J.D. Bagley, @jdbagley5
Cleveland’s hopes and dreams of making their first playoff appearance since 2002 have virtually come to an end following an ugly 38-24 loss in Arizona on Sunday. The back to back years of 1-15 and 0-16 were terrible, don’t get me wrong, but this season has felt like more of a disappointment just based on how high the expectations were. There were people out there predicting the Browns were going to the Super Bowl, and now, they will likely finish under .500 and miss the playoffs for the 17th straight year.
Baker Mayfield took a big step backwards in year 2, Odell Beckham Jr. has expressed his interest in getting out of Cleveland, Myles Garrett committed one of the most gruesome acts on a playing field in NFL history, the offensive line has been horrendous all year long, and to top it all off, there’s a good chance Freddie Kitchens will be a one and done head coach. Everything that could’ve went wrong for the Browns this season did.
The Browns couldn’t stop a nosebleed versus the Cardinals. Kyler Murray and the Arizona offense went up and down the field with ease all game long totaling 445 yards against Cleveland’s defense. Coming into this game Murray was the NFL’s most sacked quarterback, but the defensive line wasn’t able to get any pressure, something they have struggled to do since losing Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon for extended periods.
Throughout the game Cleveland’s overall effort was poor, but more specifically it was their tackling that was a huge factor in the loss. The Browns are now up to 114 missed tackles on the year, which is tied with Buffalo for 2nd worst in the league. Cardinals RB Kenyan Drake took advantage of the bad defense on his way to a career best game, turning 22 carries into 137 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Offensively, it was once again Freddie Kitchens holding this team back from its true potential. Excluding the Browns final drive where they were down 21 with less than 6 minutes to go, every scoring drive (3) consisted of more runs than passes or an equal split. Every non-scoring drive (5) consisted of more passes than runs. Surprise, surprise, Nick Chubb is really good and giving him the ball a lot will help you win. He had another awesome game going over 100 yards for the 7th time this season and scoring his 8th rushing touchdown. I’ve continuously harped about how this offensive personnel is built to run the football close to 30 times a game regardless of who the opponent is, but somehow Freddie Kitchens can’t figure that out.
Odell Beckham Jr. has had a rough season based on his standards, especially with drops. He was unable to haul in a perfect throw from Baker Mayfield that would’ve been a 25+ yard gain, setting the Browns up in the red zone. The man known for his highlight reel receptions, now has more drops this season than any other year of his career except one.
Browns TE Ricky Seals-Jones got his first crack at his former team and made the most of it. With David Njoku sitting out as a healthy scratch, RSJ stepped in catching 3 passes for 29 yards and 2 TD’s in the revenge game.
Just 2 weeks remain in the regular season and Browns fans are hoping they fly by without anymore distractions. It’s been a wild ride for a fan base and organization that has been fully submerged in this toxic losing culture for 2 decades now. All we want is to win, is that too much to ask for? Apparently it is.