Special Teams: D
Once again, the special teams play of the Browns was an adventure. On the positive side, kicker Cody Parkey put forth an epic bounce back performance after last week’s three costly missed field goals. He hit one from 51 yards out to tie the game at 17 as time expired in the first half. As an encore, the kicker pounded through a 45-yard attempt to give the Browns their only lead of the game as a result of the opening drive of the second half.
Punter Britton Colquitt had a pedestrian performance, as he was used little in a game where Cleveland’s offense mostly either scored or turned the ball over.
The Browns were clearly trying to mix things up on special teams, even putting Duke Johnson back on the punt return team to return a punt. He did well, but this return was overshadowed by Cleveland’s next bizarre situation on the following punt. During a critical moment in the game after a huge stop fueled by two sacks, the team opted not to put a punt returner in the game. As a result, the ball was downed easily at the two-yard-line, setting the stage for an interception.
Special teams can often make or break a game. In Sunday’s game, this wasn’t necessarily the case, as turnovers and lack of defense proved to be the difference. But at the same time, special teams is still an area which needs to be addressed for a football team seeking to do all the little things right to make up for their depleted roster.