Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “Cleveland Browns”

Well, wasn’t that something special today?

browns lose bengalsThere are plenty of storylines to discuss following the Cleveland Browns disappointing 30-0 loss on Sunday to the Cincinnati Bengals.

We could talk about how a team that was once 7-4 now needs to win at least one of its final two games to avoid its seventh consecutive losing season.

Or perhaps we can examine how a defense that looked some dominant the past two weeks gave up 244 rushing yards and allowed Jeremy Hill to rush for 148 yards and two touchdowns.

Speaking of the running game, how about Isaiah Crowell rushing for all of 17 yards on seven carries? In his past three games, the Crow has rushed 38 times for a 2.6 yard-per-carry average. But he has a cool Twitter handle, so apparently all is good.

Maybe you’d be interested in looking at how, on the game’s opening drive, the Bengals were the beneficiaries of three questionable penalty calls – a non-call on a blatant hold against Paul Kruger, and two dubious penalties against the Browns on third downs that kept Cincinnati’s touchdown drive.

But let’s be realistic; there is only one story that needs to be discussed following what is unquestionably the Browns worse loss of the year, and that is the first start by rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel.

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Johnny on the spot

johnny manziel starterThe Cleveland Browns made it official earlier today – it’s time for Johnny Football to take over.

In announcing the switch, head coach Mike Pettine challenged the entire offense to step up its game over the final three weeks of the season.

“The move was made because of the lack of performance at the (quarterback) position over the last four games … but (the offensive players) have to understand it was as a unit,” Pettine said. “If we don’t pick up our play around the quarterback, we’d be extremely foolish to expect different results.

“I challenged the team today. We all share in the joy of a win; we all share in the agony of a loss. Everybody has to pick up their play as we head down the stretch.”

We have to preface everything we are about to write by pointing out that this is 100 percent the correct call. Brian Hoyer, at least as far as this season is concerned, has hit his ceiling as the starting quarterback for the Browns and a change needed to be made.

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Don’t blame Mike Pettine for being loyal to his players

pettine loyal to hoyerThere are plenty of words to describe the Cleveland Browns loss to Indianapolis on Sunday.

Disappointing. Frustrating.  Exasperating. Frustrating. Take your pick – they all work.

Even though the loss probably put an end to the Browns hopes of making the playoffs, that doesn’t mean that head coach Mike Pettine was wrong to stick with Brian Hoyer as the starting quarterback for the game.

Hoyer received a lot – OK, probably all – the blame from many quarters for the loss, but we still understand Pettine’s reasons for keeping Hoyer in the starting spot. They made sense, regardless of the outcome, and reveal why we believe that no matter how strange the coaching search was last winter, the Browns walked away with a coach who gets it.

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Browns season may have come to a close in loss to Colts

browns lost to coltsThe Cleveland Browns entered Sunday’s game against Indianapolis knowing that one more loss and their dreams of making the playoffs this season were down.

Head coach Mike Pettine and the team went into the biggest game of the year backing quarterback Brian Hoyer, who was coming off a five-game stretch during November that featured some of the poorest quarterback play seen in these parts in a while – and that’s saying something.

On Sunday, the team had Hoyer’s back (except for running backs Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West, who averaged just 3.7 yards per carry against a Colts defense that came into the game giving up 4.5 per carry. Oh, and kicker Billy Cundiff; definitely Cundiff.) But Hoyer couldn’t reward the faith that his coach and his teammates had shown in him.

And because of that, the season is pretty much over for the Browns.

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Can Brian Hoyer reward Mike Pettine’s faith in him?

pettine and hoyerThe Cleveland Browns return home on Sunday to face the Indianapolis Colts in the penultimate home game of the 2014 NFL season.

It seems like only yesterday that quarterback Brian Hoyer was rallying the Browns in the second half of the season-opening game against Pittsburgh.

Now the Browns need that Hoyer (or at least a close proximity) to show up if they hope to turn an encouraging season into a special one.

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Is it time to unleash Johnny Football on the NFL?

browns quarterback situationWho should get the starting nod at quarterback for the Cleveland Browns this Sunday against Indianapolis – Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel?

