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Browns Survive Defensive Struggle 6-3
Posted By Bradley Ross On Oct 24 2011 @ 10:15 pm In Cleveland Browns | No Comments
The Browns won, but it sure wasn’t pretty. Thankfully they were playing a Seahawks team that isn’t very good and had Charlie Whitehurst as a starting QB. The Browns may win ugly, but they win and are now 3-3. This is not a .500 team going forward however. The combined record of the teams they beat is 2-17 and while their losses are to teams at .500 or better, they struggled in 2 of those 3 games mightily. At 3-3, this is certainly not a bad team but more a team trying to figure out exactly how good they are. They still look like that 6-10, 7-9 team that many thought at the beginning of the season. While the offense looks worse than expected, the defense looks better.
Winning in football is often about winning in the trenches but the Browns couldn’t do that on offense. Colt mcCoy was pressured a lot on Sunday. He does sometimes hang onto the ball for too long, but this line needs to protect better, especially the interior with the young guards. Because of the blocking, routes did not get a lot of time to develop and when they did, Colt often missed his mark. Colt seems to be treading water right now; he isn’t collapsing like Brady Quinn did but he doesn’t seem to be getting better. I have to give a lot of credit to montario Hardesty. The line was again not very good at run blocking and they faced the #1 rush defense in the league. The Seahawks hold teams to 3.1 yards per carry and Hardesty got 2.9. This is the same clip that Frank Gore had against them and better than michael Turner.
The Special teams play hurt the Browns, but a lot of that was due to O-Line play. Phil Dawson had 2 kicks blocked. He is not a low, line drive kicker and he had only 4 blocked kicks before this. The protection just broke down and its inexcusable to let a specific player block two kicks. Even if its Warren Sapp, you have to do your job and the line did not do theirs.
The defense is what won the game for the Browns. They forced two turnovers and held the Seahawks to 2-12 on 3rd down conversions, a truly dreadful mark. D’Qwell Jackson kept up his playmaking streak and recovered a fumble, forced by TJ Ward who also had a great game. With Haden back, the secondary was lights out and held Whitehurst to 97 yards and only 3.2 ypa. Up front, they were able to put good pressure on the QB and stuff the run. The Seahawks averaged 3.8 ypc and between Chris Gocong, Jabaal Sheard, Jayme mitchell, and Ahtyba Rubin had 2 sacks, a tackle for a loss, and several hits on the QB. The Defense is now top 10 in points, yards, yards per play, first downs, and forced fumbles.
The Browns dominated time of possession 43-17. This is also very incredible when you consider that the offense wasn’t very good, but they were good when it counted. They were 12 of 24 on 3rd down conversions. A good offense like Green Bay executes on 50% of their 3rd downs. While the offense has struggled, they have been able to get first downs because Colt is a very good 3rd down QB. He is 11th in the league at securing a first down when its 3rd and more than 7, he is 7th in the league on 3rd and medium (3-7 yards) and 19th on 3rd and short. The one thing the does hurt the Browns is that they are forced into too many 3rd and longs. In the game Sunday, Colt was 9/15 on passing for a 1st down and 9/17 if you want to include the 2 sacks. Those are still great numbers and over 50%.
A lot of people have given up on Colt, but I have not. When your QB is converting 3rd and mediums better than Tom Brady (who is having an incredible year), there is some hope. The Browns will have a tough match-up against the 49ers who will be at home and coming off a bye week.
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