The Browns scored two touchdowns on defense, but still were unable to hold off an uneven Bears team as they fall to 4-10 and close out their home schedule. There were some highlights in this game, but as with most games this season, not nearly enough. The Browns haven’t appeared to be a team that’s given up at all this season, but they looked simply demoralized as they gave up a 40-yard run to Michael Bush that took the Bears to 38-24. That was part of a 21-0 beating the Browns took in the fourth quarter before Josh Gordon scored a garbage time TD with less than a minute to go. Another mostly competitive game lost. I’d say it was crushing for Browns fans, except that that horse has long since left the barn.
It wasn’t a game without some fun. I had a good time watching Tashaun Gipson take a pick back for a score. Watching Billy Winn’s strip-tackle which led to T.J. Ward’s fumble return TD was fun too. Watching Edwin Baker run with energy and aggressiveness was a kick, even if he did it against one of the worst rush defenses in the NFL. Ultimately though, the lasting memory of this one will be hearing Bears fans cheer louder than Browns fans as the clock slipped away.
There’s no wide-ranging conclusion to be drawn from this game that wasn’t drawn in the previous four losses. The Browns haven’t won since their bye week, which seems extra cruel. Usually team bye weeks are thought to be opportunities to improve and get healthy. The Browns did no such thing this year. The Browns also finish 3-5 at home. They were 4-4 last season and 3-5 in Pat Shurmur’s first season.
I would say that it will be interesting to see what kind of effort this team has left down the stretch against the New York Jets and the Steelers – both on the road – but it likely won’t be that interesting. The Browns put up good effort most of the year and even for most of the game today against the Bears. You can just tell that the losing is taking its toll on the team. It’s tough to lose your previous two games by a total of five points like the Browns did to the Jags and Pats and then continue to fight uphill. I’m sure losing Joe Haden to injury in the middle of this one didn’t help either.
So ends another typical sad season for the Cleveland Browns. What could they have done differently? I don’t know. Right now it doesn’t really matter either. They did what they did. They’ve won and lost what they’ve won and lost. What I do know is that this team can’t possibly feel like they’ve met the standards that had been set for them both internally and externally this season. Regardless of anything else, that’s disappointing.
(Photo: Official Cleveland Browns Facebook)