It’s that time of the week to wonder exactly what is going on with this Cleveland Browns team; also, what’s going right — but there wasn’t much of that in Week 8 — along with some WTF as well, because there’s always enough of that to go around.
So, let’s get to it, and figure out what exactly happened in this 16-6 loss against the Las Vegas Raiders.
What Went Right
This is tough, because the offense scored a whopping… six points. But as I have mentioned before, there are always silver linings.
Cody Parkey didn’t lose the game for the team! He did miss a kick, but at that point, the game was just about over, so I don’t blame him that much. Plus, the wind was blowing around 20+ MPH, so that doesn’t help any kicker.
Outside of penalties, the offensive line played very well in protecting the quarterback almost perfectly and allowing zero sacks. The stat sheet won’t show it, but Baker Mayfield looked decent, despite not throwing a touchdown. It’s extremely tough to throw in those conditions, so he will receive the benefit of the doubt, as well.
At least the defense only allowed 16 points… only positive.
What Went Wrong
Get your drink of choice ready, because this will be a doozy.
We’ll start off with the offense, because they are the ones who usually make the flashy plays with all that talent, and because it’s bad… but not terrible.
I did praise Mayfield for looking decent, but some of his incompletions came on overthrows or some strange passes to obviously covered receivers, especially at the end of the game. I understand you’re going into a bye week, but dear Lord, don’t kill Jarvis Landry out there! The pass into double coverage near the end of the game looked extremely rough, and I’m very glad the bye week is upon us.
The offense also shot itself in the foot at the worst moments. Multiple times, drives were stalled due to penalties, and overall, the run game was established… but also not established? If that makes any sense. Over 100+ yards rushing, but it didn’t feel like it because the defense couldn’t stop a turtle if it tried. That’s also a great segue into talking about the defense.
The defense was the bigger disappointment. First off, they allowed 309 yards of total offense. The passing offense wasn’t the main issue, though; the issue here is allowing 208 rushing yards.
I know this defense isn’t top-tier this year, but oh my goodness, this is a whole new low. Not only did Josh Jacobs go back to his old form against the defense, Carr himself ran multiple times and helped sustain drives. Jacobs averaged over four yards per carry on 31 carries… that is just unacceptable.
Garrett is exempt from this criticism due to being the only defender to show up and is mainly a pass rusher, not a run defender. Also, did the defense not read my preview article??? The Raiders were — and still are — top-five in third-down conversions, and what do they do? They allow multiple conversions to allow the Raiders to score. Oh, and they failed to defend two fourth-down conversions as well, to add insult to injury.
So, like I said… couldn’t even stop a turtle.
Penalties, penalties, penalties. There were only seven against the Browns, but it’s the timing of those penalties that caused the problems. Multiple led to stalled drives and forced more pressure on Mayfield, which is the last thing you want in windy weather.
Also, Mayfield himself was a WTF. The Raiders defense is not a great defense, but they looked a lot better than they were thanks to the offense not showing up and converting on third down… three times the entire game. Also, the run defense with some big-bodied players allowing so many rushing yards, gives me the indication that they need to draft a run stuffer or find someone in free agency to help shore it up during the bye and for the playoff push.
More of a “disappointment WTF” than “actual WTF,” since nothing spectacular really happened, unfortunately.
Thankfully, this team has a bye week to get healthy and figure out what their defensive identity is because, with the way it’s looking, they’ll be one-and-done in the playoffs — and that’s if they even make it there.
They do have a relatively easy rest of the schedule, outside of the two division matchups, but a 9-7 record is more than enough for a playoff berth and I believe every single Browns fan would rather that, than another year of missing out.
(Featured Image Credit: ClevelandBrowns.com)