Browns Embarrassed by Titans Heading Into Bye Week

I debated whether or not to wait for the final score to post this recap.  The game was that over that early.  Don’t let a fourth quarter of Browns offense against the prevent defense fool you.  The Browns were schooled on Sunday.  They were schooled so badly that there was a Jake Locker sighting after Tennessee had already put 31 points up on the board.  The Browns defense managed to give up plenty of those and Colt McCoy and the offense gave one away as well.  In the end, I did wait for the final score, Titans 31, Browns 13, but I really shouldn’t have bothered.

In the first half, the Browns gave up far too many big plays than they got of their own.  The defense was gashed by Matt Hasselbeck and his tight end Jared Cook who connected on an 80 yard passing touchdown.  The play was marred by bad coverage (Scott Fujita) and even worse tackling (Usama Young.)  It is the kind of play that just can’t happen.  The Browns bit hard on the draw and the completion was bad enough.  For Usama Young to take as bad an angle to the receiver is unacceptable.  He had the sideline and it should have worked to his advantage, but the big tight end evaded Young and squeezed up the sideline for the score to put the Titans up 14-6.

I’ll give the Browns an asterisk on the long 57 yard pass completion to Nate Washington, because the play should have been negated with a flag.  Rather than run the prevent defense, the Browns sent pressure toward Matt Hasselbeck.  A bit risky, but I can live with it.  What happened though is that there was man-to-man coverage on the two receivers outside and they were allowed to execute a perfectly illegal pick to spring Nate Washington.  Of course the Titans went on to score and go up 21-6 to end the first half.

For now, the rest doesn’t really matter.  It was just bad.

The Cleveland Browns had a chance to head into their bye week 3-1, but they laid an absolute egg instead.  The Browns lost to the Titans in pretty much every phase of the game.  Colt McCoy looked like an absolute rookie.  The defensive line failed miserably putting pressure on Matt Hasselbeck.  The Browns offense moved the ball on occasion, but were unable to score much at all, let alone touchdowns.

And so the Browns head into the bye week at 2-2 instead of 3-1 and feeling as if they could have been 4-0 if they hadn’t given up a freak play to Cincinnati.  Instead of positive thoughts heading into the bye, the Browns will be looking to regroup.  They can regroup.  They can do better.  They need to do better.  They must do better.

On the bright side, there were some Brian Robiskie sightings.  Yes, I’m being sarcastic.

(Also, yes, I know Montario Hardesty had four drops.  I can only pack so much negativity into a single post. Stay tuned to WFNY this week and next for more.)

  • Spencer

    Where was Hillis? Will someone please tell me he got more than the 10 touches it seemed like he did

  • BAJ22

    Ouch, that was painful! OK, I didn’t think the Browns would win, but with the Titans best receiver out, I never, in my wildest nightmare, thought they’d give up 31 points! A 13 – 10 loss is about what I expected. Giving up 31 points is really bad. Only positive is that they were ok against the run. They had no sacks and 1 QB hit. The Titans had 4 sacks and 9 QB hits. I guess the defense has further to go than I thought.

  • pat l

    Don’t we have some guy named Hillis on the Browns? And he’s a good player? sheeesh!!!

  • Subadai

    To sum up:

    we need to find a way to get 2 OGs, two OLBs and a No. 1 WR from the first 4 picks in the draft next year. That math just doesn’t work.

  • Chris

    Hillis 10 carries 46yds for a 4.6 average and 5 catches with no drops. Hardesty 7 carries 22yds for a 3.1 average and 5 catches with 4 drops. It’s pretty obvious who should dominate the ball. Which one is on the Madden cover? Did they think he faked being sick…is it the contract situation? There is no logical reason to keep Hillis on the sideline. Shurmer gets way too fancy with the playcalling. Run the ball down their throat when it’s 3rd and short. Now I know why Rams fans were happy and shocked when he left.

  • AMC

    Outplayed and outcoached in every facet of the game. The Titans look (somewhat surprisingly) like a legitimately solid tram that should contend for a playoff spot, but the Browns made it to easy on them today.

