Week 8: Positives and Negatives

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It wasn’t pretty, but the Browns were able to come out of a Week 8 showdown with the Raiders with a win. The lack of flash from the Browns has certainly been cause for concern. Personally, I think it’s worth pointing out that the NFL is a week-by-week league and although the Browns haven’t looked real good these past two weeks, that doesn’t necessarily mean that trend will continue. For example, the Colts blanked the Bengals last week, but came out and gave up 51 points to Pittsburgh. The NFL really is like a box of chocolates-you never know what you’re going to get. My outlook on the Browns remains optimistic.

This article is usually written by my colleague, Chris Sladoje, but he was unable to write it this week. From where I stand, here’s a look at some of the positives and negatives from this week’s game:

Positives:

They won: This can’t be over-emphasized. They won. We’re 4-3. They’re in playoff contention. Enough said.

The resolve of Mike Pettine to not be over-eager to put in Johnny Manziel: Brian Hoyer has had his share of struggles lately and judging by all the chatter on Twitter, it’s must be hard to not listen to the critics calling for Manziel. Pettine is sticking to the quarterback who has brought him here: Brian Hoyer. Johnny shouldn’t be rushed into playing, especially with the lack of a running game and a receiver core that can get open consistently. We haven’t had a coach like Pettine before. I like what we have going here.

The defense showed up and took care of business: Although there were times when Carr had all day to throw, the Browns did get to Carr on occasion, sacking him 4 times. The Browns got great plays from their safeties, Tashaun Gipson who came up with a big interception, and Donte Whitner who forced a key fumble. The Browns forced turnovers, limited chunk plays, deflected passes, and did everything a good defensive team should do to a bad team. We only surrendered a touchdown late in the fourth with the game already well at hand.

The Browns took care of a bad team at home: As I said on Twitter earlier today, this is the type of game the “same old Browns” probably would have lost. The Browns came in expecting to win, and they won.

Negatives:

A complete lack of a run game: The fault here is spread across the whole offense. Today it was glaring that the Browns lack a weapon in the passing game that the defense has to devote multiple defenders to stop. This allows the defense to put more defenders in the box to stop the run. Also, the offensive line is struggling without its leader, Alex Mack. For this reason, the run game is lacking. The Browns offense is focused on the run game opening up the play action game, which is ineffective without a solid running game. It’s a vicious cycle the Browns need to address.

Jordan Cameron suffered a head injury and left the game: You know how I just said the Browns lacked a weapon in the passing game? Well, Cameron is perhaps the best option on the roster. It’s always a negative when he’s not on the field.

Travis Benjamin fumbled…again: A great jump start for the Browns could have been a big return, but once again Travis Benjamin proved unreliable.

Brian Hoyer made some bad throws: Although he didn’t surrender an interception, he probably should have. Fact is the Raiders are bad defense that didn’t capitalize when they had some opportunities.

 

A win is never bad, but it would be irresponsible for the Browns to think that they can continue to play like this and get wins against good teams. We face another struggling team next week. The Browns need to show improvement before a huge Thursday night showdown with the Bengals in Cincinnati.

 

-Written by Ben Belden (@CST_BenB).

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