The Cleveland Browns not only lost 20-13 to the Steelers in Pittsburgh, but they might have seen their playoff hopes fade away as well. It was an embarrassing loss on both sides of the ball.
Gilbert: Well, we are finally here! The rivalry is reignited with both sides going in with a lot of emotions and a lot to play for. A win by either team will keep their playoffs hopes alive, while a loss may derail their hopes. The Browns should win this game. They are facing a rookie quarterback without his two biggest offensive playmakers. Cleveland is also getting back two big keys in the defense in Olivier Vernon and Larry Ogunjobi. Those two will help the pass rush put pressure on Steelers quarterback Duck Hodges. The Steelers should have a hard time scoring today. The Browns must take care of the ball and not give Pittsburgh opportunities. The Browns will be without their left tackle Greg Robinson, so Cleveland must alleviate the stress on Justin McCray as he fills in as the starter. That means extra blockers on that side, chip blocking and fewer plays that leave him on an island for a long period of time. I think it is pretty clear. If the Browns do not kill themselves with self-inflicting wounds, they will win the game.
Gerbs: The rivalry is back! In a world where there are few actual rivalries anymore, this one Hs has fuel added onto the fire with the shenanigans two weeks ago. This is how football was meant to be played: angry. In regards to the actual game, the return of Olivier Vernon and Larry Ogunjobi from injury and suspension, respectively, will help out a defense that is missing Damarious Randall and Myles Garrett. No Greg Robinson on the offensive line will be tough for the Browns offense, but the game plan should be run run run anyway. Using play action and the RPO is what has brought the Browns of last year back. We need it to continue.
Poloha: The Browns have a chance to do something that they haven’t done since 1988: Sweep the Steelers. Given that it’s a must-win game for both teams, I truly think that Cleveland comes away with a W as long as they don’t beat themselves. Use your playmakers, don’t be stupid, and the Browns should like the result.
Gilbert: Great throw under pressure and awesome route by Landry on the first third down of the game.
Gerbs: Mixing in Kareem Hunt with Nick Chubb is super important for the offense. When the two are on the field, the Browns have rushed for an average of seven yards per carry.
Gilbert: Carlson has really popped in the last few games.
Gerbs: Carlson!!! No David Njoku yet has really allows Carlson to show out.
Gilbert: WOW. Landry makes one of the best catches this season. He extends out of bounds but keeps his feet in. Landry making another play for this offense.
Gerbs: What a catch by Jarvis Landry. If this challenge is corrected, that’s a big-time throw and catch by Baker and Juice.
Poloha: What a freaking catch by Jarvis Landry. The guy continues to be impressive.
Gerbs: HOT TAKE: Landry has arguably been the biggest addition to the Browns roster since the return.
Gerbs: Soooo did Chris Hubbard like…forget how to block? He barely touched TJ Watt on that sack on second down.
Gilbert: Well, the red zone problems have sprouted up again. The Browns did get 3, but they are still struggling to finish drives with 7 on a consistent basis. Cleveland has called a nauseating number of horizontal runs in the red zone this season. They called one on first down and lost a handful of yards. You just aren’t going to be successful enough with those runs when the box is loaded in the red zone.
Gerbs: Oh hey, our kicker is still good. I’d love to see more play-action and/or play calls to the front of the goal line in the red zone rather than pitches and rifling throws to the back of the end zone.
Gilbert: Chad Thomas! He has really stepped up so far without Garrett on the line.
Gerbs: BIG CHAD THOMAS!! What a sack! Great answer on defense for the Browns. Needed a stop, got a big one after a decent kick return by Pittsburgh.
Poloha: Chad Thomas making plays is fun.
Gerbs: What was that play call on third down? A delayed flip to Hunt behind the line of scrimmage was not a smart idea.
Gilbert: I actually do not mind that shovel pass call. The execution was horrible by the o-line. If it was executed well, I think it would have hit.
Gerbs: Holding Pittsburgh to two yards and an 11 minute to three-minute advantage in the first quarter is big. Gotta keep the pressure on the defense.
Gilbert: So far, so good for the Browns defense. They are doing what they should be doing, making Duck Hodges beat them. The defense is shutting down the running lanes and then pressuring the QB on third downs.
Gerbs: Need some points here to keep the pressure on Hodges and the Steelers offense. Would love to see more Chubb as we go, they seem to be favoring Hunt today, which is fine on third down or in-space options, but Chubb is the bell cow.
