Young football teams tend to make mistakes. This was never more evident than the Cleveland Browns’ 31-20 loss to Washington this afternoon.
Hue Jackson’s crew got off to a poor start, trailing 14-0 early, before rallying and actually carried a 20-17 lead into the fourth quarter.
However, the young Browns turned the ball over three times at the end of the game, two on fumbles and an interception by Cody Kessler, and Cleveland fell to 0-4 on the season.
One reminder. They’ve played three of those four games on the road.
One of the dangers of having so many young players is there are no veterans to teach the younger guys how to close out games. The Browns have had a chance to win the last three contests, but are still winless.
It will be up to the coaching staff to get these guys to eliminate the errors costing them in the win column.
Here are this week’s positives and negatives, with a new category–bad officiating.
Positives. The Browns came into the game in the top five in rushing and showed why today. They had 163 yards on the ground, with another 100 yard game by Isaiah Crowell (15 rushes, 112 yards). They probably should have had more than 28 attempts.
Cody Parkey rebounded from his debut and made two field goals including a 51-yarder.
Another Cody, Kessler, played well too. He completed 28 of 40 throws for 223 yards, and helped the offense convert 8 of 12 third downs. As long as he plays like this, there is no reason to play either Josh McCown or even Robert Griffin III for that matter.
And the offensive line did a good job with John Greco going back to guard and using Austin Reiter at center.
Defensively, Jamar Taylor continued to show well, getting an interception for the second straight week. And the newest Brown, Cam Johnson had two sacks.
Negatives. For the first time this season, the defense couldn’t stop the run, allowing 145 yards, at an average of 5.6 per rush.
The defensive line had a poor game and Danny Shelton took a step back with just three assists.
And even though Cleveland had three sacks, for most of the game they couldn’t put pressure on Washington QB Kirk Cousins. Of course, they didn’t have a lot of good pass rushing situations.
Ray Horton’s unit also had no answer for TE Jordan Reed, which isn’t good news considering New England’s Rob Gronkowski is up next week.
Today’s horrible officiating. The NFL needs to change the pass interference call.
First, they should be no call on any under thrown ball, because the bad throw is causing the contact. That was the case on the 50 YARD PENALTY against Jordan Poyer in the first quarter.
Another bad PI call came against Joe Haden in the fourth quarter. Both Haden and the receiver were bumping each other, but Haden drew the flag. A no call would have been correct there.
And lastly, Duke Johnson’s fumble in the fourth quarter appeared to be recovered by…Duke Johnson. The official ruled Washington football.
Of course, Jeff Triplette’s crew is one of the leagues worst, so what can you expect.
Our point is the Browns are inexperienced as it is, and can’t afford to have bad calls go against them as well.
So, the Browns come home next week to take on the mighty New England Patriots. It should be another good measuring stick for the young Browns.
Yes, they are 0-4. However, many teams at 1-3 and stagnant would love to trade places with Hue Jackson’s group.