The Cleveland Browns are in need of a victory after a difficult to watch blowout loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Chargers. They are traveling down to Tampa Bay to clash with the Buccaneers and here’s how they can pull off a win.
Bounce Back Baker – Probably the most obvious factor is a good performance from Baker Mayfield. He has to make smarter decisions. Taking five sacks and throwing two interceptions is not a part of a winning formula. Coming out of halftime to throw a pick on the first play is unacceptable and cannot happen again because it kills whatever momentum you had. Additionally, you allowed the Joey Bosa-less Chargers to get after your quarterback five times. Pressure happens and you can’t avoid it sometimes, but you can be smart and get rid of the ball instead of taking a sack.
Receivers Need to Step Up – The Browns receiver room has caught the injury bug, big time, but that is no excuse. The next man needs to step up and that all starts with Jarvis Landry. He looked frustrated the majority of the game last Sunday and I understand why, finishing with two catches for 11 yards. He was targeted 10 times, though. Landry needs to keep his head in the game whether he is frustrated or not. People, including him, have to understand with a weakened group of wide receivers that teams will try to take Jarvis out the game and force others to beat them. Everyone will get their opportunities, but they must produce. Drops are killing the rhythm of the offense and that falls on them.
Establish the Run – With one of the heads cut off the three-headed monster (Carlos Hyde traded to Jacksonville), Hue Jackson can finally do what he said and get Duke Johnson and Nick Chubb more touches. It’s tough to give three backs enough touches and Hyde is a rhythm guy who gets better as the game goes on. Chubb and Duke are just too explosive to ignore. Chubb is averaging 10.8 yards per carry and we have all seen what Johnson is capable of. This move will immediately shift Chubb into the starting role and Johnson should see an increased role as well. We lost some power, but we gained speed and explosiveness.
Stop the Big Play – The Chargers embarrassed the Browns defense last week. I can’t even count on both my hands how many gains of 10 or more yards we allowed. Tyrell Williams reached the end zone on a 45-yard and a 29-yard pass. Unacceptable. Tampa Bay has Mike Williams, DeSean Jackson and the emerging Chris Godwin, so the Browns will have their hands full with the pass-happy Buccaneers. They lead the league in passing yards per game (368.4) and have 16 touchdowns through the air compared to just one rushing touchdown by Ryan Fitzpatrick. This is the area of focus and Cleveland must shut down their aerial assault in order to be victorious.
Force Turnovers (and score) – Cleveland has been a turnover machine forcing 16 on the year, but don’t have much to show for it. They can’t seem to capitalize and that is what’s hurting them. The Browns defense must come up with at least one interception. Jameis Winston has a 9-18 record when throwing an interception and when he throws at least two, his record drops to 2-12. The science isn’t perfect, but Cleveland can pull this off. It comes down to being effective and taking advantage of field position.