Monday, December 14, 2015

#Browns Recap 12.14.15: #49ers @ Browns

It took awhile, but we found another team worse than the Cleveland Browns.
By @mrgroce

I have never stepped foot inside of a NFL locker room or practice facility, but I do believe that the past two months have been very frustrating in Berea, Ohio. Today's victory doesn't change or erase all of the bad that has taken place this season, but this one win on an almost 70 degree day in downtown Cleveland will make walking in to watch film tomorrow, and practice on Wednesday feel pretty good.

The Browns won the game 24-10, but it wasn't even that close. The offensive line had by far their best game of the season. They opened up holes and allowed QB Johnny Manziel to take as much time as he needed to look downfield. On one play Johnny literally stood in the pocket and didn't move for about 3 seconds while scanning the field. Manziel finished the game 21 for 31 for 270 yards. He threw one touchdown and one interception. Running back Isaiah Crowell rushed for 145 yard and 2 touchdowns, and Duke Johnson had 13 carries for 78 yards. Six different receivers caught passes, led by Brian Hartline who had 8 catches for 107 yards. Manziel looked poised, prepared, and in command of the offense. He missed on a few throws and made a very bad throw against his body that ended up getting intercepted, but overall there really isn't too much to complain about Manziel's performance this week.

The Browns best defensive performance before today's game was against the Tennessee Titans, but they sort of faded a bit in the second half. Not today. The defensive unit of the Browns had nine sack, and up until a 94-yard drive at the end of the game, had only given up 127 yards of total offense. When 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert wasn't being sacked he was being rushed out of the pocket. He only finished with 194 yards passing. Armonty Bryant and Nate Orchard each had 2 sacks and Desmond Bryant had 1.5. The Browns biggest weakness is their secondary, but due to the constant pressure from the defensive line, they were basically untested.

The Good: Johnny Manziel. Each game Manziel has started he's gotten better. He's being patient, reading the defense before and after the snap, and is seemingly taking what the defense gives him. Due to the fact that he's a scrambling quarterback he's gonna make a few dumb decisions now and then, but you'd have to thing experience will change that.

The Bad: Special Teams. What was once the strongest unit, has now turned into the weakest and scariest. Three weeks in a row the Browns have allowed a kick get blocked. Not only is that not normal, it's unheard of. They have a pretty good kicker back there, how about giving him the best chance to be successful.

Player of the game: To the apologists and Manziel Mafia, this award goes to your guy Johnny Manziel. After being stupid or as some would say "having fun" and being let off of punishment, Manziel came out and got the job done. Although he's thrown for a lot of yards in his last 3 starts, the team is still only averaging 14 pts in those games. To make it in this league you have to score points. I know most of you will ask where can the points come from without weapons, but Josh McCown was able to put a 23 points with those same players. All we can do is hope he continues to progress and make these guys believe that when he's on the field they have a chance.

Next week: The Browns will travel to Seattle to take on the red hot Seahawks.

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