In a game that came down to the wire, the Cleveland Browns simply fell short and now face an uphill battle to make the postseason.
The Cleveland Browns faced an uphill battle all week long, even with the postponement of the game that was originally supposed to be played on Saturday afternoon. COVID-19 has simply ravaged this team over the past week or so, and that caused a plethora of key players to miss Monday’s game against the Raiders.
Still, Cleveland had a chance to put the game away late but failed to do so, and now has a tall, yet not impossible task, ahead of them in order to reach the playoffs for the second year in a row. It will all start on Christmas Day when the Browns travel to Green Bay to take on Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
Now, before we can fully move on to the Packers, who clinched the NFC North a week ago, we must look back at what went right and what went wrong in the Week 15 contest against the Raiders.
Cleveland Browns Special Teams Grade
Ever since the legendary Phil Dawson left the Browns nearly a decade ago, Cleveland has been searching for a new kicker to replace him, and it appears that search will continue.
Chase McLaughlin started off the season on a hot note, giving fans hope that we have finally found the guy to replace Dawson. Now, he might not even be on the team by the end of the week. McLaughlin initially made a 46-yard field goal to end the half and give the Browns their first points of the game, but that was called off due to Las Vegas calling a timeout.
If you’re reading this, you’re likely a Browns fan, so you know where this is going. McLaughlin missed the kick after the timeout, thus keeping Cleveland blanked for the first half. And naturally, the Browns ended up losing by two points. You can’t make this stuff up. The missed kick dropped McLaughlin to 15-21 on the season.
As for the other kicker on the team, punter Dustin Colquitt might have taken Jamie Gillan’s job. Gillan has struggled most of the season and has been highly inconsistent. Colquitt has been a bright spot in terms of flipping the field.
On Monday, Colquitt punted seven times for 313 yards, with an average of 44.7 yards per punt. He put the Raiders inside the 20-yard line twice, including pinning them at the four-yard line. I think it is safe to say Gillan will be let go once he is off the COVID list.
As for the return game, there wasn’t must of one. Demetric Felton was only able to return one of five Las Vegas kickoffs for 24 yards. Donovan Peoples-Jones took care of the punt return duties but was only able to return one of four punts for 20 yards.