Cleveland Browns: Wondering what has changed since Week 4
The Cleveland Browns are in Cincinnati to take on a Bengals team that embarrassed the Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium back in Week 4.
The Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals met up back in Week 4. Both teams were 0-3 and Browns fans, myself included, thought a win could be picked up early on.
Those were simpler times.
The Bengals proceeded to leave town with a 31-7 victory after leading 21-0 at halftime, causing the stadium to clear out before the game reached the fourth quarter.
Cut to Week 12 and the two teams are meeting up again, the Bengals still in the playoff hunt at 4-6, while the Browns are on the track to the number one overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
At this point, the Browns just need a single win. And things are so bad that some fans, and perhaps even the front office, may not even be excited with a win as it could hurt draft position. This is the sad state of affairs with this team for a second season in a row.
But Hue Jackson and the players don’t care about the draft, and will continue to work hard to pick up that elusive victory. The problem is their best work may not be enough.
The Week 4 loss was perhaps the worst loss of the season for the Browns. Andy Dalton threw four touchdowns, while DeShone Kizer went 16 of 34 for 118 and no touchdowns. Isaiah Crowell was the leading rusher with 20 yards on seven carries.
While the defense has improved since then, the offense continues to make mistakes and it is hard to go into this Week 12 matchup with a belief that this Browns team is better than it was in Week 4.
Corey Coleman is back, but Joe Thomas and Jamie Collins are out. The only individual who will inspire much confidence of a victory will be Josh Gordon, and he doesn’t come back until next week.
The running game continues to be a non-factor and Duke Johnson, arguably the best player on offense, can barely get any touches. The same goes for David Njoku, who isn’t on the field enough for this offense. Perhaps someone should take this up with the offensive coordinator.
Next: Browns vs. Bengals: 3 keys to watch on Sunday
Even if the Browns hold onto the football, a win against the Bengals would be a major surprise. I keep saying it is statistically hard to keep losing every single week, but I’m not sure this week will provide Browns fans with any sense of joy after the way we all watched the Bengals destroy the Browns back in Week 4.