This week, the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals took part in the “Battle of Ohio” for the second time this year. Cleveland looked to get their first win, however it was not meant to be. In a game with questionable calls by the refs and failure to execute on the part of the Browns, Cincinnati took this one, 30-16. What’s wrong? Here’s a look at this week’s Brown’s notes.
1. Feeding The Crow
Last week, half back Isaiah Crowell had 11 rushes for 18 yards. After a week of criticism from the fans and coaches threatening to give the other half back Duke Johnson Jr. more rushing attempts, Crowell had to change something. This week, he would run the football 16 times for 95 yards. Crowell’s rushing numbers have remained consistent for the most part. He started off consistently with 30-40 yard gains for the first four weeks, that would bump up to about 60 yards in the next four weeks and then he’s average around 90 yards the past three weeks. If he can build upon this these games and get to over 100 yards by week 14, there’s a chance that maybe the passing game can open itself up. His future in Cleveland may be in question but if wants to continue to have a future in the NFL, he’s going to need to take his foot off the brake.
2. I Am Kizer, DeShone
Following a rough outing last week in which many fans put the game on him and while looking to avenge those two fumbles, he stepped out onto the field at Paul Brown Stadium and he went off. He passed for 268 yards, rush for 39 yards and scored on a quarterback draw. The most important stats though: no fumbles and no interceptions. Each week, Kizer has built upon his future. With wide receivers Josh Gordon returning next week, Corey Coleman making some excellent strides and even Kenny Britt showing up, the pieces could start coming together.
3. The Drop
One of the biggest momentum killers for Cleveland came in the second half when Corey Coleman dropped a pass in the middle of the end zone. While Cleveland’s had a lot of dropped passes this year, this one came later in the game when Cleveland’s offense was showing life.
4. Defensive Breakdown
This season, the Browns have not allowed many 100 rushing yard games. However, Bengals half back Joe Mixon dominated the team on the ground for 114 yards. This allowed the Bengals to hit shorter passes that would ultimately cost the Browns big time. The Browns ultimately won the battle of yardage but when the defense cheats a bit after runs, it will always cost you.
5. Looking Ahead To Next Week
Last year, Cleveland got their only win against the then San Diego Chargers. This time, they’re still winless this season and they’re playing on the road in Los Angeles. While the Chargers have the better record at 5-6, they have struggled at home winning two out of their five games. The Chargers are currently eighth in the NFL in stopping the pass and 31st in stopping the run. If Cleveland wants to be successful on offense, they’ll need to plan around running the football.This past game was a good start but they’ll have to get the backs involved a bit more.
Also they shouldn’t be afraid to let Kizer air it out as long as he doesn’t become too reckless that is. With Coleman back and Gordon coming back, he’ll have some options but that doesn’t mean throw it up anywhere. On the other side of the ball, the Chargers have one of the best passing attacks in the NFL as they are ranked third in passing yards per game. However, they’re 25th in rushing yards per game. If Cleveland can find a way to limit quarterback Phillip Rivers’ options, then they could have a chance. Right now, Chargers are favorite at 92.7%, with a spread of 13.