The Browns beat the Bengals yesterday 27-19 to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. While this is what you want, it may have been one of the most un-satisfying wins ever seen. The offense looked out of sync and relied heavily on the pass in the first half. The defense only seemed to play well in the red-zone.
This game felt like one of those Browns losses everyone has seen in the past. You outplay your opponent overall, but in the end, you can’t finish drives, or the opponent off for the win. That was the Bengals struggle yesterday. Let’s get down to recapping this win.
The Browns started this game as feared, lazy, and undisciplined. They did not look like a team still trying to get into the playoffs no matter how long the shot was. Freddie was calling pass play after pass play, leaving Nick Chubb, yes NFL rushing leader Nick Chubb twiddling his thumbs with only THREE carries in the first half. Then Kareem hunt must have had a big first half, right? Wrong, he also had three carries. Apparently, someone forgot to tell Freddie Kitchens they have the BEST running back tandem in the NFL before the game. The Browns did, however, take a 14-13 lead into halftime.
At halftime, someone must have told Freddie about that whole running back thing because the Browns came out pounding the ball at the Bengals. They took the second-half kickoff and went on a five-play 75-yard scoring drive all on the ground. This was highlighted by a Nick Chubb 57-yard sprint down to the Bengals three-yard line. Kareem Hunt took it in from there for the score. Freddie would turn to his backs the rest of the way to take the win.
Steve Wilks needs to figure out how to generate some consistent pressure without Myles Garrett. The Browns defense was facing the second-worst offensive line in the NFL per Football Outsiders. Yet, Andy Dalton found himself with plenty of time to survey the field most of the day. Against a better football team, you will be lucky if they don’t drop 30+ points on your defense. That is especially true when you can’t stop the run either.
The Bengals came into the game with one of the worst running attacks in football. The Browns made them look like they had former Browns great Jim Brown in the backfield. Joe Mixon had easily his best game of the year with 146 yards on 23 carries. He also added another 40 yards through the air. While a very talented back Mixon has had an awful year behind that line but, as has been the case all year, the Browns defense got beat up on the ground. With the Ravens one of the teams you have to beat to give you a shot at playoffs the run defense better get fixed quick.
Browns Need to be Better
Against any other team in the NFL except this one the Browns would have lost this game. They allowed the Bengals FIVE trips to the red-zone on defense and let them hang around at halftime. If they do this the second time around against the Bengals it could mean trouble. This team still has a slim chance to get to the playoffs and playing like they did yesterday will not be good enough to give them the best chance to get there. In the end, a win is a win and the Browns beat the Bengals for win number six on the year.
The Arizona Cardinals are next and the Browns must be ready to play once again if they want the best chance at sneaking into the playoffs.
Did Odell Beckham Jr. look like a guy that was happy in Cleveland? Not from what I saw yesterday. The Browns are beating the Bengals, and he is upset about something stomping to the sidelines.
If Freddie Kitchens finishes 8-8, he will keep his job. Dorsey will view it as a step forward under a whole new regime and with a young roster. 7-9 will likely get him fired. That is the NFL for ya.
If you are not enjoying what Nick Chubb is accomplishing, you are missing out. This young running back is EVERYTHING you look for in a teammate, and he is exceptional on the field. If nothing else, Cleveland, please enjoy watching Nick Chubb.
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