Browns End Playoff Hopes with Loss to Ravens

The Browns insanely slim playoff hopes we slammed shut in about a minute in a half by the Baltimore Ravens. That is how long it took for the Ravens offense to score two touchdowns right before the half to take control of yesterday’s game. From that point on the Ravens had full control of the game and the Browns playoff hopes slowly drifted away. Now comes an offseason of questions and likely more drama after a disappointing season. But all of that is for another day let’s recap this one.

The Trenches

Browns
Creator: Rob Carr
Credit: Getty Images

Sunday was the perfect example of a good offensive line and one that rates well in certain areas. The Ravens offensive line took control of the game, as they have all year, by pushing people in the running game. Lamar Jackson had three touchdown passes(two really nice ones) but it was the rushing attack that once again was the story. After those two great touchdown passes the Ravens came out and ran and ran and ran. They were able to take off over seven minutes in the third quarter before the Browns offense got on the field. That is how you make it hard for teams to win. The opposite was true for the Browns.

The offensive line played well overall, as everyone will say when defending the line, but it is crucial parts of the game where you see the failures. One of those was after a defensive pass interference call that placed the Browns at the one-yard line. You have the best back in the AFC, maybe all of the NFL so this should be easy. Hand it off and smash into the endzone for a nice touchdown dance allowing you back in the game. But with 9:33 left in the game, Freddie lined up and tried to smash the ball into the endzone twice only to see his offensive line fail him. The total yards for the rushing leader on those two plays? that would be minus-five yards. On both runs, Baltimore blew through the line as it wasn’t there.

Lamar Jackson

Browns

Lamar is going to win the NFL MVP, period. The man is having one of the greatest years at quarterback we have ever seen. There is no doubt we all know that he is an exceptional talent and will be tough to beat come playoff time. The only way you are going to beat this Ravens team is to get a lead and then grind out against their defense. It sounds easier than it is since the rushing leader in the NFL was able to muster 45 yards on 15 carries.

While Lamar Jackson is a great talent and deserves a ton of credit for the improvements, he has made from year one to year two. There is something to the old saying It’s not when I am drafted I just want to end up in the right situation. Lamar Jackson is exactly that player. He has the perfect coach, offensive coordinator, and talent around him to succeed. More general managers and coaches should look at what Baltimore has done to help Lamar succeed and use it. Especially the one that battled them this past Sunday.

Freddie Kitchens

Browns
Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Another Sunday brought another player on the sidelines yelling at head coach Freddie Kitchens. This time it was Odell Beckham Jr. that was animated on the sideline after his touchdown catch and the ensuing missed two-point conversion. In the end, it was all innocent according to the enigmatic wideout as he stated he was upset about being told he would be ejected if things didn’t settle down between him and Marcus Peters. He was called for a ridiculous unsportsmanlike taunting penalty earlier in the game for a catch celebration he has used the entire year and obviously had him upset already. With all of that now cleared up the questions move to Freddie’s future in Cleveland.

We all saw the story last week before the Cardinals game from Ian Rapoport that Freddie Kitchens would have to have a “horrific collapse” for the front office to consider a change. The last two games? probably not, but most fans would likely disagree. While the pendulum continues to go back and forth on Freddie, currently leaning more towards get a new coach, you have to wonder what John Dorsey considers a horrific collapse. As I stated at the outset, as the season winds down there will be plenty of questions waiting.

Random Thoughts

Where do you think the Haslams are with this regime right now? Dorsey has brought in talent overall but ignored vital areas. Freddie Kitchens was his hire, and the Haslem’s steered clear of the entire thing. This season went awry quickly, but Browns never set the expectations, so is this considered another step in the process? I guess we will all find out very soon.

In 35 plus years of watching football, and most of that the Browns, I am not sure I have ever seen the debacle that happened right before half time. All you had to do was hang on to the ball and wear out the clock, hoping you walk away with some points. Obviously, that did not happen.


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