Suek: The 2-6 Cleveland Browns are seeking their first home win of the season today vs. the (surprisingly) 6-2 Buffalo Bills. It will be a battle of two quarterbacks from the 2018 draft class in Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield and Bills quarterback Josh Allen. As mentioned in this week’s Deep Coverage, Allen has struggled mightily vs. pressure this season. The Browns defense should bring the heat all afternoon and force the quarterback to make errant throws over and over. As for the offense, it’s a simple formula:
Allowed 3rd lowest passer rating/passing yards per game.
Chubb/Hunt all. Damn. Day.
— Cody Suek (@WFNYCody) November 10, 2019
I look forward to a competitive game that, hopefully, results in a Browns win and sets the tone for the second half of the season.
Gilbert: It’s time for the Browns to get some home-cookin’ and get their first home W of the season. As everyone has stated about this game, the Browns need to run the ball well and stop the Bills run game. If they can do that, I think we will see a win today. But, the offense also has to take more shots. Utilize the play-action pass game to see if you can get a couple of deep passes. The Bills will be looking for the run, so Baker Mayfield will need to make big plays with his arm. On defense, the Browns must make Josh Allen beat them with his arm. They need to pressure him into mistakes. I think the Browns get the win today.
Suek: A surprise inactive for the Browns at wide receiver. Could it be Rashard Higgins time?1
#Browns inactives today – a surprise:
WR Taywan Taylor
WR Antonio Callaway
S Eric Murray
CB Robert Jackson
DE Olivier Vernon
T Kendall Lamm
TE Ricky Seals-Jones
Chad Thomas is expected to start in place of Vernon.
— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) November 10, 2019
Gerbs: It’s hard to get a read on this game. We all know the Browns are more talented than their record and the Bills have faced the equivalent of a Power 5 out-of-conference schedule. Is this the week that Kitchens puts it together and finally relies on his running back(s)? Does the defense take advantage of a mistake-prone Josh Allen? Or do we see more the same from October where the team just looks…off? Who knows. Let’s just get back in the win column.
Poloha: The Bills are 6-2 but haven’t really beaten anyone that good. There’s a reason the Browns are still favored at home even though they have been a major disappointment the first half of the season. Let’s do this.
Gerbs: Aaaaaaand a long incompletion to Odell Beckham Jr. on the first play of the game. Super. A 21-yard run by Nick Chubb on second down shows what they need to do here.
Gerbs: This is looking like a real offense so far, even with only the one Chubb run. A screen to Kareem Hunt gets him in space, three completions to Jarvis Landry, one for a touchdown. Keeps the defense on its heels, let’s get after it.
Gilbert: WOW what a great drive by the Browns. That was the play calling I was expecting coming into the season.
Gerbs: Landry jaws at cornerback Levi Wallace and gets a taunting penalty that costs Cleveland a point as Austin Seibert misses the extra point right after Buffalo elects to put the yardage on the extra point try. As always, one step forward, one step back.
Suek: That was the offense we’ve been looking for this whole season. Best drive of 2019, which was unfortunately overshadowed by an unsportsmanlike penalty on wide receiver Jarvis Landry after the touchdown reception. Keep your heads, fellas.
Poloha: The Browns looking like a real offense on the first drive. I’ve seen this before. Also, Jarvis Landry needs to be better than that. Love the fact that he scored the touchdown but why is he taunting so much? That unsportsmanlike penalty cost the Browns one point on the extra point. Here’s to hoping yet another self-inflicted penalty doesn’t cost the Browns in the end.
Gerbs: By the way, these are my favorite jerseys, the browns tops, orange pants with white outlines.
Poloha: That was Baker’s first first-quarter touchdown since September. Unreal.
Gerbs: Buffalo has six yards of offense on its first drive but ends up past midfield with a pass interference call on Ward, the 77th penalty on the Browns on the season.
Poloha: With that defensive pass interference penalty on Denzel Ward, the Browns have already racked up 50 yards in penalties in the first three minutes of the game. Fun.
Gilbert: The Browns defense was saved on their opening series because Josh Allen was not accurate.
Suek: Big stop on fourth down by the Browns defense after a defensive pass interference penalty on cornerback Denzel Ward that set up the offense with great field position. Time to keep the momentum and put some more points on the board.
