The only thing uglier than the combination of uniforms on the field (the Browns pants have to go) between the Packers and the Browns was the play of the Browns offense. While Brandon Weeden was and is awful, he was not the only player that came up short on this game. There were countless mistakes by players on this offense and the defense gave them countless chances to get back in the game, but they consistently came up with too little, too late.
Weeden is terrible. There is only so much that can be said about him. He started out an awful one of his first eight passes before getting in some kind of rhythm. The quarterback position is critical for success in the NFL and the Browns simply do not have one and will be on the top of their list after this season and in the upcoming NFL Draft. As awful as Weeden is and was, everything was not his fault.
The running game proved to be terrible and the Browns tried to be balanced for much of the game before the deficit was too much and they just had to keep throwing the ball. As a team, the Browns had 83 yards on 22 carries, which sounds pretty decent until it is pointed out that Weeden had two of those carries for 20 yards. The Browns can occasionally make a nice play on the ground, but they are never able to get a play when they need it and they certainly cannot line up and get a yard when they have to have one with any more confidence than a coin flip. MarQueis Gray did a poor job reading his keys the two times they tried to have him run read plays, which ended in disaster as well.
The wide receivers had some problems too. Davone Bess had an uncharacteristic drop early. Josh Gordon had a couple of drops. The first of which he was bailed out because of an unnecessary roughness call on Tramon Williams for tackling him because Williams thought he caught the ball. Later, Gordon made a bad play on that critical fourth-and-15 play in the early part of the fourth quarter.
People can argue about the merits of going for it there as opposed to a field goal, but the play call worked and Weeden delivered the pass where it needed to be in order to move the sticks. Unfortunately, Gordon mistimed his jump and did not really reach out well to try and catch the ball, which had numerous critics question his effort on the whole day. In Gordon’s defense, he actually did a great job on a pass earlier in the game that was in the end zone as he effectively turned into a defensive back and broke up a pass that probably should have been intercepted by Davon House.
Jordan Cameron was a lone bright spot who was able to make plays for the Browns. On 9 targets, he caught 7 passes for 55 yards and a late touchdown. Greg Little was able to make a few plays, but was unable to secure a pass on the last drive of the game when Weeden fired a fastball behind him that hit him in his back hip on yet another terrible throw.
Joe Thomas and Mitchell Schwartz had false start penalties, which did not help either. Weeden is a train wreck behind center and his play is indefensible on its own, but he was not alone in this game when it came to mistakes and bad plays. With few exceptions, the entire offense proved to be a disaster and while they do have some key pieces in place, and while quarterback is at the top of the list of needs that have to be addressed, they need a running back or two, another wide receiver to be a legitimate play making threat across from Gordon and act as an insurance policy for Gordon’s off field issues, another tight end to complement Cameron, and likely at least one offensive linemen. They are positioned well to address these areas but they are stuck with what they have for another 9 games.