The Cleveland Browns lost another game in ugly fashion, except it was really basically the perfect game for the Browns. Brandon Weeden and Willis McGahee leading the Browns to a win would have maybe been nice for a whole 10 minutes, but if they did win, the Browns would lose position to acquire what they hope is a franchise quarterback. Josh Gordon’s incredible performance is not any less memorable or impressive because of the final score. He was a monster in the game. Meanwhile, in losing, the Browns are a step closer to getting him the quarterback that can keep him being special for years to come.
Losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars had a couple of benefits. First, the Jaguars came into the game with a 2-9 record. This wins puts them to 3-9 with a game against Houston on Thursday. If they can beat the Texans, they and the Browns are even at 4 wins with both teams looking for a franchise quarterback.
Second, the goat of the game was Weeden, who is not long for this team anyway. He handed the Jaguars a pair of interceptions as well as a fumble he lost. And while it was not his doing, the safety just sort of gets thrown on him, because he is Weeden. He also came out with a number of flip passes, which did not end in disaster but just adds to his gag reel. The rest of the team played well enough to win, but Weeden almost singlehandedly gave the game away and with it, helped the Browns get closer to drafting his replacement.
The defense was up and down, but they were not the reason the team lost. The late touchdown on Joe Haden looks bad as he bit badly on a double move, but he also had an interception earlier in the game which with the offense did nothing. They only gave up 195 yards passing from Chad Henne but they did give up 112 yards rushing on the day, which is not great. The pass rush was more effective, getting two sacks and a couple of hits but is still not where it should be. Barkevious Mingo had some good flashes in the losing effort.
Gordon was a monster. Even in a game where he missed most of the third quarter while being evaluated for a head injury, he was a one man wrecking crew for the Browns. Weeden made a couple nice passes to him including the first one that set up their first score, but much of it was Gordon dominating and the Jaguars curiously not providing extra help in covering him.
The players who can play on this team have not stopped contributing. Players who need to play well are for the most part with their fair share of miscues and mistakes. The guys who have no future in Cleveland are killing them and only helping the Browns get in position to be best equipped to replace them and be better. The loss is unfortunate, but it really was the best result possible aside from Gordon needing to be evaluated for a head injury.
The Browns go on the road to take on the New England Patriots this week and should be able to get to 4-9. Hopefully, some of these other teams can continue to win games and go past the Browns in the draft order. Entering the game, the Browns were poised to pick ninth, but this game and other results similar while opposing teams keep climbing out of their respective basements could move them up in the draft order. The Minnesota Vikings picked up a win in overtime against the Chicago Bears, improving their record to 3-8-1.