After a big win on national television what seems like three months ago, the Cleveland Browns travelled to the Black Hole to face the Oakland Raiders. The game featured just about everything, from long passes to breakaway runs. In the end, the Browns fell, 45-42.
The Cleveland Browns came into week four with a 1-1-1 record. With a win, they would seal their best four-game start since 2001, where they started 3-1. The Oakland Raiders stood in Hue Jackson and company’s way, desperate for a win after an 0-3 start. Following a heart-stopping game full of big plays and questionable defense, the Cleveland Browns the Oakland Raiders by a score of 45-42. Let’s get some instant reactions.
Defense Has their Worst Day (So Far)
Throughout the first half, the Browns defense that has come to wreck the league with turnovers looked like, for lack of a better term, the Same Old Browns. There was but one sack during the entirety of the first half, and Cleveland’s only takeaway was an interception off a hurried offense by E.J. Gaines. Fortunately for Browns fans, the defense did step up in the second half, but they still allowed 34 points.
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The one player to give major props to on Cleveland’s defense was Joe Schobert. Throughout the game, Schobert showed both his physical ability and intelligence on defense. He played a major part in Cleveland’s first-half interception, covering Jared Cook well enough to let Gaines swoop in for the pick. Cleveland’s defense may have had their worst day so far this season, but with a defense as young and as raw as they are, it’s almost to be expected.
Chubb Needs More Playing Time
I’ve said this many, many times before, but running back Nick Chubb might just be the best back on Cleveland’s roster. Carlos Hyde is fine, and Duke Johnson is a solid receiving back, but in terms of a pure runner, Chubb is the best choice. He may not have been the best back in this game, considering Marshawn Lynch looked like the “Beast Mode” of old at points. But, Chubb was still the best back in Cleveland.
Next week, the Browns will meet the Baltimore Ravens in the friendly confines of FirstEnergy Stadium. If Nick Chubb doesn’t see more carries at that point, many fans, including this one, have every right to blow a gasket.
Special Teams Were Not Special
Cleveland’s special teams units lost them points this week, and will continue to cost the Browns points until something is done. Returns were anything but explosive, and fumbles from said returns were some of the costliest plays of the game.
Greg Joseph kicked well, when he actually did kick in this one. The Browns went for two-point conversions more often than not, but Joseph looked fine in his limited exposure. Britton Colquitt is still a punting stud, but the Browns have no one to return opposing punts and kicks. Amos Jones, it’s time to put up or shut up.
This Team Will Have Growing Pains
The Cleveland Browns are not a finished product. They are better, and there’s no doubt about it. However, they are not yet the NFL’s elite, and it showed in this game. The defense is good, even phenomenal at times, but the team as a whole still has a lot of work to do. There’s improvement, and make no mistake, that is certainly something to be excited about! Just don’t get ahead of yourselves.
This team is going to have major growing pains. You can see it, one play they look like worldbeaters and the next they look like Same Old Browns. In the next three weeks, Cleveland will see the Ravens, the Chargers, and the Buccaneers. To see them come away with more than one of those games would be ideal. A young, fiery quarterback like Baker Mayfield will probably give you a shot in all of them, but there is no such thing for a “sure win” with this team. They’re better, but they aren’t the best.