Cleveland Browns: Grades from loss to Patriots
Special Teams: C
It was a rather uneventful afternoon for the special teams. Cody Parkey didn’t force fans to hold their breath, since he never lined up to kick a field goal. The relatively new Cleveland kicker kicked one extra point, but the offense went for two on the second touchdown, so Parkey’s day was virtually over. Britton Colquitt was busy punting, as he averaged 44.5 yards over six punts.
The Browns tried out different kick and punt returners, allowing Duke Johnson and even Joe Haden to unsuccessfully run back the few punts that they saw. In the kick return game, Tracy Howard got four opportunities since the Patriots strategically kicked the ball short almost every kick off and stopped the Browns before they got to the 25-yard-line. This strategy paid dividends for New England in the field position battle.
In the end, the Browns didn’t surrender any big plays on special teams, and did not make any either. They committed one penalty, but it really had no impact on the outcome of the game. Special teams deserve an average grade not so much for what they did, but what they didn’t do. Maybe that can be considered an improvement, or maybe it’s just irrelevant.