Running Backs: D
Even though the Browns ended one of the worst losing streaks in franchise history on Saturday, they were not able to shake off their struggles on the ground. They had their moments, as Isaiah Crowell scored two touchdowns. But in the end, the play of this unit as a whole was still slightly sub-par.
Crowell ran for 54 yards on 16 carries, and Duke Johnson took seven carries for 28 yards. This total, once again below 100 yards, normally won’t be enough to get the job done.
The most troubling aspect of the play of the running backs was how they got worse as the game went on. In the fourth quarter, it was a struggle for Crowell to get back to the line of scrimmage. The Chargers were able to adjust defensively to early punches thrown by the Browns, and the Browns weren’t able to adjust to San Diego’s adjustment.
Not all of this is the fault of the running backs. In fact, this is mostly due to the poor play of the offensive line and a strong Chargers front three and linebackers. Still though, this group undoubtedly needs to improve both in running technique and in pass protection. Even in a win, this was evident.