Monday, September 14, 2015

On The Mark 9.14.15: #Browns v. #Jets Recap

Same Old Browns:  Sloppy, embarrassing Browns drop 11th season opener in a row 31-10 to the Jets
By @MarkW2112

Hello, Browns fans, and welcome to another year of On The Mark Browns recaps.  It was yet another season opening of embarrassing, unprepared Cleveland Browns football, leading to a 31-10 blow out that had a promising start but a horrific, if not utterly predicable, finish for the 11th loss in a row of a season opener.

The Browns first drive on offense had the makings of a surprising day.  Josh McCown was bringing the offense down the field, getting them to near the goal line.  What happened when they got there can only be described as something that only seems to happen to the Browns.  On third-and-goal from the 14 yard line, McCown ran the ball towards the end zone, only to dive about 2 yards too much and getting hit in the head, making him lose the football and spin around mid air.  The fumble was recovered by the Jets in the end zone for a touchback and McCown was literally knocked out of the game with a concussion.

Enter Johnny Manziel, who threw an incredible 54 touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin to make it 7-0.  After that, it was all Jets.  Manziel went on to throw for 182 yards, a touchdown and an interception but also fumbled the ball twice which led to Jets points.

The run game was non existent, as Manziel led all rushers with 35 yards on the ground.  Starter Isaiah Crowell carried 12 times for only 20 yards while rookie Duke Johnson rushed for 22 yards on 7 carries.  It was an ugly day for the receivers who dropped many well thrown balls to them.  The exception was an amazing one handed catch by Brian Hartline while on his back for a first down.  

The Browns defense, which was supposed to be better at stopping the run, did nothing to distance themselves from the awful run defenses of the past.  Chris Ivory had 91 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns while Bilal Powell rushed for 62 yards on 12 carries.  The secondary fared no better, with Joe Haden seeming to have issues with Brandon Marshall all day.  Marshall finished the day with 62 receiving yards and a touchdown.  Eric Decker also had a touchdown for Ryan Fitzpatrick, who seemed to coast along without even being touched by the Browns front line.  Fitzpatrick passed for 179 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception.

My thoughts:  The Browns, as usual, are a mess.  They've lost 11 season openers in a row. The run offense was MIA and the run defense couldn't hold anyone. Josh McCown's ill advised leap in to the end zone sealed the Browns doom.  While Manziel did OK in his absence, he still looks raw and unready to lead the team.  That said, it may be a better option for Mike Pettine to start Manziel for the rest of the season to see what the team has in him.  The Browns will more than likely finish last in the AFC Central so having Johnny start wouldn't really matter at this point.  The biggest disappointment was how unprepared and sloppy the Brown were from start to finish.  It was a disgusting display on both ends of the ball.  And there's still 15 more games to go.  

Player of the game: Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was able to control his mistakes and make the plays when he needed to.

Play of the day: Manziel's 54 yard touchdown pass to Benjamin, his first passing touchdown as a pro.

Play of the day 2: Hartline's amazing 1 handed catch to convert a first down.

Turning point:  McCown's fumble at the goal line which turned the momentum over to the Jets and knocked him out of the game.

Turning Point 2: Tashaun Gipson intercepted a ball from Fitzpatrick but was stripped by Brandon Marshall and recovered at the Browns 2 yard line.  The Jets were able to score and make it 7-7.  Gipson keeps that ball, it may have been a different story.

Next up:  the home opener against the Tennessee Titans at 1 PM next Sunday the 20th.

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