Cowboys @ Browns Preview

America’s Team pays a visit to The Land tomorrow afternoon as the surging Dallas Cowboys (6-1) take on the struggling and banged up Cleveland Browns.

This is a tale of two teams going in two completely different directions. The Cowboys have improved from a season ago, using their solid quarterback play from rookie Dak Prescott to lead the NFC. As for the Browns, they’re still looking for their first win of the season and are using their rookie QB Cody Kessler who has been cleared to play after suffering a concussion two weeks ago against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Although the Cowboys are favored to win the game, they can’t sleep on the Browns because even though there record shows no wins, they have come extremely close to winning games yet always falling short in the end.

Speaking of falling short, that’s something the Browns need to turn around this week if they want any chance at winning this game. The fourth quarter, and in some cases the entire second half of games have been the Browns Achilles heel. They have been outscored 51-121 this season in the second half of games including a quarter of overtime against the Miami Dolphins.

The defense has been atrocious even with some rookie play makers like Carl Nassib and Emmanuel Ogbah but it gained a boost at the linebacker position as Jamie Collins was acquired from the New England Patriots just before the trade deadline. Attacking the stacked Cowboys offensive line and getting to the rookie QB should be priority number one for the defense this week. Cowboy’s RB Ezekiel Elliot, the NFL’s leading rusher this year, also needs to be held in check for the Browns to have any chance of winning.

This won’t be the hardest test for the Cowboys, but it could be a statement game, showing the rest of the NFC that their team can beat any team, good or bad, home or away. For the Browns, a win would just be a good feeling to the team and for the fans.

Browns Blow It Again. Lose to Jets 31-28

Two struggling teams met down at First Energy Stadium looking for statement wins as the Cleveland Browns fell to 0-8 after a brutal comeback win by the New York Jets 31-20.

Browns QB Josh McCown struck early and fast as he drove the team down 75-yards to hit WR Andrew Hawkins in the back corner of the endzone for a 5-yard touchdown for the 7-0 lead. Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick scrambled for a first down, which was reviewed and ruled short, and took a hit by rookie Breian Boddy-Calhoun and both players were taken to the sideline to be evaluated for concussions. Boddy-Calhoun was taken to the locker room but Fitzpatrick was able to remain in the game. McCown did have another good drive late in the first quarter but the Browns had to settle for a field goal and increased the lead to 10-0.

The Jets started off the second quarter with a 35-yard Bilal Powell touchdown run which is the longest run for the Jets this season and put them back in the game trailing only by three. Rookie defensive players Carl Nassib and Emmanuel Ogbah were making impact plays in the first half. Nassib had two batted balls at the line of scrimmage and Ogbah recorded another sack to bring his season total to 3.5. RB Isaiah Crowell started to turn on the jets, no pun intended, and found the endzone late in the second quarter with a 1-yard rushing touchdown and ended the half with a field goal to go up 20-7.

The Browns have not been good in the third quarter all year long. When coming out of halftime, the Browns defense has allowed six touchdowns in the teams first possession of the second half. The Jets looked to get back in the game with a 78-yard drive capped off with a 24-yard touchdown from Fitzpatrick to WR Quincy Enunwa to cut the Browns lead down to six. The defense let the Jets drive down again and score on 4th and 1 from a Matt Forte 4-yard run giving New York the 21-20 lead.

After another Forte rushing touchdown, the Browns defense has let the Jets score 21 unanswered points and making Fitzpatrick and Forte look like a superstars. McCown and the Browns offense disappeared in the second half. In the third quarter alone, they only had 44-yards total. In the fourth quarter, being down by eight, McCown looked deep for Terrelle Pryor but Pryor hesitated on the route and the ball was intercepted by the Jets. McCown threw another interception inside the Browns 10-yard line which set the Jets up for a field goal to end the game 31-20.

