The Cleveland Browns closed ended their season on Sunday in the same fashion as many other games this season: the defense kept them in the game while forcing turnovers, but an inept offense couldn’t find the end zone. This time, the result was a 13-9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In windy conditions, the Browns were only able to muster 240 yards of total offense, with quarterback Seneca Wallace completing only 16 of 41 passes (39 percent) for 177 yards and one interception. The one bright spot of the offense, though, was Josh Cribbs, who had a career day with seven catches for 91 yards.
Despite being hobbled, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was able to complete 57.5 percent of his passes and throw for 221 yards. He was sacked twice, but the Browns weren’t able to get the kind of pressure they needed. Roethlisberger was able to complete passes to nine different receivers.
Now that the season is over, the Browns are left with plenty of questions and concerns for 2012. It’s obvious that an overhaul is needed on offense, as the team needs to target true playmakers in both free agency and the NFL Draft. A game like the season finale is the perfect example of how close the Browns could be to respectability if they could only find some firepower on offense.
With the draft picks in place and plenty of money to spend, this is the offseason for the Browns to make a splash. It’s unfortunate when a season finale signifies a merciful end rather than an exciting one, but after what fans endured with this team, it’s time to put this year in the rearview mirror.
Here are some more notes following the Browns’ loss to the Steelers:
- Running back Peyton Hillis wasn’t able to do much against the Steelers and their top-ten rush defense. He had ten carries for 30 yards and left the game early in the fourth quarter with a knee injury. It’s hard to gauge right now whether the Browns intend on bringing him back next season.
- The defense was, once again, the Browns’ biggest strength, holding the Steelers to only 13 points and giving the team multiple chances to win. Despite forcing two turnovers in the fourth quarter, the defense wasn’t rewarded by the offense with a scoring drive.
- It should be obvious now that Seneca Wallace isn’t the answer at quarterback either, right?
- Despite the loss, this was a game that did offer hope to Browns fans for next season. The defense should only get better and the offense certainly couldn’t get much worse. As far as points are concerned, this season produced the Browns’ lowest point total (218) since 2000.