Browns blow 13-0 halftime lead; lose 23-20 in overtime

Dez Bryant

The Cleveland Browns dominated the first half of the game today in Dallas. The Cowboys were held under 70 yards of total offense and manhandled at the line of scrimmage. Cleveland’s defensive line, recharged with a healthy Rubin and Taylor for the first time all season recorded several sacks and bottled up Felix Jones and the running game.

Meanwhile, the Browns ran the ball effectively and Weeden found Ben Watson for a touchdown. The Browns went into the locker room up 13-0.

That’s when the wheels came off.

Dallas quarterback Tony Romo picked on Cleveland’s Buster Skrine, who kept drawing illegal contact flags. The Browns defense committed 10 penalties (or at least they were called for) that resulted in Dallas first downs. Dallas abandoned the running game and concentrated on passing. They took a 17-13 lead on the Browns with just under 7 minutes left.

Cleveland seemingly lost the game when Brandon Weeden was sacked and lost the football. Fortunately for the Browns, Romo returned the favor when Frostee Rucker stripped him of the football.

Weeden and the Browns moved the ball down the field, but were stopped on a fourth down play at the 1 yard line. Dallas handed the ball to Felix Jones three straight times and were forced to punt. Cribbs’ return and subsequent penalty on the Cowboys gave Weeden the ball at the Dallas 17, where he needed just one play to find TE Ben Watson in the end zone. The Browns took a 20-17 lead.

But of course, the Cowboys marched down the field (aided by two Browns penalties.) After taking their shots at the end zone, the Cowboys kicked the game tying field goal and sent the game to overtime.

In overtime, the Browns offense was completely ineffective and Dallas took advantage of good field position to kick a game winning field goal. Ball game. Browns are 2-8 heading into next week’s game against the Steelers.

(AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Man Rick you must have had this article cocked and loaded because it was up before I had the time to view it entirely just seconds after yet another loss.

  • Jared in LA

    We really are as good as our record, that can’t be denied. We need help in so many areas.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    4th and goal fade to a tight end. That one play says it all.

  • SDA

    One main area ………………Coach

  • SDA

    Shurmur makes me long for Mangeineous

  • Garry_Owen

    How is Joe Haden NOT the team MVP?

  • Garry_Owen

    This comment makes me long for a dictionary or something.

  • Wow

    because he missed 5 games and got burned repeatedly in the Baltimore game?

  • dan

    Wasn’t the point behind hiring Shurmur that, finally, the front office and the coaching staff was now on the same page? Well, we have a FO that didn’t want to trade up for RG3 and did want to trade up for TRich to accompany an O-line with major draft picks invested in it — and a coaching staff that clearly prefers throwing on 3d or 4th and short (often while rolling out) to running.


  • SDA

    lol dictionary went away when the bottle of Glenlevit came out

  • Garry_Owen

    Those 5 missed games proved his value. The one bad one puts him about even with – if not light years ahead of – the other 52 guys on the team.

  • Garry_Owen

    So, early 3rd quarter?

  • SDA

    pretty much

  • Garry_Owen

    How can you possibly say that the FO didn’t want to trade for Griffin? They did, and they tried, in a blind auction whose price was WAY too high.

  • SDA

    Totally agree

  • Garry_Owen

    Expensive way to go through a season. You should probably just go with the Wild Turkey or Southern Comfort for Browns games. Old Grandad?

  • SDA

    well it started out shots for touchdowns but i found myself way to sober to watch . So…….. if your gonna drown your sorrows may as well do it right!

  • SDA

    her we WFNY staff how about a survey or article on whats the best alcohol to drink during a Browns game?

  • Garry_Owen

    Then allow me to recommend 18 yr old Laphroaig . . .

  • SDA

    Ill have to try that. Today’s bottle came in a box with sample bottle of 18 yr old and a sampler of 15 yr old

  • Roosevelt

    A while ago one of the WFNY writers wrote a few articles about how teams that got good overnight with a new coach were actually improving steadily in roster if not in record, until the new coach sent them roaring over the hump.
    If there’s any good news this season, it’s that we have strong potential to be that team. The Browns have manhandled some of the more talented teams in the league for substantial periods of time. Today, they dominated the Cowboys, who though they have struggled, have large amounts of talent. They had flashes like that against the Giants, against the Ravens, etc. If the new regime doesn’t insist on tearing everything down, and doesn’t completely drop the ball on hiring a coach, then we have a good shot at the playoffs next year.