The Browns will take on the Dallas Cowboys next week at First Energy Stadium still looking for win number one of the season

Browns Vet On Trading Block

According to Ian Rapoport, Cleveland Browns CB Joe Haden’s name has been mentioned to be available to be traded ahead of Tuesday’s deadline.
Haden has struggled with injuries over the past two seasons. Last year he played just five games due to concussion issues. Injuries aside, Haden is still thought of as a top five corner in this league and could possibly be a steal for a team with a solid foundation on defense.
No details have been released on the conditions of the possible deal for the veteran corner.

Jets @ Browns Preview

Sunday’s match up between the New York Jets visiting the Cleveland Browns might not be Sunday Night Football material to some, but these are two teams that have had the same problems all year which has the potential to be a watchable game.

It’s no secret that the Browns have had a their fair share of injuries this season, mostly coming from the quarterback position. QB Josh McCown will be the starter tomorrow according to head coach Hue Jackson. He was a full participant at practice all week and has passed all tests by team doctors to fill in for the injured Cody Kessler who is going through the leagues concussion protocol. The Browns are still searching for their first win of the season and this could be a good week to get it done against the struggling Jets.

Along with Kessler, CB Joe Haden is doing everything in his power to get back on the field after sitting out the past few weeks with a groin injury.

The Jets have has quarterback problems of their own, though not as serious as the Browns situation. Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick won the standoff with the team in the offseason to get his big payday after last season when he went 10-6 and was one win away from the Playoffs. This season, he has been underwhelming. He has thrown for 11 interceptions and only six touchdowns. He was benched last week in favor of backup QB Geno Smith but Smith ended up with a season ending leg injury which brought Fitzpatrick back in to win the game.

The Jest defense has been a staple for the past few years. With CB Darelle Revis back with his former team where he had memorable match ups against the leagues best receivers, he’s something that the Browns have to plan for. Revis was quoted this week that he is not his former self and his body is ‘Shutting down” on him. Shutting down or not, he will still be a threat against the offense.

With Fitzpatrick under performing this year, this will be a good chance for the Browns young defense to get to the quarterback and force some turnovers. McCowns will have to limit turnovers himself, especially near his own endzone. Let’s also hope that McCown doesn’t do another helicopter impersonation like the last time these teams met.

Browns Manhandled By Bengals; Fall To 0-7 After 31-17 Loss

Like most of the games this year, the Browns defense got gashed by the run game in the first series. It took only seven plays with 54-yards rushing yards to set up the 5-yard rushing touchdown by Giovanni Bernard to go up to a quick 7-0 lead. Although the Bengals are missing their former offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, they had no trouble balling out on the young Browns defense. Through the first quarter, Andy Dalton only missed 4 passes on the banged up secondary of Cleveland. The Bengals did end up missing a 40-yard FG attempt to keep it a one possession game

It seemed as though the Browns rushing attack was getting back on track. on their second drive of the game, RB Isaiah Crowell, although he sat out for a crucial 3rd and 2 in the redzone, rushed for 31-yards with a 20-yard burst to the 49-yard line of the Bengals. However, with Crowell on the sideline, Duke Johnson was stopped short of the first down and the Browns were forced to kick the FG to make the game 7-3. Backup QB Kevin Hogan even had 3 carries on the read option plays for 48-yards in the first half. Crowell did find the endzone for a 3-yard rushing touchdown to go up 10-7 .

The Browns have had success against the pass on short, easy passes all season but have struggled defending the big plays and that was the case here again as Dalton found WR Brandon Lafell for the 44-yard strike to get the lead once again going up 14-10. With Browns QB Cody Kessler being evaluated for a concussion, Hogan had to come in and was making decent throws against a solid Bengals defense. Like all new Browns QB’s, TE Gary Barnidge was a safety blanket and was targeted tree times but caught two passes for 25 yards on the drive but couldn’t convert and were forced to punt yet again as the half ended with a Hail Mary from Dalton to AJ Green for the 21-10 Bengals lead.

