This past weekend, the Cleveland Browns and the Minnesota Vikings took a trip across the pond and faced off. While most expected a blow out by the Vikings, the Browns hung in and kept the game interesting for three and a half quarters. There was a lot of pieces that came together and it showed. Here are the notes from week.
1. DeShone DeShowed Up
These past couple of weeks have not been pretty for rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer. Following a week that saw Kizer get benched for Cody Kessler, following two interceptions and being called out by head coach Hue Jackson, he had to step up his game. While Kizer didn’t break 200 yards or even throw for a touchdown, he did manage to do something he hadn’t done all year, he didn’t turn the ball over.
He didn’t fumble and he didn’t throw an interception. He also scored a rushing touchdown at the one yard line. His 179 yards were due to short passes which for once had Browns fans calling for more deeper passes, the opposite of what was called for in previous weeks. If Kizer can put together another consistent week, maybe he’ll show something that will keep coach Jackson on his side.
2. Feed The Crow
Earlier in the year, half back Isaiah Crowell couldn’t find ways to be utilized; his carries per game were cut and the quarterback didn’t throw to him but this week, Crowell went off. In addition to his 64 rushing yards, he had 54 receiving yards giving him a grand total of 118 yards and a touchdown. Crowell will need to continue to build upon his resume if he wants to make the bucks this offseason, Cleveland will need to give him more opportunities.
3. The Schobert Must Go On
One of the biggest questions going into this season was who would fill in the third linebacker position. The original man, Tank Carder, went down for the season in the preseason and it opened the door for Joe Schobert to make an impact, and so far, he has done just that with his coup de gras coming on Sunday. Early in the game, on a tipped pass, he intercepted the ball. Then he forced a fumble, which while not recovered by the Browns, he still showed why he is starting with Christian Kirksey and Jamie Collins
4. Hurt But Not Broken
Despite having four major injuries, the defense kept the game within reach until the fourth quarter. Not having cornerback Jason McCourty, defensive linemen Myles Garrett and Trevon Coley and safety Jabrill Peppers really hurt down the stretch as the defense got tired later in the game due to the offense not staying on the field long enough for them to rest. This Cleveland defense has been the ninth best in the NFL and even the commentators calling the game took notice. While not a lot of kudos can be given to the front office for their work on the offense (which should come this offseason), a lot can be credited to bringing in defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, a good draft and free agent haul.
5. Bye Week
Coming up, the Browns have some winnable games as they will go on the road to take on the Detroit Lions(3-4), come home to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars(4-3) then go back on the road to face the Cincinnati Bengals(3-4) and Los Angeles Chargers(3-5). If Cleveland can’t get it done in any of these four games, they’ll have one more really good chance, and coincidentally enough, it comes on December 24th (the day they won their only game last year) in Chicago against the Bears. With all the rumors swirling that changes could be made to the front office, watch for them to make some kind of move whether it be during Tuesday’s trade deadline or some kind of free agent pick up. The front office may be in desperation mode.