    Biggest concerns:
    – the offensive line continues to struggle in pass protection. Colt has no time to wait for his mediocre receivers to run deep routes, so he’s forced to check down way too much.
    – poor use of personnel by Shurmur. I have no problem with giving Hardesty some touches, but Hillis is still your most proven offensive threat. Where is Evan Moore? Why is Armond Smith even on the field much less getting the ball on a pivotal 4th and 1 (a play that lead to the eventual blowout)?
    – lousy playcalling by Shurmur. Tried to get way too cute on that 4th and 1 and there were way too many plays (again) where the play seemed to be designed for the receiver would need YAC to get a 1st down. I have MAJOR questions about Shurmur after 4 games – McCoy bailed him out last week and the offense has looked shaky every week.
    – a total no show by the defense. Missed tackles galore an after harassing Henne all day last week, Hasselback was never close to being under duress.

    Only good news is that Steelers lost and Roethlispuker looks like he could miss time. I still think this organization is oriented in the ight direction, but a game like this has to give you major pause about this team.

  • TJ

    Obviously we needed a bigger dose of Hillis. Hardesty had some flashes, but there is no reason to keep one of our most productive and reliable players on the sideline. The receivers are jokes. Sure MoMass can snag a ball or two. Cribbs can makes plays if given opportunities. But we lack the talent needed to earn offensive respect. I am saying it now. Robiskie will not be a member of the Cleveland Browns next year. I am a die hard Browns and Buckeye fan, but Robiskie will be continuing his career somewhere else next year. Our defense was surprisingly bad today. Colt threw the ball 56 or more times. Hillis ran the ball 10. Hillis works. Balance works. This was a very unbalanced game that got out of hand. I guess overall, we just have a lot to work on. Good thing we have the bye week coming up.

  • TJ

    *Correction* Colt McCoy threw the ball 61 times.

  • Brad in ATL

    Shurmur. Not ready for prime time.

  • -bobby-

    I think its funny how everyone is shooting down the D when they were so high last week. Really I just dont like the 80 yard play. Outside that I think we did ok. The D “only” gave up 24 points, and the forced a lot of 3 and outs. It was Colt and the O that couldnt put anything up. IMO the O can be summed up as too much passing, and not enough deep pass attempts. The O is so predicatable by the 2nd half the titans CBs were jumping routes pre-snap.

  • 216in614

    I’m starting to really wonder about Shurmur. Yes the receivers are bad, Colt is missing some passes, the O-line is getting beat and the D is giving up too many easy big plays but this game really has me worried about Shurmur more than anything.

  • EdgewaterJoe

    I am nowhere near as upset about this loss as the Bengals loss. To me, this was a game where the young DL needed to see how well they could play against a legit OL. The answer: don’t book those tickets to Hawaii yet. You didn’t so much as breathe on Hasselbeck, and the results speak for themselves. They got plenty of work to do as a unit.

    As for the offense, aside from the weird play calling (how about that blown up gadget play in the first quarter before the first FG!?) there was one thing Schurmer did when the game was out of hand that Mangini and Crennel would never have done: run reps with they young players to get them experience in the WCO. it’s an attitude and approach that’s desperately needed.

    I do worry that the team continually seems to play their worst at home and that MUST stop. OTOH, the Titans are the #1 defense in the league, and the Browns are still putting themselves together.

    Yep, that Bengals loss still bugs me worse than this one. Bring on the bye week!

  • BuckeyeDawg

    We have a QB who’s basically still a rookie, and we’re 4 games into a new coach and offensive system with essentially no off season to work. We have no above average receivers. We have an average at best patchwork O-line, and a defense learning a new scheme with several rookies and second year players.

    All that considered, I guess I will take 2-2 at the bye. Figured we would beat Cincy and lose to Indy, and find a way to split the next two. That’s basically what we did. They are frustratingly inconsistent so far…but when you look at the big picture, it shouldn’t be that surprising.

    2-2, could easily be 1-3 or 3-1. Sounds about right.

  • Hashish

    On a good note, Dawson looked solid with that 51 yarder into the wind.

  • crobarred

    I’m still wondering why Robiskie is starting 4 games into the season. Cribbs and Little seem like much better options. I know you want to save Hillis for November/December but after that second dropped pass I would have just gone with Hillis. On a side note, I really miss Vickers. I don’t see Marecic blowing up the LB’s like Vickers did. On defense, Young took a really poor angle on the Cook touchdown. Hasselbeck ate up the defense because the D couldn’t get a body on him at all. Frustrating game but I’m not going to call for Shurmur’s head. I think some of the playcalling is odd (pitch to Smith on 4th and 1) but hopefully he’ll identify who his playmakers are by week 6.

