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Browns Recap: Week 2 - They Lost And I Have To Eat My Shoe

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I have no words. Well, I do, probably a few thousand words below, but I have no words in the sense that I am just blown away by that Browns loss.

On top of it all, I tweeted this…

And then the Browns scored a touchdown. It was a pretty awesome play, but it now means I have to eat a part of my shoe tomorrow in the office. Donnie has decided to help me out and cut up parts of my shoe and cook it in a Rangoon. Hey Nike, please sponsor my Shoe Goons.

This is a difficult loss to swallow, luckily the Browns have a short week and are back on Thursday night. From the unbelievably bad kicking display by Zane Gonzalez (I lay the blame on him, despite me being critical of Tyrod Taylor), to Tyrod Taylor’s horrible interception, the fourth quarter ate my soul. The Browns remain winless since December 2016 and haven’t won on a Sunday since 2015.

The bright side? The team is improving and showing promise, especially with Baker Mayfield waiting in the wings. The issue is that this whole winless streak is just clouding it all. I want them to win so people just stop fucking tweeting about the Browns and making bad low-hanging fruit jokes.

It is worth noting that I posted this blog while using Amtrak WiFi. If you don’t understand why that it is crazy, let me tell you that even loading Google on Amtrak WiFi is on the miracle level of walking on water. This is a monumental achievement for mankind.

Preview_Injury

I said in my preview of this game that I thought Antonio Callaway would have a big game and he ended up delivering.

It was a great ball from Tyrod, but an even better catch by the rookie from Florida. Callaway’s hands and speed are why he would have been a 1st round pick in the NFL Draft had it not been for off the field issues.

He also tacked on two other receptions for big gains and helped the Browns score their first touchdown of the game. Callaway’s game came as the second receiver behind Jarvis Landy, a slot previously filled by none other than Josh Gordon.

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Callaway has potential to be special, especially alongside Jarvis Landry. I can’t wait to see them catching passes from Baker Mayfield.

Preview_Offense (1)

The offense had trouble getting much going on this afternoon, with the exception of their two touchdown drives. Both were pretty solid, but they left a ton of boards on the field thanks to miscues and overly conservative play calling. It was another fairly disappointing week for an offense with the potential to score a ton of points.

TYROD TAYLOR

Tyrod, my man, what in the world was that 4th quarter interception?

Tyrod started that drive with a 12-10 lead and a chance to ice the game. He nearly fumbled the ball on first down and then threw an abysmal interception to the Saints, setting up their go-ahead touchdown. Tyrod was much more accurate overall this game, hitting on 22 of his 30 attempts for 246 yards, but that one interception was killer.

The ability to avoid throwing interceptions is the thing keeping Tyrod as the starting quarterback, so coughing up a costly interception in the fourth quarter two weeks in a row late is just inexcusable. This interception was even worse than last week’s game-tying drive turnover, because a good drive seals the win. The play calling was wildly conservative, and I have a hunch it has to do with Todd Haley just not trusting Tyrod. It’s a shame he had the late interception because he had a much better game than he did in Week 1.

Will he be replaced by Baker Mayfield? I’d imagine the answer is both “no” and “not anytime soon.” John Dorsey sticks to this bridge-QB plan, you can see it with his former draft picks Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers. Not to mention, the Browns have a short week, so I am not sure that’s a great spot to put Baker Mayfield in for his first game.

RUNNING BACKS

It was another not-so-great effort from Browns running backs this week, but they did come up big on a touchdown drive to open the second half.

When the Browns get in a groove, their running game looks really nice. I want to see Nick Chubb get some more carries, but Carlos Hyde pounded the rock all afternoon and helped open the passing game for Tyrod more in the second half. The Saints stacked the hell out of the box, partly because they didn’t respect Tyrod Taylor I imagine, and made the day hell for the Browns’ offensive line

I also want to point out how stupid the play call was to hand the ball off to the smaller Duke Johnson on 4th & 1 early in the first half. What a puzzling decision.

WIDE RECEIVERS

The Browns’ wide receivers, on the other hand, had another solid week… when given a chance to catch the football. Outside of Antonio Callaway, my Player of the Game above, Jarvis Landry and Rashard Higgins had really nice games.