With Kessler ruled out with a concussion, it was time for Hogan to show what he could do against the Bengals. He started off rough with a few hits and short passes but with help from Crowell eating up big chunks of yards, the Browns capped off a drive with a 28-yard touchdown run by Hogan to make this a four point game. The Bengals would not be shown up in their stadium as Jeremy Hill broke off a 74-yard and basically untouched rushing touchdown. After Kevin Hogan’s electric start, there wasn’t much to brag about. He did throw an interception that the Browns stripped away and recovered. The Bengals weren’t doing much with their time either and kicker Mike Nugent missed a 45-yard field goal after missing a 40-yarder earlier.

Kevin Hogan, late in the fourth quarter, went over 100-yards rushing but couldn’t get his arm under control and had trouble throwing the ball. Hogan willed his way close to the redzone to try and dig in to the Bengals lead even though time was not on the Browns side at this point. He dropped back for a pass and his arm was hit while throwing and intercepted to seal the game for the Bengals 31-17.

The Browns, still looking for their first win of the year, will play the struggling New York Jets next Sunday.

Browns Fall To Titans 28-26

A fourth quarter comeback was not happening today as the late efforts of the Cleveland Browns weren’t enough to notch their first win of the season over the Tennessee Titans.

It was rough right from the first start for the Browns as Tennessee QB Marcus Mariota turned on the jets and ran for 41-yards on the very first snap of the game down to the Browns 34-yard line. RB DeMarco Murray has been a consistent threat all season out of the backfield but the Browns held him to negative rushing yards in the first drive. Although they held the Titans in check for most of the drive, Mariota found Rishard Matthews for an 11-yard touchdown on 3rd and 15 to go up 7-0. Cody Kessler was back after exiting last weeks game with a chest/rib injury and was looking to get the momentum back but even after a 43-yard reception to TE Gary Barnidge but ended up with only 3-points on their opening drive.

The Browns had another drive that was promising after a 39-yard pass interference call against the Titans but RB Isaiah Crowell was held to -5-yards and a missed block by C Cam Erving held the offense to another field goal attempt which was good and only trailed by one. Mariota finally showing his arm strength in the second quarter as he hit a wide open Kendall Wright for the 48 -yard score to add on to their lead and go up 14-7. The second quarter was not a good one for the Browns. They couldn’t convert on third down, punting from inside their own 10-yard line and can’t get anything going on the ground with Crowell. Right before the two minute warning, Kessler was forced out of the pocket and threw a 42-yard bomb to WR Ricardo Lewis which led to a 7-yard score from Kessler to WR Terrelle Pryor to cut the lead to one to end the first half.

In the second half, the Browns started with the ball but couldn’t covert on their first possession and were forced to punt. After scoring on their first possession of the first half, Mariota found Matthews again for a 43-yards which set up the 3-yard rushing touchdown from Murray to increase their lead to 21-13. Once again, the Titans defense shut the Browns down in a critical situation. The next Browns possession ended after a sack, a batted ball and a completion but not a conversion on 3rd and 20 and were forced to punt yet again. Mariota started off with the ball in the fourth and has been playing well thus far but as he scrambled out of the pocket, he throws a ball that would be picked off by Tramon Williams for his first pick of the game. For the first time in a long time, the Browns would start with decent field position but it wouldn’t matter as they can’t convert on third down yet again.

Later in the quarter, after three straight third and long conversions, Mariota found TE Anthony Fasano for a 15-yard touchdown to make it 28-13. Kessler ended up taking a huge hit on 4th and 1 but made a completion to Pryor to move the chains. After a drive where Kessler was running more than he was passing, the Browns did make it to the Titans 5-yard line to potentially score with 2:10 remaining in the game. A slant route by Pryor would give the Browns a touchdown but fail the 2-point conversion. The Browns would try the onside kick and recover the ball with 2:05 left in the game and look to somehow get 10-point in that time. Another rough possession for Kessler but somehow he ends up in the redzone for the 2-yard Duke Johnson Jr. touchdown with another onside kick ensuing but couldn’t recover and the Titans win a close one 28-26.

The Browns, still looking for their first win, take on the Cincinnati Bengals