Cleveland Browns: Freddie Kitchens’ game management improving
The Cleveland Browns play on Thursday night football. Will Freddie Kitchen’s finally figure out how to manage a game?
The Cleveland Browns came into Thursday night coming off a big win against the Buffalo Bills. This was a short week with the always good Pittsburgh Steelers on tap.
The decisions of head coach Freddie Kitchens have come under fire in recent weeks. His game management skills have rightly been questioned. How will he hold up tonight?
The first decision of the night was made by general manager John Dorsey. To activate offensive lineman Drew Forbes, the Browns needed to clear a roster spot. They cleared a spot by waiving oft-troubled Antonio Callaway. If this is the sign of things to come, the Browns will be off to a good start.
For the most part of the first half, the Browns looked like a well-coached team. There were very few penalties and the clocked was managed well. But then the inevitable happened.
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The Browns got a turnover. With just over 3 minutes left in the half, the Browns got the ball in scoring position. The Browns should have run the clock down by running the ball or throwing short passes. Either way, that possession should have been the last possession of the half.
Instead, the Browns threw the ball twice while only running the ball once. The result was two incomplete passes and a missed field goal. The Steelers got the ball back with just over 2 minutes left. It looked like the Steelers were going to score but the Browns defense came up big to save Freddie from his decisions.
This blemish is the only stain on what was otherwise a well-coached half. Freddie seems to be finding his groove as a coach.
Early in the third quarter, the Browns went on a remarkable run of futility when it comes to offense. They employed the pattern of pass run-pass punt offense. The result was very quick drives that took very little time off the clock. The Steelers offense was on the field much longer than the Browns.
The play calling in the second half has been a head-scratcher. With the lead, the Browns should be running the ball to use up the clock. Instead, they are passing (with a lot of incompletes), stopping the clock and getting 3 and outs. Not good play calling given the situations the Browns are in.
Once again, great plays by the defense combined with an inept Steelers offense has been bailing Freddie out of his stupid decisions. Hopefully, this will continue through the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter went the Browns way. The Browns began attacking the edge with the rushing attack. They began to run out the clock with the running attack.
Freddie coached the game like he was ahead and it paid off. Better game management resulted in a less dramatic game. Although kicker Austin Seibert‘s two missed field goals made the game closer than it needed to be.
For the first time this season the Browns only had to beat the other team. They didn’t have to overcome their own head coach to win the game.