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Joe Haden's Absence Immediately Felt In Sunday Loss To Bengals

Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden served the first of his four game suspension Sunday as his team fell to the Cincinnati Bengals, 34-27.

In a game where the Browns secondary was picked apart by Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, many have singled out Haden as the reason for the loss. Head coach Pat Shurmur, however, will not accept that excuse, saying that it's too easy to point the finger at Haden.

But still, Haden's absence was felt. WIth defensive backs mixing and matching and moving into schemes they normally do not play, four Bengal receivers went over 50 yards and Andy Dalton finished with a quarterback rating of 128.2.

Pat McManamon of Fox Sports Ohio writes that the blame goes directly to Haden and no one else.

"And it started with missing Haden. Play him and he locks down a receiver. One good cover guy changes the nature of an entire defense. But he was absent, somewhere watching as his teammates struggled...I heard some folks on Twitter say that Haden shouldn't be faulted for this loss, and in one sense he shouldn't be: He was not on the field.

But the fact he was not may have been the single most important thing that affected the Browns defense."

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