Cleveland’s secondary had its worst game of 2016 on Sunday, and that’s really saying something. Over and over again, Andy Dalton and A.J. Green torched the Browns with chunk play after chunk play. In the end, Green put up 169 yards and a touchdown on just eight receptions. Brandon LaFell also chipped in with 83 yards and a touchdown on just four receptions.
Of course, Browns fans knew that Cincinnati would have a productive day through the air. What they didn’t know though, was that they would put up 308 yards, without Tyler Eifert being a major factor. Also, it wasn’t expected that the Bengals would average 16.2 yards per catch. It goes without saying that this is a major problem.
These stats may be slightly skewed by the final play of the first half. On a “Hail Mary” sort of play, three Browns defenders surrounded Green in the end zone, but Green still managed to haul it in. This was undoubtedly an unbelievable individual effort by the former Georgia Bulldog. Still though, someone in Cleveland’s secondary needed to knock the ball down. This play proved detrimental, as it opened up Cincinnati’s lead to 21-10 at the half.
The Browns clearly don’t have the personnel in their secondary to compete with the likes of Green and LaFell. This is why many will argue that it isn’t fair to judge them harshly. But they still play in the NFL, and they still should be held to a standard within what is reasonable. Allowing more than 300 yards through the air and missing tackle after tackle is not reasonable.