Today may have been the most overlooked game in the history of the Cleveland Browns. Even though they were honoring the 30th anniversary of the AFC Central Division champions, with the Indians playing for a championship tonight, it seems like the football game today was an afterthought.
Flying under the radar, Hue Jackson’s team started very well, leading 20-7 at the half, but the second half was all Jets, and Cleveland fell to 0-8 with a 31-28 loss.
It was a case of lack of complementary football in the second half, as the defense couldn’t stop New York while the offense couldn’t put together a significant drive to keep the defense off the field.
This should end any more talk to Josh McCown being the Browns best chance to win football games.
First, in his two starts, the Browns did virtually nothing offensively after halftime, and once again, he made a critical mistake to eliminate a possible comeback attempt.
Here are the positives, negatives, and officiating critique from another Browns loss.
Positives. Terrelle Pryor abused Jets’ CB Darrelle Revis in the first half. We understand Revis isn’t the same player he was two to three years ago, but Pryor had 101 yards on six catches before the intermission.
In the second half, New York gave Revis help and McCown couldn’t get the ball to the big wideout.
Duke Johnson had several big plays, catching six balls for 87 yards and rushing for 29 more on four carries.
ILB Christian Kirksey was in on 12 tackles, and continues to impress every week.
Rookie Carl Nassib got his hand on at least three Ryan Fitzpatrick throws.
The run defense did a good job on the Jets’ Matt Forte, holding him to 82 yards on 25 carries, an average of a little over three yards.
Demario Davis and Emmanuel Ogbah showed very well too.
Negatives. McCown is by all accounts a great guy, excellent teammate, exudes toughness, etc. However, he is not an average NFL quarterback by a long shot.
Yes, he will make some plays, and can play well in spurts, but he will make a critical mistake at a crucial time.
Today, there were two. After New York scored to close the gap to 20-14, the Browns did start to move the ball. But a backwards pass lost four yards on first down, and Cleveland couldn’t recover on that drive.
Later, in the fourth quarter, on a second and six from deep in Browns’ territory, McCown decided to force a deep throw into double coverage and was picked off.
We would rather see Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan, or even Robert Griffin III behind center the rest of this season. There is no reason to put McCown out there again.
While the defense played well against Forte, they couldn’t stop Bilal Powell, who ran for 76 yards on six carries including a 35 yard TD run.
Hue Jackson only tried 18 running plays. Yes, the Jets have one of the NFL’s best run defenses, but that’s woefully low, especially when they gained almost four yards a crack.
Safety play continues to be a huge problem for Cleveland as Quincy Enunwa caught a 57 yard throw from Fitzpatick. Jamal Taylor had pretty good coverage, but there was no safety within 15 yards of the play.
Taylor was lucky to make a touchdown saving tackle.
Officiating. No glaring poor calls, but referee Pete Morelli had problems calling out the correct number for infractions.
Next week, the Dallas Cowboys come to Cleveland, so Browns fans’ will get a look at a player they could’ve taken with the second overall pick, former Ohio State running back Ezequiel Elliott.
Hopefully, Kessler will be cleared to play next week, so it will be a battle of rookie signal callers.