The Browns looked crisp at the start and faded down the stretch. Sounds an awful lot like this season doesn't it?
The Browns are assured of their ninth double digit loss season since 1999. Ugh. Good God that is an ugly stat.
I don't have any inside information, but I would be surprised to see Eric Mangini return next season.
On to the five...
1. This team is devoid of excitement. There is no big play threat. No one who can go the distance with on missed tackle. We are a pop-gun offense that doesn't scare good defenses.
With Josh Cribbs and Peyton Hillis both banged up, this team is void of anything resembling a threat to go the distance. Adding on to that point, neither Hillis or Cribbs should be available for Sunday's game against Pittsburgh. Both of them are really banged up, probably teetering on full blown injured. Give them the extra week off for the off-season and let us see if we have anyone able to step up and fill their shoes against Pittsburgh. I love what Hillis and Cribbs bring to this team, but injured, they really aren't helping this offense.
2. I loved the WR pass from Mohamed Massaquoi and the attempted onside kick coming out of halftime. At some point in time you have to try and make some luck, try and make the chips fall your way.
What I didn't like was the tepid approach at the end of the first half. I understand that the coaching staff didn't want to give Baltimore the ball and time, but at this is supposed to be a NFL offense, you have to trust them to make a play. This is the second week in a row in which the coaching staff chose to be cautious with the offense before halftime.
This team isn't good enough to be cautious when we have a shot at points.
3. Colt McCoy didn't look good. He struggled with some poor throws and made some even worse decisions. Ed Reed baited him twice and made McCoy pay when he had the chance.
A major worry on the Colt McCoy front was his inability to throw the ball with any authority deep. I am a huge believer that arm strength is massively over rated when it comes to evaluating a Quarterback, but you have to be able to stretch a defense with your arm. Today's weather was far from the worst that Colt will ever see in Cleveland. It gives him something else that he can work on in the off-season.
4. Joe Haden continues to be the Browns' best defensive player. He is always around the ball and always making plays. He did a very good job at taking away Anquan Boldin today. The two passing touchdowns allowed by the Browns were against Sheldon Brown, who really had good coverage on both.
Haden's interception today was his sixth of the season. I have a strong feeling that teams will not be testing him as much next season. His next task will be how he will be able to change the game when teams don't thrown at him. Anyway you cut it, the kid is going to be a star in this league.
On the flip side, T.J. Ward continues to fade as the season carries on. He needed to hold on to that interception that he had his hands on. Granted, it would have been a very impressive catch, but one that top level safeties make in this league.
5. If you buy a carton of milk, check the side for the Browns pass rush. Joe Flacco had eon's of time today. Browns rushed three and he sat back there in the pocket all afternoon. We blitzed five, and he barely broke a sweat. Marcus Bernard is the only Browns player with at least four sacks (7.5), and is the only defensive player that can be counted on to rush the passer.
Until the Brown's get a player that makes the offense nervous, it won't matter who the defensive coordinator is. I love Rob Ryan, but he has nothing to work with. As bad as our offense has been, our defense is in need of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round picks.
Mix that with the fact that the Ravens offensive line man handled the Browns defensive line, all the sudden the Browns front seven is breaking down in a major way.
God I hope we beat the Steelers.