It is too bad the Cleveland Browns thought today’s game with Kansas City started at 1 PM Central Time.
We mean, that had to be the reason for the horrific performance until halfway through the second quarter at Arrowhead Stadium in a game the Browns ultimately lost 23-17 to fall to 3-5 on the season.
That first quarter and a half was perhaps the worst football a Cleveland team has played since they returned to the NFL in 1999.
They couldn’t stop Kansas City on the ground and through the air. The offense couldn’t even get a first down, let alone a touchdown.
And then it all changed.
Jason Campbell hit a pass to TE Jordan Cameron for a first down, and then hit WR Josh Gordon on a flea flicker for a TD. And just like that, the Browns were back in the game.
The Chiefs answered with a scoring pass to Dexter McCluster, but that was about it for the Kansas City offense for the day, as they managed just three points for the balance of the game, and that was because the Browns turned the ball over on downs with a little over two minutes left.
We have written about halftime adjustments before, but today coordinator Ray Horton put pressure on Alex Smith and played man-to-man on the outside with his cornerbacks and shutdown the KC attack.
Smith was sacked five times in the second half, all by different players as Horton brought pressure from different spots. The Chiefs, who converted eight of their first 10 third down opportunities, converted just two of their last nine in that situation.
Campbell was very good in his first start, hitting 22 of 36 throws for 293 yards and two touchdown passes, and overcame four dropped balls by WR Davone Bess, including one on a fourth down that would have given Cleveland a chance to tie or perhaps win the game.
The veteran reminded fans once again of Brandon Weeden’s weakness of holding on to the football way to long. Campbell was decisive with his throws, and because of that, he was sacked just once by the team that leads the AFC in that category.
As for Bess, not only did he dropped four passes, he also fumbled a punt which would have given the offense the ball at around midfield after the defense backed up Kansas City.
That was a momentum changing play to say the least.
We will have to again ask why the front office cannot go out and get another running back to help out, as it was evident once again that the Browns can’t run the ball.
Willis McGahee had nine carries for 28 yards, but had half those yards on one carry. Chris Ogbonnaya had 12 yards on three carries, all of them on one run.
The Browns simply have too many running plays which result in no yards or in negative yards. There has to be someone available who can do better than that.
If this was Gordon’s last game as a Brown, he went out with a bang, grabbing five passes for 132 yards. In the three games he played with someone other than Weeden at the helm, he has caught 19 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns. He caught 13 passes in games Weeden played.
Cameron also played another strong game with four receptions for 81 yards.
There should be no question that Campbell is the starter going forward, and you have to think it may be time to cut ties with Weeden, as it is pretty obvious at this point that the offense problems begin and end with him.
WIth a home game against the Ravens next week, the Browns have reason to hope they can go into the bye week at 4-5 and a chance.
They just need to start playing when the opening kickoff occurs.