For the sixth game in a row, the Cleveland Browns took a lead into the locker room at intermission. And for the fifth time this season they were completely outplayed in the second half by a very beatable opponent. The Browns fall to the Detroit Lions 31-17, dropping their record to 3-3.
The Browns play in the second half this season, no matter who the quarterback is, has been horrible. In six games they have not scored in the second half at all twice; take away the 20 second half points they scored against the Bills they are averaging four second half points a game; even with the Bills game they are averaging less than seven second half points a game; and in three of the games they have scored no fourth quarter points.
Against the Lions the refs did the Browns no favors on several big plays. I had a good view of the first quarter pass interference call on Joe Haden in the end zone, it was a lousy call and the replay backed up the fact. Also the replay showed the pass Greg Little caught in the fourth quarter challenged by the Browns was a catch. What did the refs see in that replay we didn’t?
Brandon Weedon had a solid first half, throwing two touchdowns and no interceptions. In the second half he threw two picks he shouldn’t have, and scored no points. How much of that is Weedon’s fault and how much of it is the offensive game plan is something we will never know. Both of Weedon’s interceptions were his fault, poorly thrown balls at the wrong time.
The defense was on the field too much the second half, but that is not an excuse for some sloppy play. They too did not make some needed in game adjustments. They needed to quit covering Reggie Bush out of the backfield with a linebacker who could not keep up with him, and how many big plays were they going to let tight end Joseph Fauria before changing up things on him?
The Browns are a terrible second half team on offense. They can’t protect first half leads, and seem to make much more mistakes after the half than before. For example, the team’s last five interceptions have been during the second half, they haven’t thrown a first half pick since the first half of the first game.
The radio and television talk shows this week will all be about Brandon Weedon. I don’t know if he is the answer at quarterback, and I know he threw two interceptions against the Lions he wishes he had back, but the problems on offense are not about who is at quarterback. The problems are the inability to hold leads, not taking time off the clock in the second half with successful drives, and not scoring second half touchdowns.
Remember the old saying, when a team wins the quarterback gets too much of the credit, and when they lose too much of the blame.
Brian Hoyer is hurt and out for the year. Weedon and Campbell are whom we have left for the season. But don’t think things are going to change in the future. There is no Andrew Luck coming up in the next NFL draft, the next few NFL drafts for that matter. Drafting a quarterback is a crapshoot in this era were most college quarterbacks never really learn to read defenses and coverages. The RGIIIs of the world take off and run if their main targets aren’t open, and we see how things are working out for the real RGIII in Washington. The team traded away their future for him and they are currently 1-4, and yesterday he threw no touchdown passes in a 31-16 loss to the Cowboys.
Blame Weedon for the loss to the Lions if you feel you must blame someone. But if you do, also spread some of the blame around also to the offensive coaches for some poor second half-play calling, and to a defense that didn’t make any adjustments when needed.
Pregame Notes…For our pregame activities this week we decided to check out the festivities around the Galleria on East Ninth Street and I’m glad we did. We got there at 10:15 and Winks, a Winking Lizard knockoff, was already jumping. There was outdoor and indoor seating, and they feature beers and spirits from Ohio and the surrounding region. I’m not of the craft beer generation, I’m showing my age, but still found a few beers I liked. I had a veggie wrap fro breakfast and it was very good. About half the stands in the food court were open, and there was a bar and DJ out on the patio. We walked down to East Ninth and Lakeside where WKNR and several of their sponsors had a great set up that included a live band, several bars with large screen TVs, and plenty of room to get comfortable.
Next week I’ll be coming to you from Green Bay, as I will be making the pilgrimage to one of the shrines of football. I am not giving up on the Browns or anyone on the team or coaching staff. Still plenty of football to be played, and I really believe the Browns are so close to being good. I’m not waiting for some franchise quarterback to show up to turn things around; it is just not going to happen anytime soon. We are stuck with this team and I am sticking with them.