That’s the question facing head coach Mike Pettine, and if he gets the answer correct the Browns just may be able to extend the season into January.

Hoyer has forced the coaching staff into making a decision based on his play during the month of November. Despite helping the Browns go 3-2 over a five-game stretch, Hoyer only completed 54 percent of his passes, while throwing for three touchdowns against eight interceptions, resulting in a quarterback rating of 66.2 for the month.

That performance is reminiscent of Derek Anderson’s December to forget in 2007, when he put up a month that saw him complete 53 percent of his passes, threw eight interceptions against seven touchdowns, and posted a quarterback rating of 66.6 as the Browns missed out on a playoff spot.

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What if we told you …

browns lose billsWhat if we told you that on Sunday in Buffalo, the Cleveland Browns did the following?

  • Held the Bills to just 287 yards of total offense.
  • Limited the Bills to two-of-15 on third down, with the first successful third-down conversion coming with seven minutes left in the game.
  • Intercepted Buffalo quarterback Kyle Orton twice.
  • Held Buffalo wide receiver Sammy Watkins to three receptions for 11 yards.
  • Held the Bills to just a lone offensive touchdown.

You would probably say that the Browns won.

Now what if we told you that Johnny Manziel played almost the entire fourth quarter – and it wasn’t because Brian Hoyer was injured?

That was the case on Sunday as the Browns fell to the Bills in yet another disappointing loss to a team that the Browns really should have beaten.

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Can the Browns rewrite the script against Buffalo?

terrance west browns billsThe Cleveland Browns shuffle off to Buffalo on Sunday to take on the Bills in the latest in a series of games that are vitally important to Cleveland’s playoff hopes.

It’s great that the Browns are beating on the NFC South like, well like Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Baltimore regularly beat on the Browns, but Cleveland needs to start working on its conference record, which currently is a pedestrian 4-4. (Only Baltimore’s is worse among teams that are holding playoff aspirations.)

The Browns can do themselves a lot of good this weekend on several levels if they can take care of the Bills. A win gets the Browns to 8-4 heading into what should be a tough December schedule, and pushes the Bills a bit higher up next spring’s draft order, a key incentive as the Browns hold Buffalo’s No. 1 pick come the spring.

On the surface, it seems as if this game shouldn’t be a tough one for the Browns; after all, how hard can it be to beat a team quarterbacked by Kyle Orton and his 39-38 career record?

But we have been down this road before with Jacksonville and Houston, teams that beat up on the Browns in no small part because of their defensive line play.

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Browns may have saved season against Atlanta

pettine beats falconsIt has been 24 hours and a small part of us is still wondering just how the Cleveland Browns walked out of Atlanta with a victory on Sunday.

It may not have been pretty at times – OK, it was downright ugly at times – but the win symbolized what this current Browns team is all about as, more times than not, they find a way to win.

The victory brings the Browns to 7-4 and keeps them very much in the playoff race in the AFC North Division. The record represents the team’s best mark after 11 games since 2007 (we’ll come back to that season in a little bit), and is just the fourth time since returning to the NFL in 1999 that they have won at least seven games.

The win was also the team’s second consecutive on the road and their third road victory of the year. It was 2008 since the last time the Browns achieved either of those marks. The Browns have also yet to lose consecutive games this season.

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Browns start decisive two-game stretch today in Atlanta

browns falcons previewToday marks the start of a two-game stretch that could define the season for the Cleveland Browns.

First up are the Atlanta Falcons, who despite being just 4-6 currently sit in first place in the NFC South Division thanks to their 4-0 record within the division. (Ironically, the Browns are in last place in the AFC North Division with a 6-4 record. Go figure).

After the Falcons, the Browns will travel … somewhere … to take on the Buffalo Bills.

If the Browns play well, the games against the Falcons and the Bills are winnable ones. Take care of business these next two games, and the Browns will enter the final quarter of the season at 8-4 and carrying a real shot at 10 wins and a potential playoff position.

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