I wasn’t certain the Browns would win Monday night, but I don’t think anyone expected them to get absolutely destroyed by the San Fransisco 49ers, despite them being undefeated.
31-3 was the final.
Now, the defense giving up the early 83-yard TD run by Matt Breida was a rough start. However, I’d like to focus on the play that completely changed the dynamic of the game…
WR Antonio Callaway, fresh from a suspension, dropping what would’ve been a touchdown across the middle; it ended up getting picked.
Had that been a TD, the Browns then trail by four, 14-10, and everything would’ve been different just in the second quarter.
A big problem is how difficult it is to commit to the run after falling down big, especially early. Chubb did have 16 rushes and Beckham two himself. I thought Kitchens did a decent job on this front.
However, the passing game was absolutely terrible.
Baker finished 8/22 for 100 yards, had two picks and was sacked four times. He looked uncomfortable in the pocket and made extremely bad reads and subsequent throws. Some of this is a credit to the 49ers great d-line and defense in general, our offensive line’s poor protection of him, but it was still a terrible performance by Mayfield.
Defensively, I felt every run the 49ers had, a Browns defender missed a tackle. Jimmy G did his job, but the run killed the defense. 275 total rushing yards given up…
One other note is that DE Myles Garrett was held in check with only a single sack.
Now, many will look at head coach Freddie Kitchens and wonder if he’s in over his head. On that front, three things I didn’t like from him:
1. Not going for it on 4 and 10 with 1:10 to go in the 3rd at own 45. Down 25 and near midfield, what did they have to lose?
2. Keeping Baker Mayfield in the game for the 4th quarter. Yes, backup Garrett Gilbert eventually came in towards the very end. However, Baker took a shot and fumbled with 12:09 to go. Imagine if he gets injured on that play, down 25 with little time left? Uproar!
3. Along similar lines, having Odell Beckham Jr. return a punt with 7:18 left in the game. He also fumbled and lost the ball for the Browns, but I’m more concerned about injury again.
The Scottish Hammer was Team MVP tonight with seven punts, a 56.7-yard average and four inside the 20. Not happy the punter is the MVP, but it is nice to know this guy is for real.
Moving forward, the Browns have to shake this loss off, which will be tough to do. On a short week, the 4-1 Seattle Seahawks come to town and that will be another huge test. Following that is a battle with New England. This team can’t have a 2-5 record, but tonight shows that may be possible…
I WILL NOT make excuses for this team, but I want to reiterate just how crucial that Antonio Callaway drop-to-interception was for this game. Had that gone for a touchdown, it certainly changes the dynamic. It gives Baker and the rest of the team confidence, etc.
Regardless of that error, this team folded and stunk the entire night. They should be embarrassed, ashamed, yet ready to make up for it Sunday.