Cleveland Browns: Studs and duds in fate-sealing Week 17 loss
Dud: Freddie Kitchens
The Cleveland Browns had an impressive first drive — and it only took three plays. The first two plays were runs by Nick Chubb which gained six and four yards respectively. That set them up with a 1st-and-10 from the Cincinnati 46.
On that play, Baker Mayfield dropped back and threw a beautiful deep pass to second-year receiver Damion Ratley, who caught his first career touchdown. On their next drive, Kitchens reminded us why he’s been under fire.
As has been the case throughout the season, he followed up a drive that was set up by the run with three straight passing plays. That resulted in a sack, followed by two near-sacks which ended with Mayfield throwing the ball away. The three-and-out was frustrating but not unexpected considering Kitchens has been guilty of abandoning the run week in and week out.
This trend continued a Cleveland had just 10 run plays called in the first half and another two rushes by Mayfield. They went into the half with just 34 yards rushing against 119 for the Bengals.
Kitchens ended up running the ball just 13 times with Chubb and he had 41 yards. Not only was this bad for their in-game strategy but Chubb ended up losing the rushing title to Derrick Henry.
There were already many reasons for fans to be upset with Kitchens but Chubb not winning that title seems to have pushed them over the top.
Not long after the game, Kitchens was relieved of his duties. The team tried to support him but the complete meltdown to end the season proved to be too much to overcome.