Brian Hoyer was going to have a “short leash” against the Colts
Positives: The defense looked good:
Secondary: Yes, I realized that T.Y. Hilton was able to go off for 10 receptions for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns, but they were able to hold Andrew Luck, arguably the best quarterback in the NFL, to 294 yards, a 45% completion percentage, 2 interceptions, a fumble, and a 59.8 QB rating. Luck averages 334.3 passing yards per game, has a 63.7% completion percentage, has thrown 34 touchdowns, and has a QB rating of 103.0. Joe Haden, Justin Gilbert, Donte Whitner, and Jim Leonhard played a great game. Joe Haden played his typical All-Pro type game, Justin Gilber had a pick-six, Donte Whitner was his usual self with 6 tackles and 2 pass deflections, and Jim Leonhard had a pick and a sack in his best game as a Brown.
Pass Rush: Coming into the game, the Colts offensive line allowed only 1.8 sacks per game and 5.8 QB hits per game. The Browns pass rush was able to get to Luck 3 times, resulting in 25 yards lost due to sacks. More impressive was the 13 QB hits the Browns were able to get on Luck. Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo were in the backfield all day, as they combined for 2 sacks and 7 QB hits. Kruger was also able to force Andrew Luck to fumble the ball in the end-zone, which resulted in a Craig Robertson touchdown.
Run Defense: It’s not saying much when you are able to stop the Colts run game, but nonetheless, the Browns were able to do it. Excluding Andrew Luck, the Browns held the Colts running backs to just 56 rush yards on 15 carries, an average of 3.7 yards per carry. Former Browns running back, Trent Richardson was held to 30 yards on the day, though he did average 4.3 yards a carry, his third highest total of the season.
Negatives: The offense looked bad:
Brian Hoyer: The most important game in Brian Hoyer’s career and he fell flat on his face. 14-for-31 for 140 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions most likely ends Hoyer’s time as the starting quarterback for the Browns, but who knows what Mike Pettine is thinking right now (maybe if I just give him one more shot). Hoyer was supposed to have a short leash in the game, but apparently that was just a ploy to get the Colts to prepare for both Hoyer and Manziel.
Josh Gordon: The guy that was suppose to open up the entire Browns offense, had 2 catches for 15 yards on 7 targets. Gordon also dropped a pass on the Browns final drive that would have put them in (or close to) field goal position. Hopefully Manziel and Gordon get on the same page.
Billy Cundiff: Cundiff has now missed a field goal in five consecutive games, and is 22-for-28 on the season. It may have seemed insignificant at the time of his miss, but had Cundiff made his first field goal, the Browns would most likely have won the game.
Mike Pettine: I’m not sure why he didn’t put Manizel in the game. The Browns had 15 total drives in the game, and only 1 resulted in 50 yards or more. If the offense ever needed some new life, this was the game to do it. Instead we now question whether Pettine will ever give the reins over to Manziel.
Run Offense: Against a Colts defense that allowed Jonas Grey to run for over 200 yards on them in week 11, the Browns were only able to muster 111 yards on 31 carries, an average of 3.6 yards per rush.
— Chris Sladoje (@CST_Doje)
Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images