Browns Playoff Hopes Dashed by Third String Quarterbacks

AFC Wild Card
Nov 14, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey (53) snaps the ball against the Cleveland Browns during the third quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Browns won 21-7. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Browns playoff hopes have been dashed by a couple of losses to third sting players in Brandon Allen and Devlin Hodges. Freddie Kitchens had this team on a three-game win streak after losing to Allen and the Broncos in week eight. Everything looked to be lining up for the Browns to make a run at the playoffs. Then Devlin “Duck” Hodges happened. Another third-string quarterback, another bad loss. Freddie Kitchens moves closer to a potential trip to the unemployment line.

The Offense

The offense once again came out strong on the opening drive of the game. They took the ball and Baker Mayfield and company drove down the field capping off the first drive of the day with a field goal. Baker went 4/6 for 56 yards. From that point on it was the same old stalled out Browns. The offense would not put another point on the board until 7:40 left in the first half. They would only add another field-goal the rest of the game.

This has been a standard occurrence this year for the Browns offense under head coach Freddie Kitchens and offensive coordinator Todd Monken. Get out of the gate looking like the high powered offense that everyone expected then go into a shell the rest of the game. Zero ingenuity to get the playmakers the ball in their hands.

The offensive staff abandoned the run game in the second half with only a combined six carries for 15 yards. This lack of production by the offense could end Freddie’s Cleveland head coaching career after just one season. If you ask Brownstwitter, it already has.

Same Old Problems

The Browns burn through head coaches faster than any team in the NFL, but this hire is looking more like the worst move of John Dorsey’s short career as general manager of the Browns the further we get into the season. The talent is too good to be scoring only 20.5 points a game. This fact is especially true in a league built for offenses to excel.

Most will still go to the Browns playing top defense after top defense, but at some point, you have to beat a top defense. The Browns don’t look even close to doing that consistently on the offensive side of the ball. Freddie Kitchens may have cleaned up a lot of the self-inflicted wounds, but the offense is not where it should be at this point in the season. While the offense continued to trip over itself and underperform, it wasn’t the only reason for this loss.

The Defense

Steve Wilks and the Browns defense did something they have all year. They did not make adjustments in-game. This has been something that has taken place all year but has been bailed out by a few big plays in certain games. If you review each game the Browns have played this year you will see that offenses played much better in the second half overall against this defense.

The Browns defense has given up 1.08 touchdowns per game in the first half. They have given up 1.5 touchdowns per game in the second half. Combine that with an offense that does not score as often late in-game and you end up with right where the Browns are 5-7 and playing out the string.

Browns Playoff Hopes

For this team to have any chance at the playoffs a lot of teams have to lose and the Browns have to win out with Baltimore still on the schedule. Right now not a single Browns fan can be confident this team has can. The three-game winning streak was fun and the Browns looked as though they had found something, but when you lose to Brandon Allen and Devlin Hodges are the playoffs a realistic goal. We all know the answer to that question.

Random Thoughts

Freddie Kitchens has not proven to be the answer this season. Could Dorsey pull a Jimmy Haslem and keep him anyway? Are we all over-valuing this team? Is Kitchens doing the best with a growing young football team?

Baker Mayfield must start showing up when needed most. He has had a chance to win or tie five games and is 1-4. That is not good enough if you want to be the franchise quarterback.

Nick Chubb continues to be amazing this year. He currently sits atop the rushing leaderboard with 1175 yards. The amazing part is that we all believe Freddie should run him more.

Joe Schobert is having quite possibly his most exceptional statistical season as a pro. Will all Brown’s fans ever appreciate him? Will Dorsey get sign him long-term? In my opinion, he should be a Brown for the next 5-7 years. Pay the man.

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