Cleveland Browns crushed by Steelers, 4 takeaways


Nov 15, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) gestures at the line of scrimmage against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 30-9. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns never stood a chance in Pittsburgh against the Steelers. A 30-9 loss is an awful way to go into the bye week, but so it goes with the Browns every year.

They may have had more of a chance if not for the play of Pittsburgh’s backup quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. He may be the best backup in the history of the NFL.

Once the defense knocked Landry Jones out of the game, it was only a matter of time before the score became insurmountable for Johnny Manziel and the offense.

Here are four takeaways from the putrid performance:

A running game?

The Browns trailed much of the game, forcing them to pass often, but the 15 rushing yards on 14 carries isn’t exactly an NFL-caliber performance. Manziel actually ran for 17 yards, but a negative rush by Travis Benjamin and the -5 yards on six carries by Isaiah Crowell are to credit for the 15 total yards.

With performances like this every week, it may just be best to not run the ball at all. If your starting running back finishes with a negative yardage total, continuing to call run plays does not make much sense.

I know, a balanced offense is necessary for a team to have success, but the lack of any run game does not allow for even an attempt at balance.

Manziel looking better

Aside from fumbling on the first play, Manziel played well. He finished with 372 passing yards and a touchdown on a day when his head was almost ripped from his body.

He is beginning to look more comfortable and now that the Browns are 2-8, I see no reason to not let him start the rest of the season.

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I am not on the side that says he should play just because he was a first-round pick and we should see if he’s good enough, but rather I think he should start for his own development. Josh McCown has played well this season when healthy, but he has not done much in terms of leading the team to wins. Let Manziel play and improve so if he starts next season, he will have some experience running this offense.

Win again this season?

Remember when the Browns were 2-3 and about to beat the Denver Broncos? Yeah, that was really cool.

The Browns have six games remaining and I do not see them winning again. They play each team in the division once more, along with the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs.

The Browns of recent past usually pulled out a random win against a top team once the season was already lost, but this team does not have the talent. The offense can barely score and the defense can barely stop other teams from scoring.

They may have a shot against the 49ers or the Ravens, who they have already beaten once this season, but I do not see it happening.

A long bye week

Jimmy Haslam has made it clear that no changes are coming, but maybe he will change his mind after the fifth loss in a row. I do not usually advocate mid-season coaching turnover, but it just isn’t working out with the current group.

When your team finishes with 12 penalties for a total of 188 yards, some of that has to fall upon the coaching staff.

If it doesn’t fall on Mike Pettine then it falls on Ray Farmer, the guy in charge of putting these players on the field. Just the same ole’ Browns.