If anything, this past Sunday was a friendly reminder to all Browns fans across the NFL globe that no one will beat them out for the 2016 tank fest. I’ll tread back a bit, because the baby Brownies are actually playing hard and Hue has a firm grip on motivating and preparing his team every week; but the talent is just too young and inconsistent. With that said, this team keeps fighting and wants that first win more than anything. Pryor discusses the important of the Browns obtaining the first win;
"It is like every week, we keep saying, ‘It is time to get one here and we are going to get one this week.’ I know it is frustrating for the fans. It is frustrating for us. It is probably frustrating for some of you guys that are Cleveland Browns fans and reporters, as well. I am frustrated, everybody is frustrated, but this is the time that we have to stick together and keep fighting because if we don’t quit, good things are going to come out…We just have to continue to do that and keep pushing.”—Terrelle Pryor
Nonetheless, this team is depleted with injuries. The latest has O-lineman Joel Bitonio sitting out this week with a foot sprain. Joe Haden, Gary Barnidge and Tramon Williams are questionable. Although Cody Kessler practiced this week, he status is unknown to date. Coming into the season we knew that the defense was going to be the problem. We had a lot of no-names on this side of the ball, and the hope was questionable at best. Sunday proved that the Browns are light-years away from competing for a postseason birth. Not to mention, Quarterback lives matter. If you’re keeping count, that’s 4 Browns QB’s injured in 5 weeks.
Tom Brady made his 2016 debut in which this game was predicted to be a practice game for him to “shake off some rust”; he did that and some. Gisele must have had him in an intensive pre-season program to look as good as he did; or, maybe the Browns are really that bad. I’ll take the latter. Brady went 28/40 for 406 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. Yes, 406 yards in first game back. That alone summed up the afternoon in the Dawg Pound this past Sunday.
Cody Kessler had a phenomenal first drive that resulted in a touchdown, but that was as much as he would play before suffering an injury to his chest and ribs. The Pats are the first defense this year to put the clamps on Isaiah Crowell who rushed for 22 yards on 13 carries. After Kessler’s injury, the Browns simply could not generate any type of offense. Browns leading receiver? That would be Gary Barnidge with 5 receptions for 76 yards. Terrelle Pryor finished the game with 5 receptions for 48 yards; but TP was busy running the Browns offense as well as he was 1/3 or 5 yards, and 3 rushing yards to go with it.
The Browns defense was atrocious. Christian Kirksey was the lone highlight with 11 solo tackles and 5 assists. Joe Haden got picked on a lot, and got burned a lot as well. Brady was just as savage putting Godell on notice, it was as simple as that. The Browns were just the unfortunate party looking like a scout team defense. The Browns inability to create turnovers and stop the run this year has been an increasing trend that teams are beginning to target in their game plans. We have seen in the first 5 weeks (with the exception of week 5) that teams are exhausting the defense by utilizing the ground game as much as possible to open up the playbook, thus creating long drives by converting on third downs.
This week the Browns travel to Nashville to take on the Titans. A lot of fans are banking on this being the first win of the season. The Titans are 2-3 coming into this game the Browns are 0-5. The Browns have proven they cannot stop the running game, with Demarco Murray and Derrick Henry leading the power running game I do not see that trend slowing down. Add that Mariotta can hurt the Browns with his arm and feet, I’m calling for 21-10 ballgame in favor of the Titans.