  • BenRM

    I get that this was an upsetting game, and a lot was done poorly. But I’ll try to add a bit of non-emotional perspective:

    – The officiating was terrible on both sides. It did appear, however, that the Browns received the worst of it.

    – Our secondary was beat up, but what other NFL secondary can perform when their special team players are forced to play important minutes as DB? Also, it was mismatches all day. The Browns need to be deeper, but let’s not totally hate on Skrine for being a 5th round project going up against a potential Top 5 pick (were it not for character issues).

    – Weeden was 210 yards, 2 TDs, 0 Ints. There were some bad passes and decisions. In a win, however, we praise a lot of what he did. In a loss, we start taking shots. All-in-all his game was fine. Maybe even good. People will hate on it b/c the Browns lost.

    – Press conferences: I think the media and fans need to start taking a “we are done analyzing press conferences” approach. A reporter asks “why did X-bad thing happen?” Interviewee says “X happened b/c of Y.” In a loss, media and fans cry “EXCUSES!” There is very little difference between an excuse and an explanation.

  • jimkanicki

    like button.

  • dan

    Market price is what the market is willing to pay, not what you think it is worth. The FO wasn’t willing to pay what the market was willing to pay, and got beat, and the team is worse for it.

    On the plus side, the first round draft picks the team hangs on to by not trading up are now going to be much higher picks than they would have been had they been traded away!

  • Harv 21

    what does it say other than the throw was bad? It’s worked fine for athletic tight ends like Winslow and Ozzie Newsome. They thought Cameron presented a matchup problem for the smaller db covering him and Cameron did well on that play in training camp (and presumably in practices since the season began). He can jump and just an ok throw would have given him a great shot at it.

    I thought the play-calling was generally very good. Inexperienced players goof up, get too much adrenaline on throws with the game on the line or lose track of the first-down marker. Young guys have growing pains but if they don’t let them run the plays they won’t learn what it takes to do it in game conditions.

  • Wow

    I see your point, but the guy chose to party in Vegas and it cost the team 4 games. That’s on him.

  • Garry_Owen

    This argument goes round and round and round. IF we had gotten Griffin, we wouldn’t have Richardson or Schwartz or Gordon. No way we would be better off today. No way. As it is, Griffin plays for a more talented team than the Browns, and they now have two whole wins more than the Browns do. Has Griffin been the difference in those two games? Probably, but someone blocked for him and someone caught his passes. Who would have done so on the Browns?

  • Derek

    How in the hell do you run a play before the two minute warning? This saved them a timeout and the game. With all these former head coaches, why are we so bad at managing the clock?

  • Harv 21

    Hated losing this game but attribute it as much to the more talented Cowboys finally exploiting their advantages after a flat and poorly-coached first half as the Browns not being able to close the game out.

    Bryant was a joke against Skrine in the first-half, Romo was throwing passes all over the place on 3rd down and Dallas played like they thought they’d win without playing hard. In the second half they went at Skrine and Brown who can’t cover big and fast receivers, respectively, and who were holding every freaking play when they weren’t giving 7 yard cushions off the line of scrimmage. Wade replaced Skrine when Skrine got dinged – think about that. The Browns didn’t play great but played hard. Even a good d-line, even creative blitzing and a bunch of sacks, won’t stop quick 8-yard passes to wide open receivers that we won’t defend and long passes we can’t defend.

    A third quarter TD probably would have had Dallas coaches panicky but once we let them climb back in the Browns had no answer in the secondary and the Browns looked panicky. If we won it would have been an upset. They are more talented.

    Here’s a nicer note: our lines are solid and getting stronger. Nobody punks us and blows us out anymore. We’re getting closer, and when this thing turns I’m guessing it’ll turn pretty much on a dime.

  • brownstown

    My two major complaints on the day were…

    1. Derek hit on it. Why do we run the play before the two minute warning? I am a high school OC so I’m well aware of what if feels like to be 2nd guessed but there is no way in the world anyone in their right mind runs that play before the two minute warning. Obviously I agree the play calling most generally sucks but there are usually plenty of people “smarter than me” in the stands telling me how stupid I am too but no one can argue that was not a smart move.

    2. The 4th down fade to Cameron to lose the game. I think it was from what the 1 yard line? So your telling me that is your number one 2 point play? You could basically say that was much like a 2 point play in the situation it was. That is our choice? Throw it up to a TE? Granted Weeden threw it out of bounds but I would think we could have come up with something better than that?

    You’ve been Shumured!!!!

