Cleveland Browns lose opener to Carson Wentz, Eagles
The Cleveland Browns dropped another season opener, this time in a 29-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
No one expected the Cleveland Browns to be a great team in 2016. But Sunday’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles was much worse than what was expected heading into the game.
The Browns lost 29-10 to the Eagles, led by rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, who the Browns passed on in this year’s NFL Draft. He proved his worth by completing 22 of 37 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns.
Fans are going to question the decision to pass on Wentz after seeing him play so well, but we all must remember that Wentz carved up a young Browns defense. He can still be a great quarterback, but his true talent will not be known until he plays some more talented teams.
The final score is ugly, but the Browns were actually in the game at the start of the second half. Robert Griffin III opened the half by completing a 58-yard bomb to rookie Corey Coleman, who was covered by three defenders, to put the Browns on the Eagles’ 17-yard-line. That drive ended in a field goal, cutting the Philadelphia lead to 13-10.
The Browns defense forced a punt on the ensuing drive, but the game went downhill and was ultimately lost once the Browns got the ball back.
A terrible snap by Cam Erving went over the head of Griffin, rolling out of the end zone and putting the Browns down 15-10 with just under 11 minutes to go in the third quarter. The game was still winnable, until the Eagles drove down the field and scored a touchdown, going up 22-10 and putting the Browns at an insurmountable deficit.
The defense played a decent game up until the end. The problem was that the Eagles finished with 39:20 of total possession, putting the Browns defense at an unfair advantage throughout the game.
Carl Nassib finished the game with one of the team’s two sacks, as he continues to impress each week. Christian Kirksey had the other sack.
The defense gave up 403 total yards, but the offense was the main reason for this loss. Griffin could not keep the group on the field, as the run game could never get going and receivers continued to drop passes all game.
Gary Barnidge, expected to be a focal point of the offense, dropped the ball both times he was targeted Sunday. The receivers had a tough day as a whole, but Barnidge has to have himself a big game next week if the Browns want any chance to beat the Baltimore Ravens.
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The only highlights from the receiving corps came on two big plays. The first was a 44-yard pass to Terrelle Pryor in which the new receiver made a great catch down the sideline. The second was the 58-yard pass to Coleman, who struggled on short routes but was somehow able to haul in the long pass.
Hue Jackson is going to have a lot of questions to answer following the loss, including why he thought it was a good idea to call a fake punt while trailing 7-0 at the start of the second quarter. It was a poor fake at best, as it was more of a direct snap to Duke Johnson than a real attempt to fool the defense.
He will also have to answer why he allowed Griffin back into the game at the very end, when the quarterback appeared to be injured on the previous possession. Griffin coming back into the game is a good sign for the Browns moving forward, but a lingering injury from this game could easily lead over into next week if not handled properly.
The Browns will open the home schedule next Sunday against the Ravens, and will hopefully show up more ready to play than they did Sunday in Philadelphia.