August 26, 2014

Cleveland Browns close home schedule with 38-31 loss to Bears

1005034_10152097985714684_1828176681_nThe 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.

[Watch:Animated: Browns Baker scores first TD, says get on my back]

 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)

  • C-Bus Kevin

    Torched for 21 in the 4th quarter. Really, that sums it up

    Also, Campbell transformed into Captain Checkdown today. The Gordon TD can be called “garbage,” but it was still into double coverage.

    Imagine that…you throw it to the best deep threat in the league and good things happen. Nice job Jason and Norv. Geez…

  • @TheDeePagel

    It looked like the life went out of the defense when Haden went down.

    And Campbell has played well at times this year, but man is he maddening with the inconsistency.

    That damn Hoyer slide…..

  • @TheDeePagel

    I thought we had receivers open down field all day today….Campbell just had an off day mentally and physically. I wouldn’t blame Norv.

  • Sam

    Things I won’t miss watching from these Browns:

    1. Atrocious third down defense.

    2. Jason Campbell’s checkdown fetish.
    3. The inability for the offense and defense to both play well in the same half of a football game.
    4. Greg Little and Davone Bess making catching footballs look like catching flying birds.

  • Sam

    Yeah seriously. It seemed like Gordon especially was open and missed all day. At this point (where the season is essentially over) I’d much rather watch them make risky throws down the field to Gordon instead of constantly checking down to play it safe.

  • scripty

    I won’t be suckered into thinking this team is a good offseason away from the playoffs;

  • tnb

    2007 Miami dolphins 1-15
    2007 Baltimore ravens 5-11
    2003 Houston Texans 5-11
    2007 Jacksonville jaguars 11-5
    2011 Kansas City Chiefs 7-9
    2008 Kansas city chiefs 2-14
    2009 Oakland Raiders 5-11
    2000 san Diego chargers 1-15
    2003 Denver broncos 10-6 (4qbs)

    This is a list of the AFC teams who have had three (or more) different quarterbacks start two or more games. As you can see, with the rare jaguars and broncos teams there, none of them finished 500 and barely topped out at five games.

    People want to speculate why the browns record clearly doesn’t reflect their performance, this is why. I’d even wager that if weeden doesn’t start the season, the browns might have started something like 4-2 or 5-1 and this season might be completely different.

    its hard to have a team move cohesively when you’re shuffling through playcallers like that, especially when weeden is hands down not progressing like anyone thought he would. This browns season is honestly the best one we’ve been able to witness since 2007, and coming out of this season the team looks like they’ll be able to compete more than ever, legitimately this time and not a bunch of hopes that things fall for clevelands way. As a football fan, I’m not disappointed at all with how this seasons turned out, and I think in hindsight people will be able to see it too.

  • BROSEPH

    On some (more than half)of those checkdowns there was a defender within one or two strides of sacking Campbell that he had to step up into the pocket and deliver quickly or he doesn’t even get a pass off. It’s frustrating, but a lot of those would have been Weeden sacks for a loss of five yards.

  • saggy

    Did it look to anyone else that the Browns kinda gave up in the 4th? I would rather win right now, this season, than improve draft position. But i felt oddly that the players were tanking. can’t put my finger on it, specifically.

  • Frank Oswald

    Browns just had a off day….only problem is it is the 10th time this season

  • scripty

    My feeling is that lack of talent is exposed when eventually you run out of good plays the opponent’s not ready for… For us the well runs dry late 3rd it seems….

  • BuckeyeDawg

    Can’t emphasize #1 enough. Watching the Browns defense on 3rd down is just infuriating. Good defenses figure out a way to get off the field. Don’t know exactly what’s causing it, but it needs to improve next year.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    I noticed prior to this game that while the NFL average yards per pass play drops in the 4th significantly, for Browns’ opponents here it is by quarter:

    4.3
    4.7
    5.5
    6.7

    Basically the Browns do a fantastic job of scheming for a team going into a game, but at halftime and as the game passes teams adjust and eventually they beat us. Sigh.

  • DOH

    Defense was terrible again. The perfect example o;f how stats can lie.

  • Wow

    I’m glad someone else noticed too.

  • Big Z

    We need a QB… for the 13th straight year…

  • Big Z

    I don’t know about “terrible.” They put up 14 points and took 7 away from the Bears with an end-zone INT. A decent offense should be expected to win a game where they’re spotted 21 points. Also, they lost their #1 CB and starting FS in the 4th quarter.

  • Big Z

    Time for Bess to take a seat, methinks.

  • Wow

    The offense scored 31 points, can people admit the defense isn’t as good as we thought?

  • Wow

    For sure. I really hope they finally get one.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    The defense allowed 24. Wasn’t there a defensive TD mixed in there somewhere for the Bears?

    EDIT: My bad…you’re right. You were already accounting for the int that was returned for a TD.

  • WFNY_DP

    Anyone else watching Baker and still wondering how in the world Willis McGahee was the *best* option available after week 2?

  • rtpinfla

    As in, take a seat on a bus out of town.

  • rtpinfla

    I got that sense too. The feeling that they just don’t care that much anymore. Sadly, I felt the same way. I wish they’d win too, but am too tired to be disappointed when they lose anymore.

  • saggy

    those are good numbers. pretty telling about Chud and his staff more than anything.

    At this point, after looking at the league standings, it really makes sense for the Browns to lose the last 2 games. If they were to do that, you’re maybe looking at a top-3 pick. Imagine what you could get for that pick. Not quite an RGIII haul, but a few more early picks this, and next, year. could be a real boon for the franchise.

  • rtpinfla

    I remember a few weeks ago a few players complained about the fans booing. They should have been much more concerned about what they heard yesterday- The sound of apathy coming from the stands. I don’t care if they win of lose at this point. I just hope they can right the ship someday.

  • Big Z

    And then take a seat on the couch.

  • Big Z

    The offense scored 17. The other 14 was the D. Yes, the D was pretty bad in the 4th, but they were also without 2 starting DBs (Haden, Gipson). I was FAR more frustrated with the offense in this game.

  • Big Z

    Yeah, they showed like 6 clips of Gordon breaking open on routes that were checked down during the game. It also looked like he was open on a back-corner fade on the drive where Bess dropped the 3rd down pass in front of the end zone.

  • Big Z

    Shhhh! Don’t say his name. He’ll come back…

  • Big Z

    Especially coming off the couch.

  • Natedawg86

    so you are saying they will probably win the last 2?

  • Ezzie Goldish

    (Not sure if you mean telling in a good or bad way…)

    I think it shows they do great, great prep. I think it was Belichik who I heard (before a Super Bowl he wasn’t in, perhaps?) say that once it gets to the end of the game, it comes down more to talent and luck, whereas the first half or so is prep and the third quarter adjusting to what you’ve seen. After that, unless you’ve set something up from the rest of the game, it just comes down to who’s got what. The Browns don’t have enough talent yet to really stay with some of these teams late, though it’s certainly far closer than in the past.

  • Natedawg86

    I was excited when they got him. Boy was I wrong.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    I was too. Inexplicable.

  • Ladue Brand

    Just another game where the best QB makes the plays and wins. Your really naive if you think your gonna stop a high octane offense in today’s NFL. They were up 24-17 in the 4th Qtr with the ball and punted 3 straight times…Crunch time failure by the guy under center. Just more data to prove this team needs to draft a QB…… and early.

  • mgbode

    or the best option off the Texans practice squad when we signed Fozzy?

    or the best option off the Texans practice squad when they promoted Ray Graham or Deji Karim?

    sometimes it just happens (and the Bears are terrible at run defense).

  • Bluedog93

    While I appreciate the data, I don’t need “to speculate why the browns record doesn’t reflect their performance” because the record does reflect their performance. This isn’t a “the record is what the record is” argument I’m making, but an argument that everything about this season is typical of 4-12 or 5-11 seasons. The overrated defense that collapses in the fourth quarter, the couple or food games strung together that delude people into thinking that that is the “real team”, the late discussion about a possible playoff push that presages a miserable losing streak to end the season — all of this is pretty common for teams with 4-12 or 5-11 records in general and for the Browns in particular. Sure, this year the breakout offensive player is Josh Gordon instead of Payton Hillis, and the possible solution to the QB problem we saw in a few games is Brian Hoyer and not Colt McCoy, and the devastating last minute loss to the much better team we should have beaten was to the Patriots and not the Jets, but if this season hasn’t been as close a re-creation of Mangini’s second year as you can imagine, you’ve forgotten what that year was like.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    QB, RB, another WR at least two OL, a real LB, a S and a CB. And that’s just off the top of my head.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Baker didn’t even get the ball enough yesterday and he was in uniform. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that McGahee was all they came up with at the time. I truly question whether winning was ever a serious strategy I think they just lucked into 4-5 myself. The fact that they are now 4-10 is all the evidence I need to back up my feelings.

  • Barbuster

    Did anyone notice the clear no-call of Offensive Pass Interference against the Bear’s Offensive Receiver in the early moments of the fourth quarter that had given the Bears the go ahead touchdown??? The receiver clearly pushed off creating separation of the back defender while only needing to out jump the frontal coverage. I thing it was this play that broke the camels back as most other posts made reference to,
    As for the lack of talent….I contribute it more to ignorant play buy the players in critical down situations on both offensive and defensive sides of the play calling.
    Some things just never change!!!

  • Barbuster

    Lastly, What is more concerning is the lost of fan base over the years as I’ve witnessed since being transferred to Cleveland in 1990. Upon arrival in Cleveland in the early 90′s, the only other city that I though supported their professional football team (Redskins) equally as well or if not more was the Washington DC and Metro area.
    Did anyone notice that the stadium’s seats were nearly empty and that the majority of the fans observed were wearing the colors of the Chicago Bears!!! When would have been the last time that any visiting teams fans chants would have been heard over that of the chats of the Cleveland Browns Fans? The Cleveland Sports Fans have been the only thing loyal in this city period. Not it’s Sport teams players nor the coaching of such teams since the run of the 1995 Cleveland Indians.