Oops! On the first Cleveland Browns possession the ball slips out of Johnny Manziel’s hands for a fumble. Result…three points for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Oops! For most of the afternoon the running game was measured in negative yardage. Result…a day that had the Cleveland Browns facing third and long all afternoon. Oops! A gimping and for the most part untouched Ben Roethlisberger stays in the pocket and throws for 379 yards as Cleveland tries to defend the Steelers receivers then later tries to attack Pittsburgh’s non-mobile QB in the pocket. Result…Three Pittsburgh touchdowns.
Oops! Illegal Block In The Back Penalty moves ball back to the Brown’s ten yard line. Result…three and out and great field position for Pittsburgh. Oops! Johnny Manziel gets sacked six times. Result…as he put it, “I learned a lot from the game” especially how many new places on his body can get bruised. Oops! During a Pittsburgh field goal attempt Cleveland is called for “Leverage” when a Defensive player tries to climb the wall put up by the Pittsburgh Offensive line. Result…Pittsburgh goes on to score seven points.
The low water mark of the game and possibly the season was when Johnny Manziel ran the ball to the one foot line. On the next play a touchdown is called back because of a penalty. A pre-snap penalty moves the ball back to the 15 yard and one foot line where Manziel gets sacked instead of throwing the ball away. After a 14 yard gain and facing 4th and 7 the ball is intercepted in the end zone. That is about as low as it can get.
A special note to Cleveland runners…stop with the fancy jitter bugging dance and just run the ball down field…the Defense is not being fooled by your ants in the pants antics and are clobbering you…also, you get more yardage by avoiding players in uniforms that do not match yours.
Add to this the Oops of seven attempts during one series in the redzone to score and getting nothing, various fumbles, penalties (including the usual collection of pre-snap penalties) and just plain Dawg Bone Headed plays including allowing Pittsburgh to march down the field on their last drive and it was a day that had Cleveland fans crying in their beer. When the smoke had cleared, Cleveland had been charged for 12 penalties for a whopping 188 yards. On the injury front, DL Randy Starks left the game in the second quarter with a knee injury and did not return. WR Andrew Hawkins received a concussion in the fourth quarter as did WR Taylor Gabriel.
OT Joe Thomas had this to say about the team and the coaching staff. “You always look at the effort players are giving and from what I saw guys were playing extremely hard all the way to the end even when you are down a few scores so I don’t see any loss of command or anything like that. I still see guys playing really hard for him (Coach Pettine). We’re just not executing the way we really need to,” Thomas said.
Next Sunday is a BYE week as fans around the world say bye-bye to all hopes for this season. On the plus side, Manziel was 33-45 for 372 yards and showed that he was able to scramble out of trouble although he held onto the ball too long for six sacks. Right now, the Cleveland Browns are in shambles. We simply do not have enough healthy team members of caliber that can win games. The secondary when not being beat for huge gains gave away large chunks of real estate through pass interference penalties. Crowell looked horrible against the Pittsburgh Defense while Duke Johnson managed to pound away for positive yardage. What needs to be done is a top to bottom evaluation of the team in each and every position with an eye towards winning games.
Starting at the Quarterback position we should keep Manziel in for the rest of the season in order to get the experience he needs to carry into next season. In the off-season the Browns need to find Linebackers, Wide Receivers and Tight Ends who can catch AND run. We need to scrutinize why our running game is a huge failure and what changes need to be made to protect the Quarterback. On Defense we need to control the edge while getting in the opposing QB’s face.
In order to be competitive in the NFL you need to take 53 men of different backgrounds, skills and learning levels and personalities and have them perform perfectly for one hour of game time. The Cleveland Browns are not there by any means. Use the remaining games like you would the pre-season to evaluate performance and during the off-season begin to form a winning team.
After the 30-9 loss in Pittsburgh, Cleveland Browns owner, Jimmy Haslam was asked by reporters if there were to be any changes during the bye week. His reply was, “No change,” as Haslam stood in support of Head Coach Mike Pettine and General Manager Ray Farmer. With the team at 2-8 and under the Baltimore Ravens (2-7) in the AFC North Division standings, Haslam has asked the coaching staff to do some “soul searching” over the bye week in an effort to salvage at least a portion of the season. Yesterday’s defeat is the fifth consecutive loss and the 13th out of 15 games dating back to last season. Mike Pettine is the fifth coach in nine seasons.
When former Cleveland Browns Head Coach, Sam Rutigliano was interviewed by 92.3 FM The Fan he was asked about Jimmy Haslam’s comments concerning his support of the coaching staff. Laughingly, Sam remarked that he heard the same line from Art Modell and was fired that night.
The situation has gotten so bad for the Browns faithful that they are resorting to desperate means of protest. Tony Sansavera of North Ridgeville and a life-long Cleveland Browns fan said that he has had enough of poor play calling and penalties after watching Sunday’s 30-9 pummeling by Pittsburgh. After the game was over he grabbed a shovel, went out into his back yard and buried his custom made jersey marking the “grave” with a Browns hat.
Cleveland’s next game is at home on Monday, Nov. 30, 2015 against the Baltimore Ravens in the battle of the basement. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN with play by play on Cleveland Classic Rock WNCX 98.5 FM. Tickets for the game are available by clicking HERE. Go Browns.