It’s never perfect here in Cleveland with our football team.
The Browns were able to pull off quite the thrilling win in Cincinnati, 37-34. Even though the team was expected to win, the old saying goes, “A win is a win.” Unfortunately, star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. sustained a serious knee injury and it was confirmed on Monday morning to be a torn ACL. Season over.
What was odd is it the Browns and specifically, Baker Mayfield played better once OBJ left the game. After all, it was WR Donovan Peoples-Jones that made the fantastic game-winning catch and not say OBJ himself. The Browns were able to win despite missing such a crucial piece. Also, RB Nick Chubb is still hurt and RB Kareem Hunt had to carry the load. 18 rushes for 76 yards and three catches for 26 yards and a touchdown. Not bad…
Does this team need work? Duhhhhhh.
But, at the beginning of the season, if someone asked me if I would take a 5-2 record, well, I would’ve screamed a few obscenities before a profoundly firm YES.
It doesn’t feel like such a great start to the season, though.
This OBJ injury adds such a damper to the win. But frankly, anyone who wants to blame Baker for the injury because of a bad throw that resulted in an INT and subsequently made OBJ a defender – stop. It was simply an unfortunate play that resulted in the tear. No need to blame anyone, especially a leader of the team.
Speaking of Baker, those that spent all of last week criticizing him were silenced (after those first five throws).
First five: 0-5 with an INT.
22/23, 5TDs and a victory. The only incompletion was a spike.
Certainly, if the Browns get the Baker that threw for five touchdowns and was essentially perfect in his delivery, this team can make the playoffs and even compete for a Super Bowl. If the Browns get the Baker that started the game, they’ll be looking for a 2021 quarterback.
Baker simply needs to find that consistency that had him drafted #1 overall in the first place. This back and forth play is not going to last because Mayfield won’t be a starter for much longer. Find a way to keep that solid play and this quarterback has a chance for an amazing career.
As far as the Browns defense goes, it’s not good. Giving up 34 points to the Cincinnati Bengals is actually embarrassing. CB Terrance Mitchell dropped a gift-wrapped interception in the 4th quarter that would have most likely resulted in a run-back for a Browns touchdown to ice the game. Had Baker not made that amazing throw to DPJ to win the game, that drop would have been front and center everywhere.
Besides DE Myles Garrett and CB Denzel Ward, there’s not much to celebrate on that side of the ball. Again, 34 points to the Bengals…seriously???
Looking at the upcoming schedule and the Browns should really win enough of the remaining games to make the playoffs. Yes, that would be exciting, but winning a Super Bowl is the ultimate goal. That’s going to require facing teams in the postseason that will tear this defense to shreds unless changes are made.
Thus, a trade must be negotiated before the November 3rd deadline. Looking towards the future, draft picks and offseason signings must be made to improve this defense and help the Browns become a true contender in the coming years.
One thing that the Browns finally got right after all these years is the head coach. Kevin Stefanski clearly knows what he’s doing, has a great demeanor and has this team heading in the right direction. No one can argue those assertions…
Now, with all of the critiques made by myself and many others, let’s remember this team not too long ago was 0-16. They’re now 5-2. Sure, there is always room for improvement, but it’s exciting to even talk about a season that still matters in some way heading to the halfway point.
Keep on improving and maybe in the not too far future, the Browns will be contending for a Super Bowl.