Another Ugly Win Moves Browns to 3-3

Two years ago, the Browns picked up their first win of the season, and their only win in that season’s first 12 games, by beating the Buffalo Bills, 6-3.

It was doubtful you would ever see that ugly of a win again.

However, we did today, as Cleveland beat Seattle by the identical score, in a game that left viewers shaking their collective heads in disbelief. 

Unlike that victory in 2009, this win raised the Browns record to 3-3 on the season.

You have to give a tip of the cap to the Browns’ defense, which held the Seahawks to just 137 yards of total offense, the lowest by a Cleveland opponent since they held New Orleans to 127 yards in 1993. 

Sure, Seattle was missing starting QB Tavaris Jackson and RB Marshawn Lynch, but still, holding a team to that few of yards in a tremendous feat.  Check out the stats on NFL games, it isn’t done very often.

The most telling statistic of the game was third down conversion, with Pete Carroll’s team getting just 2 of 12 opportunities.  The Seahawks possessed the ball just 17 minutes for the game.

Seattle had just 65 yards rushing and a paltry 72 through the air, and Dick Jauron’s defense had two key turnovers:  a sack/fumble of QB Charlie Whitehurst by S T.J. Ward, and an interception by CB Sheldon Brown after an 85-yard punt return by Leon Washington was called back by an iffy illegal block in the back call.

The Browns stopped the run and pressured the passer.  Seattle couldn’t put anything together all day long, and the one time it did get a first and goal inside the CLE 10 after a 38-yard catch by Sidney Rice, the defense held them to a field goal.

As horrible as the offense looked most of the contest, they actually did an acceptable job except in putting points on the board.  They converted 12 of 24 third downs, and held the ball for 43 minutes.  Even Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers would have a tough time scoring touchdowns without the football.

Still, there have to be concerns regarding the offense.  Seattle blitzed early and often today, and opponents will continue to do this until the Browns can handle it better.  Right now, Colt McCoy isn’t handling it well.

The coaching staff can talk all they want about Shawn Lauvao, Jason Pinkston, and Tony Pashos doing okay, but there are plenty of times that McCoy drops back and the pass rushers are in his face.  They have to do a better job.

McCoy wound up hitting 20 of 35 throws for 178 yards, but threw a terrible interception into double coverage on a promising drive.  Montario Hardesty gained 95 yards, but needed 33 carries to do so.

One promising player was newcomer RB Chris Ogbonnaya, who caught four passes for 35 yards and ran three more times for 15 yards.  He made key third round receptions and converted them into first downs twice.

Another disturbing trend is the poor play out of the special teams.  Josh Cribbs did return to coverage teams and made  a tackle and was near the ball on another, but having two field goals blocked and getting a punt run back for a TD, only to be called back, shows immediate improvement must be made. 

Remember, the 49ers are next and they have a guy named Ted Ginn Jr. returning kicks.

However, kudos to Phil Dawson, whose two kicks made of over 50 yards put the only points for Cleveland on the board.  It would be nice if the offense put him in better position for kicks, and his protection didn’t allow big penetration at the point of attack.

All in all, it’s another win, and the Browns are at the .500 mark after six games, something no one has been able to say in recent years. 

However, more improvement is needed.  Thankfully, this is not a veteran group (like in past years), so the players will benefit from experience.

JD

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