  • -bobby-

    Buckeye- McCoy is making mistakes that rookies shouldnt make. Accuracy, leading receivers, throwing to open field, etc. He is missing on things that you must do at any level as a QB to be successful.

  • browns6869

    We have a rookie coach with a young team. The frustration will happen all year. Shurmer will be here (we are still paying too many coaches that were fired – not going to add another). Look at the positives – I know negatives outweigh them. We have some very good young players with very little in veteran talent. Another draft or two and a few key veterans added will make a difference. Have faith and stahy the course with Holmgren and Heckertt

  • Chris

    I seriously question what’s up with Shurmur.

    If you have Peyton Hillis you don’t call a friggin gadget play on 4th and 1, you ram it down their throat.

    Why wasn’t Hillis out there much today?

    Little is showing promise than anyone I’ve seen, shouldn’t he be starting?

    Hillis can catch the ball, I don’t think they’re using that enough

    Is McCoy being stifled by lack of play makers, or lack of “the right stuff”?

    The optimist in me says it’s just a first time coach stretching his legs, a lack of playmakers, too much youth, and no training camp.

    The pessimist in me is saying “I told you we shouldn’t have blown up the team we had last year”.

  • The Other Tim

    I’m just so tired of waiting.

  • Gren

    I’m tired of watching. Isn’t there something better to do on Sundays at this point ?

    Guess I have this Sunday to find out.

  • Shamrock

    No NFL team is as bad as it’s last loss but for me the loss today underlined many of the areas of weakness for the Browns too. What bothers me are the personnel decisions or lack of personnel decisions being made especially when it comes to drafting. Couple that with questionable playcalling and, well, you get today.

  • Matt S

    I understood and called for more touches for Hardesty. I don’t understand why they kept him in late in the game. The reason neither back got a lot of touches is because we were playing catch-up, and we didn’t run the ball very much at all in the second half. So, if you know that you’re going to be mostly passing, why not put in the guy that’s a much better receiver and blocker?

    Plus, I think given Hillis’ status as coverboy, his presence keeps the defense a little more honest. Defenses don’t respect the run as much when Hardesty is in.

    Also, the TERRIBLE playcalling with the “Hillis as FB” formation was really irritating. Everyone was calling for a Hillis run there… would have been perfect to ACTUALLY RUN HARDESTY on 2nd down. And then after it fails, you run the play you should have on the previous play, but instead of Hardesty you have the 3rd string back. That’s just bad playcalling.

    Colt McCoy had a WONDERFUL game, btw. Guy completed 2/3 of his passes, had 1 TD/1 INT, 350 yards and that’s even WITH his receivers dropping 6 passes.

    I think this is an example of why bad defense can kill an offense. The Browns were put in an early hole by the D, and as a result Colt ended up throwing 61 passes, while Hillis got 10 rushes, Hardesty 7. This is a team that needs to be running the ball more, but you can’t do that when your team is down by 2, 3 or 4 scores.

    Sheldon Brown had a Brandon McDonald-level bad day today. The touchdown he gave up was one of the worst plays I’ve ever seen an NFL defensive back make. He moved at the snap, so he was in terrible position. He lazily hung on a guy for a penalty, and STILL didn’t put up much of a fight on an obvious jump-ball for an easy TD.

  • Bernie Quasar

    Lets take the two guys who score all our touchdowns, Moore and Hillis and sit them on the sidelines for 90% of the game… Sorry Pat – you lost me there.

    On the upside, Dawson still has it and Cribbs looked productive as a receiver.

  • cleveland12

    very poor.
    colt isnt doing it.
    the wide outs are too slow to worry anyone and even then we didnt even try them.
    the play calling was suspect…again.
    nice to have a holiday from this diversion.
    yes must agree, patience is when patience has run out… but not sold on colt this week, once again didnt trust himself on going for the big deep plays.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    I am stunned that there are a decent number of people trying to lay this game at the feet of Colt McCoy.

    We got down early and abandoned the run too soon, in my opinion. 21-6 at half is not time to panic and abandon the game plan. Once they got down 28-6 after the bad INT, the Titans defense could focus on taking away the deep routes (I know…what deep routes?), leaving Colt to dink and dunk his way down the field. Which we did, with some effectiveness (not enough…only 13 points).

