It’s funny to hear fans and the media every week talking about how this is going to be the week the Cleveland Browns win their first game.
They come up with all kinds of reason for the win too. Heck, the Browns were coming off the bye week and Hue Jackson is so familiar with the Bengals, so this will surely be the week.
And Robert Griffin III will be ready to go, and maybe he can recapture some of the magic from his rookie year.
Then, the opening kickoff comes, and all those theories can be flushed down the metaphorical toilet.
Griffin was wildly inaccurate in his first start since the opening weekend, hitting just 12 of 28 passes for 102 yards in the 23-10 defeat. Only two Browns’ receivers averaged more than 10 yards per catch, Duke Johnson, who made a nice run after a short pass to gain 21 yards, and rookie TE Seth DeValve, who had one catch for 11 yards.
However, it didn’t help Griffin that as he came out for his second chance to move the ball in the game, his team was down 13-0.
It also didn’t help that the Browns had horrible field position throughout the first half. It is his fault that the Cleveland offense didn’t cross midfield until after halftime.
The defense struggled early, allowing the Bengals to march right down the field on their opening drive and take advantage of a short field to put it in the end zone the second time they got the football.
All that said, there were good things to see defensively today.
LB Jamie Collins was in on 15 tackles and had a sack, and rookie Emmanuel Ogbah continues to shine with 1.5 sacks and pressured Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton on several other occasions.
The next step for the defense has to be creating turnovers. Over the past few games, they haven’t done that, and that means for the most part, the Browns’ offense has to play a long field to score a touchdown.
Isaiah Crowell had a third 100 yard rushing game on the season, gaining 113 on 10 carries, with a long of 42 yards. All in all, Cleveland gained 169 yards on the ground, a very good total.
Unfortunately, they allowed Cincy to rush for 213, including 111 by Jeremy Hill, who gashed the Cleveland defense for almost 300 in the two games between the teams this season.
Going back to field position, the Browns had horrible position all day, particularly in the first half. Griffin’s only interception came on a flea-flicker from his own 1 yard line.
And no, we aren’t absolving him for throwing into triple coverage.
We would like to tell Ricardo Louis that if he can’t get the ball back to the 25, heck, even the 20 would be acceptable, then let the ball bounce into the end zone. Starting around the 15 doesn’t help the offense.
We would also like to tell Ray Horton that covering the tight end is an option. Tyler Eifert hurt the Browns again, with two touchdowns (one we was covered by Tramon Williams) and overall he had five catches on the afternoon.
So, now at 0-13, Hue Jackson’s squad travels to Buffalo to play the Bills, who may have a new head coach.
It will be interesting to see what reasons we will hear about why this week is the week for the first Browns’ victory.