Running Backs: D
It was clear that the Browns were making a concerted effort to get their running game more involved this week. This ought to be recognized. But in the end, it wasn’t nearly effective enough, and the running backs did not help the team’s cause.
It was an improvement, as the team rushed for a total of 58 yards this week, as opposed to just 20 last week. However, it wasn’t a vast improvement, as Cleveland more than doubled their rush attempts this week.
Isaiah Crowell led the way with 44 rushing yards on 16 carries, and Duke Johnson followed close behind with 14 yards on five carries. But Crowell’s fumble which led to the first touchdown of the game was a catastrophic play in an otherwise well-played first half for the Browns.
While little offense was manufactured on the ground, the running backs were a threat through the air. Passing underneath, especially late in the game, was an effective way of stat-padding for Johnson and Crowell. In the end, Crowell caught six passes for 47 yards and Johnson caught three for 26. The screen passes and check downs to running backs are passing plays the Browns should work toward implementing into their offense earlier in the game in coming weeks.
Overall, the running backs did not have their worst game, even showing some patience on the ground. But Cleveland cannot expect to run for just 58 yards and win the game.