Week 1 is in the books and having a short week to forget about the awful Browns loss is definitely for the better. The Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals are both coming off losses and quickly preparing for their Week 2 showdown this Thursday night in First Energy Stadium for the Browns’ home opener.
Last year, the Browns and Bengals split their season series: the Browns won 27-19 at home, while the Bengals, led by Andy Dalton, won 33-23 at Paul Brown Stadium on the last game of the season and ultimately and nearly instantly led to the firing of Freddie Kitchens. The Bengals finished the season with a league-worst 2-14 record, which allowed them to secure the first overall pick of the NFL Draft thus drafting former LSU quarterback and national champion, Joe Burrow, as expected.
Joe Burrow’s first NFL start ended in a heartbreaking loss against the Los Angeles Chargers, but his debut performance was not a bad showing. He went 23 for 36, passed for 192 yards, a touchdown run and threw an interception. Burrow marched the Bengals’ offense late in the 4th quarter and put them in good field position for a game-tying field goal, but with two seconds left on the clock, Bengals kicker Randy Bullock missed the attempt and Cincinnati lost, 16-13.
The Browns, however, are coming off a pathetic 38-6 loss to the Ravens and there were many factors to their abysmal performance. Baker Mayfield overall looked uncomfortable in the pocket, completed 21 of 39 passes, had an interception (on the very first drive) and a touchdown pass to TE David Njoku, which seemed like the only highlight of the game for the Browns. K Austin Seibert missed the PAT following Njoku’s touchdown catch and missed wide right on a 41-yard field goal attempt. Seibert was cut from the roster the next day. Even though the offense could not put up more than six points on the board, what was really lacking was the defense, who had no chance against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense. The high motored Baltimore offense scored 38 points and had 381 yards on scrimmage. But what seemed talk of the town after the game and for the past few days is the bad chemistry of Odell Beckham Jr. His wide open drop on 3rd & 2, the inaccurate passes to him from Baker and his bad body language on the field and sidelines. The conversations and debates started immediately post-game on what the Browns can do to get OBJ involved in the playmaking and whether or not he should be let go. Rumors swirled around the NFL this week about him being on the trading block. These are all very bad signs for this organization, but buckle up folks, we’re only one game into the 2020 season.
With all that being said, it’s a new week for the Cleveland Browns and a fresh new start and mindset needs to be utilized. The Bengals are a completely different team then who they were last year and the Browns understand. The Browns had the past few days to identify all the mistakes they made versus the Ravens, work on solutions and this Thursday night, they have the opportunity to show that they can drastically improve in a short week and come out swinging. Having some fans in attendance at First Energy Stadium can give the Browns home field advantage and the boost they need playing Cincinnati, but ultimately, it will need to come back to doing all the little things right. Being accurate, keeping the chains moving, scoring points and stopping the opponent on defense. Even though the Browns struggled with that Sunday afternoon, they can make it happen and get their first victory of the 2020 season this Thursday night against Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals.