Browns Week 2: Weeden behind play clock, Little still dropping passes & 11th straight loss to Ravens
Connor Kiesel, newsnet5.com
6:00 PM, Sep 15, 2013
12:54 PM, Sep 16, 2013
CLEVELAND - Close as they may have been at times, the Browns fell just short.
On a 4th and 4 at the Baltimore 39 on the fourth quarter's first play, Jordan Cameron lunged toward the sticks after running a route that pinnacled a yard shy of a first.
Once spotted, the football was mind-numbingly close, at most an inch short, of moving the chains.
It was so close head coach Rob Chudzinski threw out his red flag.
He lost the challenge.
The Browns lost the game.
For the 11th straight time, the Ravens got the better of the Browns, 14-6 winners Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. The Browns have lost by a possession or less in four of the last seven meetings but that means nil in the big picture.
Can you really even call it a true division "rivalry" at this point when the results are this one-sided?
Super Bowl-winning Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has never tasted defeat against the Browns.
Second-year Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden has never thrown a touchdown against the Baltimore defense.
Stark is the juxtaposition.
Weeden was knocked around throughout the game and then finally knocked out in the fourth quarter with a thumb injury. Jason Campbell took the helm with the Browns down by eight but could muster only a first down through pass interference before turning the ball over on downs.
Many of the same themes of Week 1 were present in Week 2.
-The offensive line struggled to protect Weeden, especially on the right side. This week Elvis Dumervil repeatedly surged by tackle Mitchell Schwartz and got to Weeden, who was sacked five times and hit 12. A week ago, Cameron Wake and the Dolphins' front seven wreaked havoc sacking Weeden six times.
-Drops were again a problem, Greg Little a major culprit as has become all too common a trend. The Usain Bolt pose can stay far, far away.
- Weeden himself was not without blame either. Three times on third downs, the quarterback was called for a delay of game.
-Trent Richardson has not received a fourth quarter carry yet this season. After last week's loss, Chudzinski said the situation would dictate how many times Richardson got the rock. But Cleveland never trailed by more than a possession in this game yet in 14 fourth quarter plays, Richardson didn't get one handoff. He also remained on the sideline on third downs, where the Browns have struggled mightily, 4-15 Sunday and now 5-29 on the season.
For the day, Richardson ran for 58 yards on 18 carries. His longest run netted nine yards.
- A bright spot was the run defense that held the Dolphins to just 20 yards and the Baltimore rushing attack under 100 yards. Still the secondary struggled, allowing too much space for Ravens receivers crossing the field on key third downs.
In a nutshell, there's more bad than good. That's obvious to anyone watching the games. Parity can be plentiful in the NFL but not when persistent problems fail to be addressed.
Chudzinski will have to keep answering the same questions week after week until even just one is fixed.
How can the line be improved? Why isn't Richardson seeing the field on even a few third down calls and being abandoned in the fourth quarter? Is Brandon Weeden doing enough to win games or are the players around him the problem?
It's still too early to place complete blame or make sweeping assessments but in a new year with a new regime, it's thus far the same story.
While the Ravens fend off a winless start to the season, the Browns fall to 0-2 and stay in the division's cellar, where they have been most of the last 14 years.
Déjà vu seems like destiny when it comes to Cleveland football and the continual sight is one for sore eyes.