Monday, September 26, 2016

Browns Recap 9.26.16: Browns @ Dolphins: The Good, The Meh & The Ugly

The Cleveland Browns fell short in overtime vs the Dolphins 30-24, are now 0-3
By Katelin Marshall, @KatelinKnowsCLE

The Browns had many opportunities to win this game but their kicker basically blew the game for them like the Warriors blew their 3-1 lead in the 2016 NBA Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers. (Who, by the way, start up preseason this week)
There was lot of good in this game, considering the week the Browns had on the injury front. And all credit goes to Hue Jackson and his coaching staff for putting a really good game plan together. This game made me a believer in Hue Jackson.

The Good

First, the offense played really well under rookie quarterback Cody Kessler. Kessler was 21/33 for 244 yards and only had one turnover which was fumble on the first drive. Kessler did exactly what he was suppose to do. He managed the game extremely well.The play calling was conservative at times with a lot of slant routes and three step drops but it played to Kessler's strengths Yes, it started out shaky with the two fumbles but he settled down and got into a really nice rhythm. This game by Kessler left me wanting to see more of him, which is a win in my book...and more importantly the Browns coaching staffs' book.

Second, the running game has returned to Cleveland. The Browns averaged 5.3 yards per rushing attempt. Isaiah Crowell ran for 79 yards on 15 rushes, Duke Johnson had 69 yards on 10 rushes, and Terrelle Pryor had 21 yards on 4 rushes and a touchdown. It was surprising to see how well the Browns could run the ball with the Dolphins stacking the box. The running game under Hue Jackson is starting to compare to the Bengals. With Crowell being the "bell cow back" (compared to Jeremy Hill) and Johnson is the "third down scat back" (compared to Gio Bernard).

Third, the Browns rush defense was really good...well besides the last play of the game. Danny Shelton has grown leaps and bounds since last year. Shelton consistently drew double teams during running plays. Another plus was Christian Kirksey. He ended up with 9 total tackles which was only second to Jordan Poyer who had 13 total tackles. Kirksey played well not just in the run defense but in pass defense. Kirksey is ranked as one of the best coverage linebackers in the NFL.

Last, but certainly not least, Terrelle Pryor. Pryor was unbelievable. He wasn't just a threat on the ground but he threw the ball too. He was 3/5 for 35 yards...and oh the actual position he played wide receiver he had eight receptions for 144 yards. Pryor is one of the best athletes in the NFL and was the best player on the field Sunday.  Pryor is the heart and soul of this team and you can tell how much he wants to win. Sunday he did everything in his power to do that.

The "Meh"

The Offensive line was solid. Now to be fair they would have been part of the good, but Austin Pasztor might be the worst right tackle in the NFL. He had five or six penalties which resulted in over 30 lost yards. Now the Offensive line did give up three sack and I believe two of them were given up on the right side of the line. Now to the positive of the pass protection. Kessler was given ample time in the pocket to go through his progressions. The entire line besides Pasztors played really well.

Greco, who was playing center for the first time since 2014, didn't have a good start with the errant snap on the first drive. But after that he was a key cog in the pass protection and the run blocking. Another guy who should get some credit is Alvin Bailey who started at right guard with Greco at center. Bailey was a starting o-lineman for Seattle the past few years. Bailey isn't really known for his pass protection but he is a monster in the run game. He was a huge factor in the Browns ability to run the ball for 5.3 yards per attempt.

The last "Meh" was the Browns pass defense which includes the pass rush. Yes they forced two interceptions and a fumble but they did give up 300 yards with Jarvis Landry going for 120 yards and seven catches. Now the secondary was without two of their starters (Joe Haden and Ibraheim Campbell) and they played well at times, But it seemed like the Browns struggled with getting to Ryan Tannehill. The time few time they did, it resulted in a fumble and an interception by Briean Boddy-Calhoun who returned it for a touchdown. The down on the secondary was they couldn't cover the crossing route which is how Landry got most of his yards and his touchdown. The Dolphins ran the crossing route multiple times and each time it seemed the Browns had no answer for it. Now without reviewing the tape I'm a bit unsure what defense was called on those plays and to blame the play calling or the youth of the secondary.

The "Ugly"

*Note Austin Pasztor should be part of the Ugly but the o-line group played well as a whole...and that is how we should judge and offensive line.

THE UGLY is the kicker Cody Parkey. Parkey, a former PRO-BOWLER, missed THREE field goals...yes THREE including the potential game winning field goal from 48 yards. This was the worst kicking game I've ever seen. I get it, the kicker was just signed on Friday and didn't have any rhythm with the long snapper and holder but the guy missed THREE KICKS!!!! Kickers have one job, and he failed. I have a feeling he's gonna get fired on his day off.

Sunday MVP

Terrelle Pryor and this one is pretty easy. When you have 200 total yards and make history while doing it you're the real MVP. He literally did everything he could to win this game. His performance is everything you want in a Cleveland Brown.


This is another one of those win-win games for the Browns. A lot of good teaching moments along with a lot of great performances. In hindsight we might look back on this game and be glad we lost. Usually these are one of the four game we win a year that end up messing up our draft position.

This game was an emotional roller coaster but we did learn this team has heart and won't give up...and Hue Jackson is a damn good Head Coach.

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