CLEVELAND — The name of the game on Sunday was graupel, and if you thought it would benefit the team used to playing in it, you were wrong. Even with the weather on their side, the Browns couldn’t get a win over the Las Vegas Raiders, who play half their games on the inside of a Roomba, because the defense couldn’t get a stop and struggled to get off the field all afternoon.
Time of possession
The Raiders converted 57% of their third-down attempts while the Browns converted just 30% of theirs.
“Time of possession is a great team stat,” coach Kevin Stefanski said after the game— and he’s right.
The Raiders controlled the ball, possessing it for nearly 38 minutes compared to the Browns’ 22 minutes of possession. The Browns only had six offensive drives throughout the entire game and ran just 41 plays compared to 71 plays for the Raiders.
Like running back Kareem Hunt said, that’s just not enough time for the offense to “get hot.”
The secondary has been a focal point for improvement all season. Blown coverages and missed tackles have plagued the team all year. But the rush defense, which was ranked fifth in the league heading into Sunday’s game, left much to be desired as well.
The Browns allowed the Raiders to rush for 208 yards on 45 attempts. For comparison, the Browns only rushed 22 times for a total of 101 yards.
Myles Garrett was dealing with an ankle injury the team had been cautious with all week, but he injured his knee during the game, limiting him for much of the match-up.
Stefanski said Garrett will have an MRI on his knee Monday morning, and they’ll know more about it then.
A bright spot on the defense was Olivier Vernon, who hadn’t gotten a sack all season but had two on Sunday. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to stop the Raiders.
Baker Mayfield played a decent game on Sunday. He put the ball where it needed to go, but a quarterback is only as good as his receivers, and with multiple drops from Jarvis Landry, David Njoku and Hunt, as well an unfortunate fumble from rookie Harrison Bryant, Mayfield was unable to move the ball the way he needed to in order to win on Sunday.
Penalties hurt the Browns, losing 59 yards on their seven penalties, something the team will look to clean up heading into the bye.
Weather was clearly a factor but not an excuse. The Raiders had to play in the same conditions.
“[The weather] affected it on a few throws. The wind got a hold of a couple of them, but we talked about (how) the conditions were not going to be an excuse, and they had to deal with them, too, so they executed what we were trying to do—take care of the ball, move the ball down the field, find the completions and find a way to win, any way you can,” Mayfield said.
Even though the offense didn’t have much time on the field, the losses of Odell Beckham Jr., Nick Chubb and Austin Hooper were palpable all afternoon. While Beckham is out for the season, the good news is the Browns could get Chubb and Hooper back as early as Week 10 following the bye.
The offense is getting healthy and should look much more unified moving forward, but the defense will need work. The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday, so perhaps general manager Andrew Berry makes some moves to get the defense some help—they could really use it.
Only time will tell, but the Browns have a lot to look forward to coming out of the bye.
At 5-3, the Browns are still a winning team, despite the feeling Sunday's loss gave you.
Cleveland has a week off to get healthy and right. There is no time to dwell on Sunday.
Instead, the Browns should look to bolster their defense, work with the rookies on correcting mistakes and, most importantly, keep a positive but driven mindset as they enter their week off.
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Camryn Justice is a digital content producer at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.