Gerbs: Oh hey, happy to see this Chubb guy getting some run. That’s 22 yards on three carries this drive. Keep feeding the big man.
Gibert: Chubb is starting to roll in this third series. Mayfield also doing a nice job with his cadence. Has drawn the Steelers offsides twice so far.
Gerbs: Is Chris Hubbard a mole? A Pittsburgh spy? Try to convince me otherwise. TJ Watt came clean again to hit Baker on that completion to Landry.
Poloha: Not blocking TJ Watt is one heckuva strategy, Browns offensive line. Luckily, Baker not only got the throw (and completion) off, but didn’t get seriously hurt either.
Poloha: Kareem Hunt running through tackles for the touchdown!
Gerbs: That’s some great play calling in the red zone finally. That corner route out of the backfield by Hunt was magical. It makes it even sweeter seethe Steelers looked defeated trying to keep him out of the end zone.
Gilbert: TD BROWNS! Great run after the catch by Kareem Hunt! Nice play call by Freddie! Chubb motioned behind Mayfield and then went out to the same side as Hunt drawing the LB and freed up Hunt for the TD pass.
Gerbs: The first play after the touchdown was a great defensive play by the Browns: Mack Wilson was the spy, came in late to disrupt Hodges, and forced him to throw a screen pass that got tipped. Just well covered. Then Wilson laid a hit on Vance McDonald on second down.
Gilbert: Greedy Williams is struggling to find the ball. He is getting beat because he does not have his eyes on the ball.
Poloha: Chad Thomas *and* Sheldon Richardson getting hurt on the same play is less than ideal. This comes just a few plays after Oliver Vernon seemed to have re-aggravated his knee injury, too.
Gerbs: A game of attrition is taking its toll on the Browns defensive line.
Poloha: The refs actually giving the Browns calls instead of the Steelers. Good times.
Gerbs: The rarely seen “false start by the quarterback” and the Steelers are doing their best Browns impression of self-sabotage.
Great job by Mayfield to avoid the rush and stay with the routes, but Higgins can't make the catch on the low pass. Needs to be a better throw but what Baker did there is a good sign the lessons he learned from his rough part of the season are still working.
— Jeff Risdon (@JeffRisdon) December 1, 2019
Gilbert: This is a big moment for the Browns. The defense must hold the Steelers from getting any points in this two-minute drive.
Gerbs: Getting a three-and-out here is vital. Cannot give the Steelers momentum going into halftime.
Gilbert: Greedy is getting picked on again.
Poloha: The Browns offense has been stagnant and the Steelers offense is heating up just before halftime. Not good.
Gerbs: Well this has been a turn of events and exactly what shouldn’t have happened if you’re Cleveland.
Gilbert: This secondary is horrible right now. When the ball is in the air, they have no idea what to do. Horrible ball skills and contesting catches.
Gerbs: What are you doing on that kickoff return??
Gerbs: This last drive of the half has been up and down: good runs by Kareem Hunt put them near half field, but two long passes by Mayfield to end the drive and maybe breaks a thumb or hand on one of them is the worst case scenario.
Poloha: Baker Mayfield hits his hand on a helmet on a pointless play. Freddie, man.
Gilbert: What a trainwreck end to the half. The Browns go up 10 and the defense is unable to sustain the lead with just horrible play by their secondary. Then to make matters worse, Mayfield leaves the half early as he bangs his hand on a Steelers defender’s helmet. After a great start to the game, the Browns ran themselves into the ground and we are now tied at 10 with everyone praying that Mayfield is alright.
Poloha: A nightmare-ish end to the first half for the Browns. My goodness. Even with the Browns offense struggling, things were still going well. Cleveland held a 10-0 lead. Then, everything seemed to have changed. It’s not only 10-10 at the half, but Baker might have suffered a significant injury to his right (throwing) hand.
Gerbs: Hello darkness my old friend. What started out as looking like a coming out party for the Browns has turned into a horrible experience all around: the defense has let Hodges back into the game and Mayfield might have broken a hand on an unnecessary pass. Notgreatbob.gif
Gerbs: If Baker can return with no injury, that’s huge.
Poloha: What’s up with the Browns cornerbacks not looking back for the ball today?
Gerbs: All of a sudden we can’t cover anyone. This is awful.