My goodness, what a stiff arm. Landry went for 69 yards on 5 catches while Hollywood Higgins hauled in 5 receptions for 47 yards. I really like Higgins and he provides some nice size in the absence of Josh Gordon. He’s developing nicely after many people gave up on him last year.

The one guy I was most disappointed in was tight end David Njoku. He is such a massive, raw talent, but he has had a few drops to open the season. He needs to get going a little bit more and I’d imagine he will find more success downfield whenever Baker takes over at quarterback.

OFFENSIVE LINE

It was a tale of two halves for the Browns’ offensive line, at least from what I was able to tell from live game footage. From what I could tell, it seemed as though Tyrod had little to no time to throw the football in the first half. In the second half, they were able to create a lot more time and a cleaner pocket for Tyrod. They still had some issues creating enough push for Carlos Hyde and the running backs to get consistent yardage, but, as I mentioned above, the Saints crowded the line of scrimmage all day.

KICKER 

Zane Gonzalez missed an extra point, then a field goal, then a go-ahead extra point and then a game-tying field goal as time expired.

I really have nothing else to say. Thank you for your time.

Preview_Defense (1)

The bend-but-don’t-break boys were back again this week and managed to grab another two turnovers.

I keep finding myself going, “wow, this defense is more fun to watch than last year.” Yeah, no shit, idiot, it’s because they’re actually making good plays. The defense gave up 18 points in the fourth quarter and Drew Brees had his first ever good game against the Browns, but they played great all day long. The Tyrod interception did them no favors and their only truly bad moment was giving up that late field goal after a long Ted Ginn reception.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Even without defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah this week, the defensive line showed out all afternoon. Myles Garrett drew a ton of attention, but it was Larry Ogunjobi who really impressed against the Saints.

In hindsight, I probably should have made Ogunjobi Co-Player of the Week with Antonio Callaway. His three sacks all came on 3rd down and those drives resulted in zero points. He should have had a fourth sack on 3rd down, but it was called back for a really close illegal contact call.

That play stung the Browns and the Saints ended up scoring their first touchdown of the game on the drive. Even so, Ogunjobi and the line were impressive this afternoon. Alvin Kamara struggled mightily, gaining only 46 yards on 13 carries, and it was in large part because the Browns’ defensive line never let him get to the second level.

LINEBACKERS

They had a much better game this week, as they helped the defensive line dominate the Saints’ rushing attack, but I am still convinced they can’t tackle. There were plenty of plays where they simply couldn’t wrap up the ball carrier. I wouldn’t consider the Browns’ group to be all-world, but I think they have some talent in Pro Bowler Joe Schobert (yes, you read that right), Jamie Collins and Christian Kirksey, who was out with an injury. Regardless, it was an encouraging performance coming off of a rough game against the Steelers.

SECONDARY

This is a fun group, even if they’re going to give up some occasional big plays this year. Denzel Ward, the Rookie of the Week last week, had some issues with Michael Thomas, but it was more so Thomas just being an absolute stud.

They helped cause two fumbles, recovered both of them and kept the momentum on the Browns’ side early. Brees had a decent game, but the Browns’ secondary looked decent in some spots. As I have said many, many times, they are a bend-but-don’t-break secondary, but that’s so much better than the always-broken secondary they employed last season.

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I was pretty gutted after the game, I will admit. The Browns had that game right up until the very end and they should probably be 2-0 right now, instead of 0-1-1. To cough the ball up late and blow eight points on missed kicks is just not something a team that has gone 1-31 in the last two seasons can do.

Personally, I think the time is now for Baker Mayfield, but I don’t think it makes sense when you factor in John Dorsey’s history with sitting rookies and the short week between Week 2 and Week 3.

The Browns host the Jets in a primetime game on Thursday night on NFL Network, with Joe Buck on the call. I honestly can’t remember the last time Joe Buck did a Browns regular season game. I don’t want to say I think the Browns will destroy the Jets, so I will just go ahead and not say. It’s a weird week for me because my NFL team plays on Thursday and then my alma mater, Penn State, plays on Friday. Thankfully, this has allowed me to clear my schedule and play Bethpage Black this weekend.

The Browns are going to win a game this season. My confidence is growing, and I am excited about the future, but this winless streak continues to be a body blow week after week.

REMINDER: I WILL BE EATING PART OF MY SHOE TOMORROW, BECAUSE I AM AN IDIOT