Gerbs: When everything is a big drive, nothing is a big drive, but let’s see Kitchens and Baker keep the offense rolling like it was on the first drive of the game.
Poloha: Second-and-1 and third-and-1 and Baker throws two incomplete passes. If only the Browns had a legitimate running back. They got the first down on a fourth-and-1 completion to Demetrius Harris, but still, just feed Chubb, please.
Gerbs: Kitchens bailed out on fourth down by a good catch and run to Demetrius Harris. Why no Chubb or Hunt on short yardage? He just showed some huge strength on that 24 yard rush on first down.
Gerbs: More confusing playcalling. Why a pitch on the one? Chubb just drug 13 Bills for 24 yards. Give it to him on a dive.
Poloha: OBJ just had three red-zone targets on that drive. He had only had three total the first eight games of the season.
Gerbs: What a crapfest that was. Eight plays from the one-yard line and no points because Kitchens would rather throw fades to OBJ and pitches instead of bringing in the big package and pound the ball with one of the best between the tackle rushers in football.
Poloha: Eight plays from inside the two-yard line and the Browns are held scoreless after being stuffed on fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line. It’s just laughable at this point.
Suek: Red zone woes show up yet again. A remarkable possession turns into zero points after Chubb continuously got stuffed at the line and OBJ couldn’t haul in three targets. Right players being utilized, but a lack of execution.
Gilbert: Boy that red-zone trip was rough to watch. Freddie forgot all of his good play calls in that sequence.
Gerbs: A good defensive stand and field position should be in the Browns favor here, except Dontrelle Hilliard fumbles the punt and recovers it at his own 25.
Gerbs: The quarter ends on a third-down route by Hunt short of the first down line. Not sure how or why you run a route that is short of the first down.
#Browns A dominant first quarter on both sides of the ball that is not reflected on the scoreboard.
Eight plays in the red zone with zero points is rough, but par for the course this season.
Continue the “21 personnel” with Hunt in lead block/FB role and all will be fine.
— Cody Suek (@WFNYCody) November 10, 2019
Gilbert: Sorry pitching the ball (horizontal runs) on the goal line multiple times, running in condensed formations and running the same play multiple times does not let Freddie off the hook for that goal-line mishap. Yes, the o-line was horrible along with the execution, but the play calling was not good either.
Gerbs: I’m not sure I like Mack Wilson linebacker covering Cole Beasley wide receiver. The play led to a Josh Allen first down as nobody was covering the middle of the field. Just seems like a mismatch that will continue to get blown up.
Poloha: I want the Bills red-zone offense. That’s all.
Gerbs: Just an awful defensive play call on that Josh Allen touchdown. I don’t know how you don’t have a spy linebacker following Allen at all times.
Gilbert: You HAVE to account for Josh Allen’s running. That was a bad defensive series to give up the lead.
Suek: The QB keeper by Josh Allen out of the empty backfield set was glaringly obvious. Why not call a timeout or make the necessary defensive adjustments when you know it’s coming? Unbelievably frustrating.
Gerbs: Just a Nick Chubb appreciation post. Already over 70 yards on the day with eight minutes to go in the second quarter.
Gerbs: This is the closest facsimile of last year’s offense we have seen: a lot but not enough of Nick Chubb, tons of Jarvis Landry, and some decent packages to create space. But where is Higgins? OBJ only has one catch despite being targeted six times (two were DPI calls).
Gerbs: More issues in the red zone. Rinse. Repeat. I like the cajones of wanting to go for it on fourth-and-goal but Kitchens is almost saved from himself by a Chris Hubbard false start to push them back into field goal range for the lead.
Pull it together, gentlemen.
— Cody Suek (@WFNYCody) November 10, 2019
Gilbert: That false start saved the Browns from getting nothing out of that drive. Yet, another painful red zone trip. Can the Browns actually call a downhill run rather these freakin’ pitches?
Poloha: It really is just incredible how bad the Browns offense is when they are close to the end zone. Thirteen goal-to-go plays already in this game and just three points to show for it. Also, back-to-back 14-play and 13-play drives and just a field goal to show for it.
