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Grading The Positions From The Panthers Vs. Browns Game

How did Cleveland do position-by-position against the Carolina Panthers?

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While it wasn't pretty, the Cleveland Browns still prevailed for a 24-23 victory over the Carolina Panthers this past Sunday. How did each of the individual positions do in the team's "near-collapse" victory?

OFFENSE

  • QB (FAIL): As well as Jake Delhomme played in the first half, he almost cost the Browns the game with his two interceptions to start the second half. His first interception was frustrating, but his second interception was unacceptable. How can you still decide to throw a sideline pass to a double covered receiver after you stare at him when rolling out? The pick six set the negative tone for the rest of the second half.
     
  • RB (PASS): Peyton Hillis was a machine in the first half, punishing defenders in the red zone as he plowed in for three touchdowns. He had some trouble gaining short yardage in the second half, but was effective as a receiver. His backup, Mike Bell, finally had a couple of productive carries as well.
     
  • WR (PASS): It was nice to see the receivers more involved in the gameplan, particularly Brian Robiskie. Although all of his patterns were simple and he didn't get yards after the catch, having him involved in the gameplan forces the defense to take him a little more seriously, opening up other aspects of the offense.
     
  • TE (FAIL): While Ben Watson and Evan Moore each had receptions, Moore had a costly fumble in the first half after picking up a first down in the red zone. He's fortunate Robiskie was there to tackle the defender who recovered the fumble.
     
  • OL (PASS): Besides John St. Clair getting beat just before halftime, the offensive line was much better than last week. The left side was particularly effective on pitch plays, with Joe Thomas and Alex Mack playing a role in our runners getting around the corner.

DEFENSE

  • DL (FAIL): The bullrush was there at times, but Carolina was wise to stretch their runs to the outside and prevent our defensive linemen from being as effective as they could have been.
     
  • LB (FAIL): It wasn't a very good day for the linebackers, especially Chris Gocong. Gocong allowed Mike Goodsen to catch a pass at the end of the game and whiffed on the tackle after unnecessarily trying to jump the route. The rest of the linebackers did not tackle well and were slow getting to the edge against the Panthers' running backs.
     
  • DB (PASS): Joe Haden's interception at the end of the game should have sealed the victory. Overall, he had good coverage on Steve Smith, who was held to just two receptions. The coverage was pretty good most of the game; Jimmy Clausen's final pass just happened to be in the perfect spot. Abram Elam had two sacks, and T.J. Ward blew up a play in the backfield.

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • ST (PASS): Credit Reggie Hodges for pulling down Ryan Pontbriand's high snap, and credit Phil Dawson for drilling the field goal under pressure to give Cleveland the late lead. Shortly after that, Hodges had a beautiful punt go out of bounds at the five. The Browns' return game and coverage units weren't as strong against Carolina, but the play of Hodges and Dawson overcame that.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.