Cleveland Browns dud: David Njoku, Tight End
Against the Ravens, it was hard to find anyone who meant as much to the Browns win as David Njoku. The seventh-year tight end had 58 yards on six receptions and was bowling over people after every catch. This weekend, he again put up great numbers but nearly cost his team as well.
Njoku finished with a team-high seven receptions and had 56 yards — which was second only to Elijah Moore who had 60. The problem is, it took an awful lot of passes to get those numbers. Dorian Thompson-Robinson targeted Njoku 15 times, which was nearly double the player with the second most targets — Amari Cooper had eight. Some of the misfires were on the quarterback but Njoku let him down as well.
The first example of this came in the second quarter when Thompson-Robinson threw it his way in the end zone. Njoku did have a defender right on him but was in front of him and boxed him out for the ball. DTR also put it where only the tight end could make a play and it hit him directly in the hands before falling to the turf.
Yes, it would have been a tough catch but Njoku is one of the highest-paid tight ends in the game, meaning he's supposed to make those. Cleveland settled for three on that drive, taking a 10-0 lead. That was a solid halftime lead but it could have been more.
Njoku let the quarterback down again late in the game, dropping the ball twice on the same drive. First was on a first-and-10 but then two plays later, on third-and-seven, he dropped another. That seemed to be devastating since Cleveland had to punt it away with fewer than two minutes to play.
Fortunately, the defense got them the ball back with only 14 seconds running off the clock. Njoku even got some redemption when he caught the final pass of the game, an 11-yarder that moved the ball to the Pittsburgh 26. He deserves praise for that play, which ensured they would be in field goal range but he might not have gotten that chance if the defense wasn't on fire.