The Cleveland Browns are winning a home game and the hostility in this stadium is palpable. These fans are ready to light the torches and burn the fields. And I repeat, the Browns are winning. (For now.) What a year.
— Jason Lloyd (@ByJasonLloyd) November 10, 2019
Gerbs: That should be a sack and a fumble for Myles Garrett, not an incomplete pass. His arm is moving forward by the momentum of the massive human hitting him from behind.
Gerbs: Now THAT is an incomplete pass. Nice to see Garrett doing some things here with Olivier Vernon out.
Gerbs: I don’t know if I’ve ever felt as bad as I do with a halftime lead as I do in this game. There’s no NFL team that is as inept in the red zone as Cleveland, which is remarkable considering Chubb, Mayfield, OBJ, even Kareem Hunt are members of that offense. Moving the ball up and down the field as easily as they have, this game should be a 21-7 blowout at the half, instead, we are looking at a two-point lead. I ask again, where is Rashard Higgins?2
Gilbert: This is another half where we go in saying the Browns should be up far more than what the score is saying. The red zone is a mess for the Browns. They just lose all their bearings when they reach that part of the field. Let’s see what the second half gives us.
Poloha: The Browns have a 9-7 lead at halftime and I feel like they haven’t played well whatsoever. Much of that is due to their inability to score a touchdown inside the three-yard line but there’s just something about this game that feels strange. I’ll take the two-point lead, but something seems off. Let’s win this thing in the second half, Browns.
#Browns Some key first-half stats:
Baker- 13/20, 124 yards and 1 TD
Chubb- 14 carries for 82 yards
Landry- 6 receptions for 64 yards and 1 TD
Red zone- 3 trips, 9 points (bold, underscore, italicize).
9-7 lead that feels…meh.
— Cody Suek (@WFNYCody) November 10, 2019
Gerbs: I have been impressed with the play of the defense thus far for Cleveland. Only 55 yards rushing at the half when that’s normally a quarter total. The passes Allen has completed, nine-for-19, have come on zone coverages that Cleveland was just out of place in.
Suek: Can someone on the defense make a tackle, please? Multiple players are at the point of attack and it doesn’t seem to matter. Three or four-yard carries continue to go for first downs over and over again,
Gerbs: Yeah, my praise of the defense is almost instantaneously null and void. Defensive tackles should be able to bring down running backs like Singletary when they run up the middle.
Suek: THAT’S WHAT THEY CALL A SACK! Great to see the defense get off the field on the first possession of the second half. Now, the offense needs to continue to move the ball and put points (maybe touchdowns?!) on the board. It’s time for the scoreboard to reflect the performance.
Gilbert: Huge play by the defense to get the sack and get the offense the ball back.
Gerbs: A bad looking play from the get, with multiple players moving and nobody seeming to be set, leads to a sack and a safety. Just horrible. Tie game.
Gilbert: Empty set in the freakin’ end zone?!!!! Has Freddie not seen this team play. They have been horrible out of it and it puts so much pressure on the bad o-line. Inexcusable by Freddie.
Gerbs: Fire Kitchens into the sun.
Poloha: A three-RB formation motioning into an empty set with a dismal offensive line at your own five-yard line. What in the hell are you doing, Freddie? Baker missed a clear blitz and even an open receiver, but Freddie can’t be putting him in those situations. Be better, please.
Suek: I have this really life-altering idea for Steve Wilks and the defense: stop giving Allen a clean pocket on every throw! He’s sitting back there with all the time in the world to find an open receiver. Despicable.
Gerbs: Tre’Davius White has been playing Beckham Jr at least 10 yards off the line of scrimmage the whole game outside of the red zone. Why they haven’t been exploiting that with crosses and quick slants is beyond me.
Suek: Would you look at that: Higgins sees the field and makes a key block on the first down reception for Kareem Hunt. Keep him on the field, Freddie.
Gerbs: Higgins is alive!
Gilbert: That was a nice drive after the safety. Hunt is playing really well today. I hope we see more of him and Chubb on the field at the same time.
Gerbs: Oh hey, our kicker is still really good. Didn’t expect to be back to the Phil Dawson era: if we didn’t have him, we would have no points at all.
