so bad they aren’t risking Mayfield’s health by continuing to play. Garrett Gilbert is now in at quarterback.
Gilbert: This was a complete domination by the 49ers. The Browns were run off the field on both sides of the field. The trenches were won easily by the 49ers, both on offense and defense. Mistakes on offense, blocking and the return of the Week 1-3 offense derailed the success of the unit. On defense, the Browns were pillaged by the 49ers run game. Freddie Kitchens was outcoached by Kyle Shanahan. It was a pitiful and embarrassing performance by the Browns in every facet of the game. They a huge opportunity to get above .500 and they punted it away. It is such a disheartening loss. This Seattle game will be another big test for the Browns and who they are as a team.
Poloha: Was so excited prior to this game given how the Browns played last week in Baltimore. To say that the Browns were horrible and utterly embarrassing tonight would probably be an understatement. The Niners are clearly the real deal. Their defensive line is so damn good. Now they have the Seahawks and Patriots the next two games. I’m just curious where all the playcalling from last week went. It disappeared. Then again, the offensive line didn’t help. Let’s just throw this tape away. Onto next week.
Gerbs: I just…don’t get how you can look like a playoff team one week and then give a crappy portrayal of a Division III FCS team the next. I really thought Kitchens was going to be the one to lead us to the promised land, and it’s only five games into his tenure, but he’s far too often looked outmatched and like he has no connection with this team and roster. Any and all preparations that should have been made were not and this team is absolutely lost. At least until next week when every pundit starts burying them again and they play with that underdog mentality and whitewash Seattle, because you know that’s what is going to happen.