Two Weeks Off, But Not Many Adjustments For Browns

Seriously, you cannot make this stuff up.

The Cleveland Browns lined up for a 51 yard field goal by Travis Coons to win last night’s game against the Baltimore Ravens on the last play of the competition.

Instead, the kick was blocked and the Ravens’ Will Hill scooped up the loose ball and ran it into the end zone to give Baltimore a 33-27 victory and drop the Browns’ record to 2-9 for the year.

And that makes it 14 losses in the last 16 games for Mike Pettine and his team.

It was special teams that cost the Browns tonight as they allowed a punt return and a blocked field goal for touchdowns.  You can’t give up 13 points on special teams.

Those numbers, and that Karlos Dansby returned an interception for a score, will masquerade another poor performance by the defense, who allowed four and a half yards per carry on the ground, and made former Cleveland running back, Terrence West, dealt for a seventh round pick, look good.

West had 37 yards in seven attempts.

Cleveland did have another interception, as Tramon Williams picked off Matt Schaub late to set up the possible game winning field goal, but the Browns’ defense did not record a sack during the game.

So, with all of the time off the players and the coaching staff have had recently, what adjustments did the team make?

It’s hard to tell.

Offensively, it seemed like there was a more concerted effort to get the football to the team’s playmakers as Travis Benjamin caught six passes for 90 yards and a TD, and ran the ball on a reverse once.

Duke Johnson touched the ball 12 times, and actually saw action in the second half.

And TE Gary Barnidge continued his fine season, grabbing seven throws for 91 yards.

The entire time off was filled with discussion on Johnny Manziel’s off-field activities, so Josh McCown got the start, but was injured again during the game, forcing Austin Davis into the contest.

Davis acquitted himself well, hitting 7 of 10 for 77 yards and the TD throw to Benjamin.

So, get ready for more quarterback talk this week.

That discussion will overshadow the terrible time management Pettine used at the end of the game.

After Williams’ pick, the Browns had the ball on the Ravens’ 48 with 55 seconds remaining in the game, with two timeouts in their possession.  Remarkably, they ran three plays in that amount of time.

Davis failed to get out-of-bounds on a run that ended at the 30 yard line on the second last offensive play for Cleveland.  With Coons’ longest field goal of the year being 44 yards, it did not occur to the head coach to try to get the ball closer for his kicker, who hadn’t missed a field goal all season.

Instead, he tried a running play that lost yardage, pushing Coons back even further.

And while the joke around town is the guy who blocked the kick wedged his way between the two 2015 first round draft picks, Cam Erving and Danny Shelton, the truth is the longer kick made Coons kick the ball lower.  Had the Browns gained five more yards after Davis’ run and it would be a 42 yard kick, it likely wouldn’t have been blocked.

Pettine has something to learn about using timeouts.  Apparently, he thinks they can be turned in at the end of the season for coupons.

This was the seventh game out of 11 that the Browns have allowed 30+ points in a game.  Although the defense was only on the field for 20 of those, it is very difficult for this team to win when the offense has to score more than 30 to win.

All the quarterback talk, both on and off the field, deflect criticism from this unit, which is the real problem with this team.

And it’s not going to be easier with the Bengals visiting on Sunday.

It’s doubtful they will lose on another blocked field goal, but we can’t say it is impossible.

JD

 

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