  • C-Bus Kevin

    It’s a fine call on 1st or 2nd down. You just don’t throw up a jump ball with the whole game riding on one play unless you’ve got Calvin Johnson on your team. Plus, the immediate throw to the fade doesn’t allow Weeden to see a possible breakdown by the Cowboy’s defense. He had good protection all day. Why not let him drop back and read the defense?

  • playing left out

    Losers lose

  • Harv 21

    disagree. Dropping back and reading defenses within the confined area of the red zone is not what Weeden does well (yet) and with Ryan’s exotic defensive looks I don’t think that was necessarily a higher percentage than what they did. If he throws it up decently it’s one on one with our guy having a big height advantage. Look, there were other options but I don’t see why this was clearly wrong.

    I want Shurmer gone but won’t blame him for good ideas poorly executed.

  • dan

    Lets resolve it by referring the discussion to a neutral third party. Find one person who is a fan of any team other than the Browns who thinks the Browns wouldn’t have been better off matching Washington’s price. I’ve got friends who are Steelers fans, Raiders fans, and Chargers fans who agree with me, and I’ve yet to find someone who wasn’t a Browns fan who didn’t. Maybe your friends who are fans of other teams say differently, though — let me know.

    By the way, trading up for RG3 wouldn’t have precluded drafting a RT or a RB elsewhere or, heaven forfend, signing one through free agency.

  • porckchopexpress

    (In my best guy from Braveheart Scottish brogue)

    So you Islay boys think you’re going to have all the drinking fun during a Browns loss? Over Glenmorangie Maderia Casks dead body ya will!

  • Garry_Owen

    Oh yeah, well I’s gots friends in Utah, Beirut, Thailand, and Kaashyk.
    No, I don’t trust anyone that doesn’t know the Browns. It’s just too cheap to say, “oh, brah, RG3 is SICK, yo. The Browns are all, like, FAIL! to not have gotten his wicked skills, dog.”

  • Travis

    Can we get rid of Sheldon Brown? When he’s not missing tackles, he’s getting smoked by receivers all of the time. Seriously, am I the only one whoever sees this? Sheldon Brown is awful.

  • Derek

    It also goes completely against what Heckert believes in. Building through the draft. Not spending four first rounders on one guy.

  • porckchopexpress

    No offense but a “neutral third party” is not annectdotal evidence offered by you about people you know. Unless you are actually Roger Goodel using the name dan, and you also think that having an attorney working for a law firm representing you in a case against the NFLPA, is a good choice for replacement arbitor of your decision against the members of the NFLPA.

    Much like most things this is a question of context.

    If you ask; “Would you rather have RG3 or the draft picks.”

    People might choose RG3.

    If you ask; “Would you rather have RG3 with a critical need at RT, no real RB, a barren defensive backfield, a dire need at WR, and a pretty pressing need for an upgrade at linebacker”

    RG3 or no, teams would still march up and down the field any time Haden is out and Sheldon Brown is 138 years old and still the 2nd best db. Yet we couldn’t address that need in the first round until 2015! Or any other pressing need.
    We could use free agency but then we would be right where Washington is right now. Which is cash strapped and no ability to make 1st round picks.
    I don’t deny RG3’s greatness but the Wash. team on the field today is essentially the one that is going to surround him for the next 3-4 years, except it will be getting older, and the 2nd tier players will be getting worse as they have to shed special teamer and other backup salary to pay for the increases in salary to big name free agents.
    Point being it is completely impossible to truly judge who made the rigth move for about 3 years when we see what Wash lost by not drafting and what Cleveland got by drafting.

  • BenRM

    in addition to what porckchopexpress said, even if a neutral third party was sufficient evidence, you could find a lot of people that would agree.

    You pay a king’s ransom for Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, and types like that. NOT for Robert Griffen. (aka Cam Newton 2.0, Tim Tebow 3.0, Vince Young 4.0, Michael Vick 5.0).

  • BenRM

    I think on 3rd, they needed to spread the field and run Richardson, setting up a 4th where they spread the field and pass. I’m not a fancy pants, but I feel that probably was more legitimate.

    Either way, it was a bad pass by Weeden. Like, not even close to good.

  • slbeef

    Cameron did make a nice jump and catch, but the throw was two yards out of bounds.

  • JK

    He is extremely valuable to this team, still very overrated though.

  • NamedMyKidPrice

    He was a step slow last year and 2 steps slow this year. We need secondary help in the worst way.

  • Garry_Owen

    Certainly possible. My point being that Haden (his absence, anyway) has arguably been the difference between a 2-8 record and perhaps a 5-4 record.