It has been a season of progress and surprises for the Cleveland Browns. They are a contending team with a 3-3 record, the trio of Ben Tate, Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West looks like it is going to be a problem in the AFC North for years. Most of all, the Browns finally have a real quarterback on the team with Brian Hoyer. The only thing missing is a game where they blow out the Pittsburgh Steelers… Oh yeah, this happened already. It has truly been remarkable as Mike Pettine and Kyle Shanahan have brought exciting football back to Cleveland. No more complete meltdowns when the two-minute drill has to be performed or draw plays on 3rd and 8 that get stopped behind the line of scrimmage.
It has been a breath of fresh air for Browns fans as it has been needed since the franchise came back 15 years ago. The attitude of the player’s and staff is different from how it has been in the past. Instead of coming into games with that ” Same old Browns” state of mind, they come in with the mindset of being the better team and playing hard all four quarters even though it has been proven they perform better in the second-half except for three games.
Last Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars seemed to prove otherwise. Every team is possibly going to lose a game in which they are favorited to win. However, when the Browns are picked to win a game and lose in this fashion as they did last Sunday, fans will tend to think the ship is sinking already. When they play bad it looks horrible.
The defense made the Jaguars 31st ranked offense look like the second coming of Joe Montana and Jerry Rice of the San Francisco 49ers of the 1980’s. Their 27th ranked defense dominated the Browns offensive line all game long especially on the right side. Sen’Derrick Marks bullied Paul Mcquistan on every play. He was getting his first start at right guard since John Greco moved to center after Alex Mack suffered a broken leg against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week.
Oct 19, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer (6) is sacked by Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Chris Clemons (91) and defensive tackle Ziggy Hood (92) in the fourth quarter of their game at EverBank Field. The Jacksonville Jaguars best the Cleveland Browns 24-6. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports
Hoyer had his worst game of the season. He missed Jordan Cameron on an easy short post route in the endzone as well as throwing behind and over the head of receivers for most of the game. It didn’t help that some easy balls were dropped either.
The lack of blocking led to his struggles but in order to take the next step as a quarterback he has to overcome and play through it.
The running game which has been the strong point of the Browns all season long was non-existent. Tate only ended up with 36 yards on 16 carries. West only had 8 yards on 5 carries and it led to him being benched by Pettine going into the 3rd quarter. Crowell only ended up with 18 yards on 7 carries.
The tackling was atrocious and there was no penetration from the defensive line all game long. It was an all-around terrible performance against an 0-5 team. It also doesn’t help that the Browns were 5-10 all-time against the Jaguars going back to the Mark Brunell and Jimmy Smith team in 1995. After a big win over the Steelers and being on an emotional high all week and then going into Jacksonville playing that poorly, is it time for the Browns and fans to panic? No. The loss looked awful and it seems like the team won’t recover from it but this is not like the past. This team has a different feel to it and has made positive strides all season. Pettine has done a complete 180 with the team mentally and they will hopefully rebound against a 0-6 Oakland Raiders team. They have already addressed the problem at fullback by cutting struggling Ray Agnew and promoting Kiero Small, who made an impact with the Seattle Seahawks in the preseason. This team will overcome adversity and continue to learn how to win as each week passes.