4. Donovan Peoples-Jones
Cleveland needed its playmakers to step up to have a shot at winning without Watson on Sunday. Yet, it seemed like wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones wasn't even trying hard in Week 4.
Forget the 1 reception for 7 yards, as all of the Browns' pass-catchers struggled to put up big numbers. I'm talking about the plays that don't show up in DPJ's box score.
One egregious example that shows the wideout's lack of effort came on Thompson-Robinson's interception. Ravens CB Brandon Stephens had to dive to corral the INT, and it took him a couple of seconds to get up off of the ground. That was more than enough time for Peoples-Jones, who was right nearby, to sprint over and tag Stephens down.
Instead, DPJ leisurely jogged over, got blocked, and then watched the Baltimore cornerback race 52 yards down the field for a near-touchdown return
Peoples-Jones' effort on this play was pathetic. Even Cooper, who was about 5 yards away from DPJ and didn't quite know where the ball was at first, got closer to tagging Stephens down.
This is another turning-point play even bigger than Moore's. Stephens' long return put his team on the doorstep of the end zone, and Baltimore scored a touchdown on its first play to gain a 7-0 lead that it never let go of.
If Stephens gets downed there, that likely buys Cleveland more time to figure things out on offense since the defense was playing so well. Instead, DPJ played a direct role in helping the opposition score.
That's not even to mention DPJ's apparent disinterest as a punt returner on Sunday. He was happy to call for fair catches more often than not, which led him to record just 3 returns on the day. He did nothing when he did have the ball in his hands, totaling just 24 return yards and a long of only 10.
This was a poor showing that Peoples-Jones should absolutely be called out for by the coaching staff.
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