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Cleveland Browns Week Seven: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
The Cleveland Browns have definitely reached a low point in the season. In what was expected to be a difficult game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, Cleveland was all but out of the game by the end of the first quarter. Talks of benching Brandon Weeden have gone to demanding Cleveland start Jason Campbell and sign a free agent quarterback. Keep in mind this is Week Seven of the NFL season. Here is a quick look at the good, the bad and the ugly from the Browns 31-13 loss to the Packers this past Sunday.
Despite giving up a touchdown, Joe Haden played well against Jordy Nelson. Against Nelson, Haden allowed four catches on five passes into his coverage, but Nelson only managed 29 yards and five yards after the catch. For the day, Haden allowed five receptions on six targets for 34 yards. He did not break up any passes and did give up a short touchdown to Nelson, but considering the Packers wide out was averaging almost 97 yards per game coming into play, it was a good day for Haden.
While Weeden has gotten and will continue to get the brunt of the criticism (and rightfully so), the team as a whole played extremely poor against a very good Packers team.
Offensively, the Browns only managed 216 total yards of offense. While this is in large part thanks to Weeden, the ground game failed to make any real contributions (21 carries and 63 yards from running backs) and the offensive line surrendered 14 total QB pressures to a defense missing their top pass rusher, Clay Matthews III (as well as several other linebackers). The receivers, while limited by Weeden’s ineffectiveness, dropped six passes. Josh Gordon was almost nonexistent and played his worst game of the season, of course aided by a struggling quarterback.
While defensively the Browns may have done all they could to keep Aaron Rodgers and company in check, they failed to do the things that have gained them notoriety this season. The Browns only sacked Rodgers one time and it wasn’t done by anybody in the front seven (Chris Owens was credited with a sack). The front seven only generated 15 quarterback pressures (defense totaled 17 on the day) and only got three hits on Rodgers aside from the sack. Outside of Haden, coverage was an issue. After three good games, Buster Skrine allowed 63 receiving yards on three receptions (four targets) including 33 yards after the catch. The Browns defense also allowed the Packers to convert on 7-of-13 third down opportunities as the middle of the defense continued to allow large chunks of yards.
Weeden was terrible and looks to be getting worse. The Packers defense is near the bottom in the league in passing yards allowed, yet he only managed 149 passing yards and completed only 40 percent of his passes (17-of-42). Yes, his receivers dropped six passes, that doesn’t excuse poor decision making and a regression in his ability to read defenses (not that he was doing a good job of that anyway). Weeden is essentially doing the same things now that he did in his rookie season. To cap it all off, Weeden once again executed an underhand shovel pass while under pressure. Fortunately this one wasn’t intercepted.
Craig Robertson continues to be a liability in pass coverage. He allowed every pass thrown into his coverage to be completed (four total, one to a running back). Before an injury took him out of the game, Packers tight end Jermichael Finley caught three passes on three targets for 51 yards (27 yards after the catch) and a touchdown while in Robertson’s coverage.
Cleveland was penalized 12 times for 106 yards.
While sometimes you have to tip your hat to the better team, in this case the Packers – even with their injuries, the Browns played uninspired and sloppy football. While this writer was not expecting a win (predicted a 30-17 loss) the offense’s inability to move the football was troubling. This game also highlighted what the Browns don’t have at the quarterback position as Rodgers was able to have a successful day (25-of-36 for 260 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions) even without impact receivers James Jones, Randall Cobb and Finley (following his game ending injury). Jarrett Boykin, who had one catch for six yards entering the game, racked up 103 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions. That’s what a good quarterback can do and exactly what the Browns do not have.
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