I repeat, I do not have my finger on the panic button. Nevertheless, that was an absolutely atrocious display of football by the Cleveland Browns today. There are times when the kicker loses the game for the team, or the quarterback, or the defense. The list can go on and you can break it down any way you want. Today, this deplorable loss was, without question, a shared effort…or lack thereof, depending on how you look at it.
Right off the bat, Austin Seibert missed an extra point. It’s an extra point. They can be crucial. You can’t miss these, Austin. We went through this last season and the one before. Split the uprights already. Next, Baker was guilty of a career-high three interceptions. There is a stark difference between threading the needle on a calculated play and just rolling the dice. Baker performed the latter quite often. As for those guys in front of Baker, yes, the offensive line is as bad as we feared.
What was the most glaring flaw today, though? That massive beacon of negativity that outshined all the other bad news today? Those damned yellow flags. This Cleveland team, on both sides of the ball, played extremely undisciplined on this overcast Sunday. Greg Robinson deserves to be suspended a game for his action of kicking an opposing player in the head. If you did not watch the game, you just read that sentence right. Down on his back with an impending Titan headed toward him, Robinson made a very obvious thrust with his leg to the helmet of that opposing player, making contact and leading to his ejection.
Freddie Kitchens has to be going out of his mind right now. The Browns didn’t just get defeated by Tennessee today. They got defeated by themselves. There were 18 penalties for 181 yards just for the Browns. That is heinous. You can argue a call here and there, but largely those are infractions the team needs to be held accountable for. Half of that is ugly. All of that sounds like something only possible in Madden.
So what needs to happen next week?
First and foremost, the team needs to play with a whole lot more focus. Eighteen penalties is a situation well beyond ridiculous. There is certainly zero excuse for that and the notion that they were overeager or nervous or anything just holds no weight here. It was 18 penalties and that is nothing short of putrid.
Second, that offensive line is as bad as we thought it was. Joe Thomas called in on a radio show the other day and said it will be just fine as Baker makes quick decisions which makes the line look good. We love you, Joe, but let us be real. That line is not all that strong. It needs help and we may be seeing Dorsey address it sooner rather than later.
Third, time for the defense to show up. I know, I know. It’s one game. Still, the Titans are not that great of a team and they just hung 43 points on us today. In a word, hideous. The D needs to tighten up. I did not expect four sacks out of them today, but I did expect Tennessee to be held under 21 points. The Browns have a pretty impressive defensive line and as well as the coverage provided in the secondary. Sadly, neither made an appearance today.
If next week is a repeat performance, and I do not think it will be, but if it is, then it will be with great concern I approach the 2019 season with this team. Here’s hoping there is a drastic turn-around come Monday night when the Browns face off against the Jets.