After giving it a day to simmer, there are some key points to take away from the Cleveland Browns Week 2 win against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Cleveland Browns win over the Cincinnati Bengals has put a lot of fans in a good mood. The Browns won 35-30 in a wild shootout in Cleveland, to the delight of about 6,000 fans in attendance. The fans watching at home were pretty psyched too.
After the Ravens game, a lot of issues popped up and a lot of people overreacted (or underreacted). Many called for Baker Mayfield to be benched, or blamed him for Odell Beckham’s bad game. That’s clearly an overreaction. So was the calls to draft Clemson QB Trevor Lawerence.
Yet, other fans claimed the defense “would get better” and that Odell Beckham Jr. would bounce back in week two. I wouldn’t say four receptions for 74 yards is a “bounce back” game, even with a touchdown. Not for someone that fans keep calling “one of, if not the best receiver in the game.”
Week 3 will reveal so much more about who this team, is but until then these are the takeawys from Week 2 against the Bengals.
Chris Hubbard played really well.
Chris Hubbard played well in relief for a banged up Jack Conklin. Conklin, who was dressed for the game, sat out due to lingering issues from the previous week. That means that Hubbard got the call, a move many fans had concerns with. Hubbard was a starter last year for the Cleveland Browns and did absolutely nothing of relevance, other than getting beat off the line many times. While the Bengals defense is as bad as the Browns, Hubbard’s performance shouldn’t be taken away from him. He did an excellent job in relief keep Bakyer Mayfield off the floor and sealing the ends for the running back duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to do their thing.
Andy Janovich was great.
Fullbacks are out of favor in the NFL but thy shouldn’t be. Andy Janovich was brilliant and has been since coming over from Denver. The fullback hasn’t just been getting holes open, and closing out linebackers like a Sears, but has also been key at times for keeping Mayfield uptright. Janovich is fast and strong, but hasn’t be used as a weapon just yet. He did get one reception at the line of scrimmage for a gain of maybe one yard, but should his number be called, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him do wonders. Until then, he’s going to drive fools into the grass (turf) every week and he isn’t going to be shy about it.
Porter Gustin outplayed many on defense.
Porter Gustin outplayed so many others on the defense this week. Which isn’t hard, as the Browns defensely is terrible. The Browns are No. 2 in total yards given up, No. 1 in total passing yards given up and No. 4 in total rushing yards given up. GM Andrew Berry did not “find diamonds in the ruff”, he bought broken bargain basement toys and told you they were this Christmas’ next major toy to have. Gustin, however, maybe a gem. Gustin was everywhere on defense, and was actually involved in both attacking the pass and the run. The eye test doesn’t lie, Gustin was incredible. It was just the Bengals, so cautious optiism on this one, but Gustin deserves the right to get more reps regardless of who’s healthy or not.
The defense as a whole can’t cover anyone.
People are going to take shots at Andrew Sendejo, and maybe that’s fair but he’s not the only one who’s not doing well. None of the defensive backs, no not even Denzel Ward has played truly well this year. Ward has had some issues, but he’s arguably the best of the bunch. Karl Joseph isn’t making any types of plays, and at least Sendejo is a sure tackler. More than we can say about a lot of the guys on the team. While it may be too soon to write think-pieces about why Berry was a fool for letting Christian Kirksey and Joe Schobert go, it’s starting to look like he was.
For anyone who thinks this team was a playoff caliber team, this defense rightfully is proving the Browns are not.
Superstars need to put up superstar numbers.
Nick Chubb, and even Kareem Hunt did their jobs. Myles Garrett and Odell Beckham Jr. did not do their jobs. It’s the Bengals, the one team the Browns should bully. So let’s be clear, if Porter Gustin or KhaDarel Hodge have the same stats on Thursday that Garrett and Beckham had, then we call those “big games”. They didn’t, they had fine games, but nog big games. Garrett and Beckham did and they are two of the highest paid players at their positions and they are barely putting up numbers of guys who are fringe starters on great teams. Don’t tell me about Garrett’s “pressures”, because those are unprovable stats. You can’t actually say that Garrett caused a pass to be athrown too soon. It’s an assumptive stat. Which means it’s not a stat at all. If guys like Beckham and Garrett are going to be worth their contracts, they have to outperform expectations every week. They’re not being paid to have 76 yards receiving or one one sack and 4 tackles across two games.