Last week, none of the Browns showed up to play against Cincinnati. Offense, defense, and special teams were equally putrid.
Today, the defense showed up for the most part, but the offense continued its second half siesta in a 17-13 loss to Carolina dropping their record to 7-8 on the season.
Cleveland could only run 38 offensive plays last week in being shut out, and today, it wasn’t much better, running just 46 plays in losing their fourth straight and fifth in the last six contests.
Guess we won’t have to worry about Kyle Shanahan being rumored for any head coaching jobs this off-season.
Really, we should say the defense kind of showed up, because once again, Cleveland gave up 209 yards on the ground, and on the last true offensive play run by the Panthers, on a 3rd and 5 and Carolina really just trying to not turn the ball over, Jonathan Stewart ran for 30 yards to ice the win.
Third down was a killer on both sides of the ball, the defense allowed the Panthers to convert 9 of 16 plays when they could have gotten off the field, while the offense could convert just 3 of 12 situations of that type.
It’s terrible complementary football, and it has plagued the team over the last four weeks.
Early in the game, Carolina ran the ball with ease controlling the tempo, while the Browns’ offense seemed to be bogged down by mistakes and odd play calling.
Five of Cleveland’s first six plays were passes. The Browns have been a team that has needed to run the football the entire season, and the offensive coordinator is acting like Tom Brady is at the helm.
Finally, after the Panthers scored to take a 10-3 lead late in the first half, rookie QB Johnny Manziel injured his hamstring on what appeared to be a designed run. It may be one of the weirdest play calls we’ve seen in many years.
Shanahan is doing Manziel a disservice by having him play like a college quarterback. He needs to plant his back foot and throw the ball, which he did on a throw to Andrew Hawkins for 28 yards on the Browns’ second possession.
That put Brian Hoyer in the game, and although the veteran went 7 of 13 for 134 yards, he really only made one play of consequence, an 81 yard connection to TE Jordan Cameron to put Cleveland in the lead 13-10.
However, the defense allowed a quick score, as the Panthers went 66 yards in seven plays in less than three minutes to give them a lead they would never relinquish.
Hoyer’s lack of arm strength showed up again as Travis Benjamin had his man beat by at least five yards, and the underthrown ball was picked off by Josh Norman, who subsequently fumbled the ball back to Cleveland.
All we are saying here is that Hoyer might be the best option right now, but he’s not the guy either, and the Browns need to give Manziel a chance to play in a pro style offense to see what he can do.
It seems right now like the Browns don’t even try to do the things they did offensively earlier in the campaign.
For example, where was Terrance West?
Also, finding a center can’t be this difficult. Remember when Alex Mack was a restricted free agent? The Browns signed him, but obviously didn’t pay him enough.
Why not go back to John Greco at center and Paul McQuistan at guard? Ryan Seymour and Nick McDonald are getting dominated by defenders.
So, there is one last game on the road against the Ravens, and the Browns can probably knock the Ravens out of the playoffs with a win.
Mike Pettine has talked all year about “playing like a Brown”. Next week, he should instruct his offensive coordinator to do the same.