Gerbs: There’s the shot in the foot. Larry Ogunjobi gets called for roughing the passer on a shot downfield by Allen that was overthrown by 10 yards. Nothing like self-inflicted injuries to keep opponent drives alive.
Poloha: The Browns stopped the Bills on fourth down but the fact that Freddie wasted yet another timeout with three seconds left in the third quarter is laughable. It was pretty clear that Buffalo was just going to let the third-quarter clock expire.
Gerbs: Don’t let the fact that Buffalo missed on that fourth-and-4 deter you from the fact that we never should have called the timeout to stop the clock with three seconds left before the quarter ended.
Suek: Freddie Kitchens continues to be the best situational coach in the National Football League….
Gilbert: A TD can put this away after the Browns defense got the big stop on fourth down.
Gilbert: Or go 3-and-out.
Gerbs: With the Browns having the ball for two-thirds of this contest and only a three-point lead to show for it, therein lies your issues with the coaching staff.
Suek: Six negative-yardage plays for this offense today. You love to see it.
Gerbs: This defense should have a lot of questions for the offense if they lose this game.
Suek: Chad Thomas sighting!
Gilbert: The Browns pass rush is really affecting Allen. Please Browns, put this game away here with a TD!
Gerbs: Feed Chubb and Hunt and Landry. Let’s go Baker.
Gerbs: Aaaaaaand we are back to the launch-it-deep offense. A first down stick to Landry is followed by a rush, a heave downfield to OBJ into double coverage, and a coverage sack of Mayfield. Half legitimate question: Does Kitchens have short-term memory issues? Did he forget what worked in the first half?
Gilbert: The Browns just keep giving the Bills a chance. Now the Bills have good field position.
Gerbs: Giving any NFL QB seven seconds of clean pocket will lead to mostly good things. You have to get after Allen. The game is on the line.
Suek: Allen continuously dominating vs. four-man pressure. Defensive backs can only hold coverage for so long.
Gerbs: I didn’t expect a win today. To lose in this fashion is just a kick in the pants. How this organization continues to have fans is beyond me.
Gerbs: In an attempt to be positive, if they run an offense as they did in the first half, this game should/could be within reach. 5:26 left in the game with two timeouts, end the game in the endzone and you are a victor.
Gilbert: That’s a forward pass but oof that play call.
Gerbs: How. Just how. What. How. Regardless of whether it’s a forward pass or not, how is that your play call?
Gerbs: DO YOU SEE THE GOOD THINGS THAT HAPPEN WHEN YOU RUN NICK CHUBB??
Suek: That missed extra point after Landry’s unsportsmanlike penalty is looking really important right now…It’s a shame this team is so undisciplined.
Poloha: Clock management continues to be a major issue for Freddie.
Gerbs: JUICE! Landry has been the best receiver the entire game and that’s a big time pitch-and-catch.
Gilbert: That was a helluva throw and catch. Good play call too.
Suek: Close your eyes, the Browns are in the red zone.
Poloha: Crazy what happens when you actually give Rashard Higgins an opportunity to make a play.
Gerbs: HIGGINS!! HE LIVES!!
#Browns THAT’S WHY YOU PLAY RASHARD HIGGINS!!!
— Cody Suek (@WFNYCody) November 10, 2019
P.S. I just sprinted across my living room.
Gerbs: Cody, I did the same and hit our pocket door frame and a piece of wood fell out.
Poloha: [Looks at Cody’s comment above and hopes he didn’t run through a wall or break anything.]
Gerbs: Keep all plays in front of you, Browns defenders.
Gerbs: Well not that much, Browns defenders.
Gerbs: Hauschka missed going this way earlier in the game.
Gilbert: He missed it! Browns are winners!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Gerbs: WE DIDNT SCREW IT UP!!!
Poloha: The Browns won a home game. It is possible!
Gilbert: Well it wasn’t pretty, but boy did the Browns need this win. Great drive to win this game. Let’s make this win the starting point for a great second half!
Suek: I would like to formally apologize to my neighbors for the screaming. What a game. Could this be season-changing?
Poloha: A win is a win, but man, that was ugly at times. I’ll take the W though. Now let’s go beat the Steelers on a short week.
Gerbs: The way the team played should be commended. The game the coach called should get him fired. But alas, an ugly win is still a win.