Cookie Monster loves cookies.
Wilt Chamberlain loved the ladies.
Pat Shurmur loves the forward pass.
Earlier during the high school football season, St. Ignatius coach Chuck Kyle said his best defense against Mentor QB Mitch Trubisky was the running game because if his team had the ball, it would be difficult for Trubisky to operate.
Perhaps Shurmur should have heeded Kyle’s advice today against the great Peyton Manning, because Manning put on a passing clinic, going 20 of 43 for 339 yards, starting from the opening drive of the game until he was mercifully taken out of the game with the Broncos well in command 34-12, which was the final score.
Judging by the score of the game, you would think the Browns needed to play catch up all day long, and although they did trail from the first drive of the game on, it was still a two score game at 21-6 heading into the fourth quarter.
Cleveland’s best chance would have been to control the clock with the running game, mixing in the pass, and the Browns did run the ball effectively when they put it into the hands of Trent Richardson and Montario Hardesty. They averaged five yards per carry as a team and even if you take away Colt McCoy’s 15 yard scramble at the end of the game, Richardson still picked up almost six yards a pop (9 carries for 53 yards), and Hardesty toted the pigskin three times for 14 yards (4.7 per rush).
Unfortunately, they only ran the ball 18 times for the game and only 14 of those were by design.
We get that it’s a passing league, and the most successful teams have explosive passing attacks, but think about this–the Broncos have a guy going to the Hall of Fame in Manning, and their running back, Knowshon Moreno carried the football 22 times.
Passin’ Pat and his aerial circus. That’s what the Browns should be nicknamed.
Instead, the coach decided to let Manning run 75 plays from scrimmage and have the ball seven more minutes than his team, exposing a secondary depleted by injuries to T. J. Ward, Tashaun Gipson and Sheldon Brown, and the odd release of Dimitri Patterson during the week, to his sophisticated passing attack.
After watching this game, does anyone still want to address the quarterback situation in the 2013 draft?
It is obvious that the Browns need help in the secondary because Manning pretty much stayed away from Joe Haden most of the time and instead looked where Brown was lined up before the veteran was injured in the second quarter.
The defense also needs another pass rusher because they couldn’t get near Manning hitting him only a couple of times on the afternoon.
Besides forgetting about the run, the defense couldn’t help the offense get the ball back, allowing 9 of 15 third down conversions, and two of those stops came with back up QB Brock Osweiler in the game.
And for those who predicted the Denver pass rushing duo of Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil would dominate, the Broncos only recorded two sacks while the game was in doubt, before they were able to tee off on McCoy, who replaced starter Brandon Weeden, who left with an injured shoulder after the second of those sacks with the score 21-6.
Weeden played well for the most part, particularly on the first two drives of the game, in which the Browns mixed in the run, hitting on 12 0f 19 throws for 104 yards. The Browns used a bootleg pass in which he completed a pass to TE Benjamin Watson, but that play (unlike the Redskins last week) was never seen again.
This ignorance of the run didn’t start last week. If the Browns did an internal audit, they would see their best games were the ones where they had a balanced offense. But too many times, Passin’ Pat goes back to what he loves, throwing the short pass.
It was funny that one of Weeden’s long completions to Greg Little, a 21 yard strike in the second quarter came off play action. However, if you stop running the ball, using play action has no effect.
Next week, the Browns will likely end the season without Weeden and Richardson, who injured an ankle late in the game (why was he in?), so critics of the two rookies will get what they want, a lot of McCoy and Hardesty.
After a three game winning streak, the Cleveland Browns have laid two gigantic eggs. It makes the decision that Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner will make after next Sunday’s game a little bit easier.