Gilbert: It is a banner day for the Browns secondary. Ward is now beat by Washington. None of the Browns DBs want to turn their head and play the ball today.
Gerbs: Holding the Steelers to three here would be huge.
Gerbs: Well, fudge.
Gilbert: This is an embarrassing showing by the secondary. The Browns are now losing to the Steelers by 7.
Gerbs: The offense has to be firing on all cylinders here or else this is going to be a long second half.
Gerbs: Thumb looks fine on that stick to Jarvis.
Gerbs: I like the decision to go for it on fourth down there. Aggressive and necessary.
Poloha: Crazy how different this game has been since the end of the first quarter.
Gerbs: Well. We are back to trying too hard Mayfield.
Gilbert: This is all falling apart quickly. The Browns defense needs to step up or this is going to get ugly. Get a freakin’ stop.
Gerbs: The Browns had the ball for 11 minutes in the first quarter and the Steelers had two yards of total offense. What happened here?
Gerbs: This defense is awful. They can not force turnovers, they have had horrendous effort on tackling all day, and the coverage in what should be a vaunted secondary has been suspect.
Gilbert: Can the Browns show some heart and force a FG here?
Gilbert: Well, they were able to hold them to 3.
Gerbs: Miraculously, Cleveland forced the Steelers to kick a field goal, are only down 10 points now.
Gilbert: This offensive line is straight trash. The Steelers are pinning their ears back and going after Mayfield.
Poloha: A big lol to the offensive line. What a joke.
Gerbs: We didn’t upgrade any position on the line over the offseason, in fact we actively made it worse. Don’t forget that.
Gilbert: HEY THE DEFENSE FORCED A PUNT!
Gerbs: When putting the ball in the hands of Jarvis Landry and Nick Chubb, good things happen.
Gerbs: As always, we went away from Chubb and Landry in the red zone and came away with nothing. Throws to the back of the end zone to tight ends for no reason. Rinse. Repeat.
Gilbert: Well, we got 3 to make it a one-possession game, but the o-line once again gave Mayfield no chance to finish off the drive with 7. We now have to rely on the Browns defense to get another stop.
Poloha: LFG! The defense finally gets a turnover. Come on, offense.
Gerbs: PICK!! Finally!!
Gilbert: We are not done yet! Duck Hodges just threw a duck gift to give the Browns life.
Gerbs: And of effing course, the offensive line gives up a sack.
Gilbert: The Browns offensive line and playcalling fumble the big opportunity away. I do like the decision to pooch punt it and not try the long FG.
Gerbs: How do you not run one simple run play on that drive?
Gilbert: The Browns may have gotten a gift with the spot on the punt.
Gerbs: Of course they give up 10 yards when the ball is on the one-yard line.
Gilbert: The Browns leave a wide-open receiver underneath on a pivotal third down. Shocking.
Gerbs: Well that was the game right there.
Gilbert: A poor tackle attempt may be the final nail in the Browns’ coffin for the game and maybe the season. Oof.
Gerbs: Anytime you can have a cornerback covering a 6-foot-4, 267-pound tight end with the game on the line, you have to do it.
Gilbert: Somehow, the Browns still have a chance with time. The Steelers for some reason threw the ball on third down and Duck threw it away to stop the clock.
Gerbs: Oh good, let’s see how it ends tonight. I cannot wait to see how we screw it up this time. 80 yards to pay dirt.
Gerbs: 60 yards to go.
Gilbert: Ball Game.
Gerbs: How can it be anyone other than Haden. Of course. How poetic. How pathetic.
Poloha: Joe Haden ends the Browns season while Cleveland’s defensive backs struggled all game. Poetic.
Gilbert: What a trainwreck loss by the Browns. They lost to Duck freakin’ Hodges. The Browns collapsed after the first quarter and could not regain their footing for the rest of the game. This all but ends the Browns’ playoff hopes. This is an entire organizational loss by Cleveland. Just awful.
Gerbs: There goes the winning streak, there go the playoff hopes. I mean sure, they could win out at 9-7 and still be in the picture, but this was a must-win game that they failed to show up for. If you can’t come to play in games like this, then you don’t deserve to make the postseason. The offensive line is a joke, the secondary got scorched by Duck Hodges, the play calling was better but still head-scratching in big spots. How the team can crumble the way they did after the first quarter is beyond me, but the head coach has to be held responsible.
Poloha: Pittsburgh finished it.