Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Browns lose to Steelers. What else is new?

browns beaten steelersWe’ll start with the good point from the Cleveland Browns latest loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Because, shockingly enough, there was a bright spot in the Browns 27-11 loss, the 16th time the Browns have loss to the Steelers with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and the 24th time they have lost to the Steelers in the past 28 meetings.

Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon tied a team record with 14 receptions and set a franchise record with 237 receiving yards. Gordon remains the lone bright spot on an otherwise dismal offense.

Gordon also scored the Browns lone touchdown on the day, a one-yard pass from Brandon Weeden. And the fact that we just told you Weeden was in the game tells you everything you need to know about how things went for the Browns.

The Browns are done, at least on offense, and there is the very real possibility that they are going to finish the season at 4-12.

If there were any holdouts who thought that Weeden was holding the Browns back and that Jason Campbell “looking better” than Weeden had any correlation to winning should not be allowed to watch this team the rest of year. Wait a minute, that’s actually a prize at this point.

For the second consecutive week, Campbell couldn’t get anything going on offense, putting up all of three points, finishing the day 14-of-22 for 124 yards and being sacked twice. He left the game with a concussion in the third quarter after he was hit in the head by cornerback William Gay on a sack, the same type of play that drew a penalty last week when it was Drew Brees on the receiving end of the hit. The fact that the hit on Campbell drew nary a second thought from the officials tells you how the league views the Browns.

Making matters worse is that Campbell fumbled on the sack, with Pittsburgh’s Will Allen recovering and advancing the ball to the Browns’ four-yard line. Need we say that the Steelers scored on the very next play? Because they did, pretty much putting any hope of a Browns comeback on ice.

Enter Weeden, with the Browns trailing 20-3. Weeden put up OK numbers in garbage time, but it didn’t really matter as he contributed one of the three fumbles the Browns loss, threw a pick six and took three of the five sacks the Browns gave up.

Speaking of sacks, Roethlisberger entered the game as the third-most sacked quarterback in the NFL, and had taken the most red-zone sacks in the league. Of course, the Browns didn’t come close to sacking him all game.

A week after making Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton look silly, the Browns defense was never able to put any pressure on the Steelers. The turnovers and general ineffectiveness of the offense didn’t help, but the defense just wasn’t able to make any kind of game-changing play.

But this game was about the Browns offense, which is a complete mess. Other than Gordon, there is absolutely no one that the opposing defense has to give a second thought about.

The running game continues to be a joke and, for the second consecutive game, Chris Ogbonnaya had a killer fumble near the end of the first half – we may be starting to see why the coaching staff has been reluctant to give him more carries.

After a strong start with 30 catches for 360 yards and five touchdowns through the season’s first four games, tight end Jordan Cameron has become an after-thought in the offense. Everyone wanted to blame Weeden for Cameron’s disappearance in the offense, but we’ve had four games of Campbell at quarterback and Cameron has been just as invisible.

This all circles back to the quarterback, however, Neither Weeden or Campbell are fit to be starting quarterbacks in the NFL, but the Browns are stuck with them for the next five games, which is why 4-12 is a very real possibility.

The Browns have now lost five of their past six games. All the hope and optimism from the win against Baltimore is long gone.

“It’s disappointing,” coach Rob Chudzinski said. “Losing is never easy. We weren’t good enough today. Give Pittsburgh credit. “We’ve missed opportunities the last two weeks. The men in that locker room there have a lot of character, and I believe in them and believe in our coaches. We have lost some of the control we had in our own future, but we will bounce back and be ready to play next week.”

It’s great for Chudzinski to say the team is going to bounce back. It’s much harder to see how that is possible with the offense in its current state.

There are five games to go in another lost season, Browns fans. Only five more weeks until the misery ends for another season.

P.S. Can we stop it already with the brown pants?

(Photo courtesy of The Plain Dealer)

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