The Cleveland Browns are indeed a watchable team, possibly even one moving in the right direction. But in that pursuit of respectability, there will certainly be bumps in the road, especially after promising wins.
Sunday was just that, as the Browns simply didn’t do enough to overcome the Indianapolis Colts, falling 17-13 on the road in front of new owner Jimmy Haslam III.
1) With 6:45 left in the fourth quarter, the Browns were facing a third-and-one on the Colts’ 41-yard line. Quarterback Brandon Weeden took his shot downfield, had wide receiver Josh Gordon wide open on a post route, and he dropped what would have been a sure touchdown.
2) The play right after Gordon’s drop was, of course, a fourth-and-one from the Colts’ 41. Though the Browns wanted to go for it, there was confusion about the play and the team had to call a timeout. Following the timeout, the Browns chose to punt. While it wouldn’t necessarily come back to bite them, they would end up facing a fourth-and-six on the Colts’ 39 only a few minutes later and were unable to convert. The Browns were in a prime decision to go for it and didn’t pull the trigger.
There were plenty of other things to look at in this loss. The Colts’ domination of the time of possession, the Browns’ inability to do anything in the running game (they only had 55 total rushing yards) and painful penalties were just a few of the factors that made the Browns losers on Sunday.
Of course, the Browns continue to look like a respectable NFL team, if that still holds any weight. The offense, for the most part, is making strides, especially when it comes to the wide receivers. Guys like Gordon, Greg Little and Josh Cooper were impressive, giving Weeden plenty of weapons throughout the day. And despite his costly drop, Gordon is quickly becoming a real downfield threat in the NFL.
At the end of the day, though, the Browns are 1-6, losing yet another close game against a very beatable opponent. Pat Shurmur’s days in Cleveland are officially numbered.