    We have NO legit, above average WR on our roster. Little might turn into one, but he’s a rookie. Mo Mass? Would Mo Mass be the #1 WR on any other team in the league? I can’t think of one. I think he would be just fine as a #2 #3, but the guy is not a big play threat that has to be accounted for. Cribbs is trying, but he’s average at best at that position. Our WR’s don’t scare ANYONE. Against any team with a reasonably good defense/secondary, this is what we are going to get passing the ball.

    We have to run the ball more for this offense to be successful, and when the defense plays like they did yesterday, and we’re stuck playing catch-up half way through the 3rd quarter with the worst WR corp in the NFL, this is what happens.

    I’m primarily laying this one at the feet of the defense…not enough pressure on Hasselbeck, and a couple of big mistakes in the secondary. Colt had the horrible pick 6, but other than that one throw I thought he played pretty well.

  • jimkanicki

    that’s where i’m at gren. i’m finding college football -on a national level, not osu of course- to be a fun experience.

    how this team could have regressed is beyond me. i think it’s the coach. he doesn’t look special. i doubt john harbaugh would’ve come here, but the niners (and ravens) are examples of the difference a smart coach can make.

    and we fans forced to give another rookie coach ‘time’ to improve. it’s smelling like romeo part 2 out of the blocks. geez.

    pat shurmur: take the bye week and fly out to boise and watch how carl petersen runs a practice and manages an offense. christ.

  • Dave

    The play calling was so bad. Their formations were HORRIBLE!!

  • Stevo

    Something odd about Hillis’ lack of touches. Pay this man and give him the rock.

  • -bobby-

    The D gave up 1 awful play. Outside that they did pretty well. The gave up 24 points. And if you take out that 1 awful play its 17 (and 80 less yards). This is the same D we’ve seen all season, so I am pretty shocked that people are trying to say thats the problem now.

    Buckeye- Ive tried to say why Colt had a bad game. You CANNOT just look at the numbers and say we did well. IMO if you pass 60 times you should have 500+ yards. He had 350 because he dinked and dunked the whole game. He fails to throw the ball to an open part of the field so the WRs can go catch it, and he is also very slow at recognizing coverages and getting the ball out of his hand.

  • TSR3000

    Back away from the ledge.

    We are going to win 6-7 games. We have a good young core. We are still a couple years away. It sucks but it’s the cold truth.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    @ Bobby – we see things differently, and that’s fine.

    McCoy doesn’t throw the pick 6 and does lead the receiver correctly into the end zone, that’s 14 points difference. Usama Young takes a better angle, or merely pushes the TE out of bounds on the long TD play, there’s another 7. Those three plays accounted for a 21 point swing. We just aren’t good enough to overcome those kind of mistakes and missed opportunities yet.

    I’m not in any way saying that Colt played a great game. He played pretty well in my eyes…not great. I’m just saying that there are enough other issues going on in this game and with the team in general that we don’t know what he is yet…but I’ve seen enough to want to stay with him for the forseeable future.

    This was his 12th start…not even a full season under his belt yet. Get the kid some more weapons and some better play calling and I think we get a better idea of what he is capable of. I’m not calling McCoy the savior…but I do want to see him the rest of this year, and a good chunk of next year before I decide whether he is our future. I think he has played well enough to this point to deserve the benefit of the doubt.

  • Boomhauertjs

    What in the world was Dawson doing kicking that kickoff out of bounds? That gave the Titans the short field and momentum they never gave back.

  • Pining4The’Ship

    @30 – Completely agree. No team is as bad as it’s last loss or as good as their last win. Regroup this week and be ready for Oakland week 6.

  • Wheel

    Can anyone explain why the Browns, with glaring needs at OL and WR, thumbed their noses at the free agent market? I believe in McCoy, but are they really giving him a chance to succeed? Or is this all about tanking the season for Andrew Luck?

  • JM

    I don’t think a West Coast Offense can work here.

  • crowsfoot

    McCoy looks like a boy playing in a man’s game. He benefited from the Texas “machine”, which made him a great college player, but his weaknesses are now glaring. The majority of his throws are off the the mark, his release is too low – leading to many knockdowns, and he continually puts his receivers in harm’s way. He shows no real visual leadership.
    Some people compare him to Brian Sipe. Sipe played in a different era, when undersized quarterbacks could survive. That is not the case anymore. Today’s players are bigger, faster, and much stronger. The Browns must do all they can to acquire Luck !