The Cleveland Browns, looking lifeless for most of their game against the Oakland Raiders, woke up late and surged ahead to keep the Raiders winless on the season. It seems that Donte Whitner was the one to ring the bell when he forced Darren McFadden to fumble a ball into the arms of Joe Haden near the end of the third quarter. At that time, the score was 9-6, Browns.
After that, the Browns did something they hadn’t done since the Steelers game: They scored a touchdown. As a matter of fact, they did it twice in the final quarter, both off of turnovers.
So what do make of this game? I have no idea.
The Browns couldn’t run the ball. Again. Last week in that ugly loss to the Jaguars, they gained only 69 yards rushing. This one was worse: 39.
That’s not a good sign. Last week, I appropriately praised the Jags defensive front. Oakland doesn’t deserve the same praise. As a matter of fact, the Raiders have suffered some brutal injuries to their defense. Are the Browns done running the football?
Brian Hoyer had some pretty good numbers (19/28, 275 yds, 1 TD, 0 INTs, QBR 111.5) though he certainly didn’t look as impressive as the numbers reflect. The media defended him talking about the loss of Jordan Cameron, who left the game with a concussion, but I’m not exactly buying that, either. He threw some inaccurate passes and came close to getting picked a few times. The Browns were 2-12 on 3rd down.
To his credit, the first drive for a touchdown was a lot of Hoyer, who looked like the quarterback we’ve seen in the past when he had the help of the play-action. But I worry about his ability to run the offense without a running game. That’s not a call for Johnny Manziel, but I am losing some confidence in Hoyer. And yet, going back to his numbers, it’s hard to overly criticize that performance.
The defense did a good job. They gave up one touchdown in garbage time. They kept the Browns’ for-three-quarters-inept offense in this. They held the Raiders to 71 yards rushing. I don’t care if Oakland did come into this game the worst rushing team in the NFL; the Browns run defense has been gouged over and over.
The Raiders are a bad team (obviously) and the Browns struggled for 3 quarters with them. At the same time, a win is a win, and they did turn it on at the end when it mattered.
Two good things – besides the W – came out of this one: 1) The Browns were able to avoiding being the only team in NFL history to lose back-to-back games against winless teams after Week 7; and 2) they washed the awful taste of that Jaguars loss out of their mouths.
I have no idea what this win means for the rest of the season, but it’s good that they got it.
Next up: The 1-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers