The Cleveland Browns laid an egg against the Los Angeles Chargers in a 38-14 blowout.
Cleveland now sits at 2-3-1 on the season and yesterday’s game was my worst fear. Everyone seemed pumped for this game but it didn’t seem like the players were ready for the game and that goes on the coaching staff.
I know circumstances like injuries happen but being the talk around the league and having celebrities like Snoop Dogg praising and supporting the team shouldn’t take away that this is still a young team that has a lot of work to do. Hopefully they get re-focused this week and get back to work as they travel to Tampa on Sunday.
Here’s my takeaways from the game
Mayfield had his “Welcome to the NFL” game
The first overall pick had his struggles in his third career start, going 22 of 46 for 238 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
While he had those flashes that continues to give Cleveland hope he’s the quarterback of the future, he definitely had plenty of mistakes and things to work on.
The interceptions are going to come as a rookie but he has to make better decisions. The first interception was under duress and he threw it across his body trying to get it to Jarvis Landry. The second interception, it looked as though he was locked on to David Njoku and Desmond King, who got both of the interceptions took notice and made the play.
Mayfield injured his ankle in the first half but he said it’s not a long term concern so hopefully some treatment this week will have him against Tampa. The fact Mayfield held himself accountable after the loss and said the offensive performance lies on him is a good sign of a leader.
Duke and Chubb deserve more touches
I don’t mean to beat the dead horse but Duke Johnson and Nick Chubb deserve to get the ball more.
Carlos Hyde had a 20-yard run negated early because of a Desmond Harrison penalty but it shows that he doesn’t have the consistent explosion to be a top running back. I know he’s in the top ten in rushing yards but games like yesterday where he had 34 yards on 14 carries will drop him down the list quickly.
Duke Johnson spoke out about his role on offense diminishing from last year to this year. Well with the injuries on offense, he got his opportunity and made the most of it with six offensive touches for 109 yards from scrimmage (36 rushing, 73 receiving). Maybe Todd Haley got Duke’s attention and will get him more involved offensively.
Nick Chubb had 25 yards rushing on three carries and would’ve had more but his 19-yard run in the second quarter was negated by a holding penalty.
I know that Haley trusts Hyde and depends on him more because his blocking prowess (which is debatable after watching the game yesterday) is more polished than Chubb but the Browns need to find a way to get #29 and #24 the ball more on offense.
Wide receiver position is a mess
When your top two receivers have 4 catches for 20 yards on 19 targets, it’s a real issue.
It’s becoming more apparent that Jarvis Landry isn’t a number one wide receiver in the NFL but with the situation the Browns are facing right now, he has to be that guy and also the fact the team is paying him like one as well.
Antonio Callaway has the talent to be a good wide receiver but I think the Browns are putting to much pressure on their fourth round pick who coming into camp was the fourth receiver and then with the situations with Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman, Callaway got launched into the starting lineup. His hands are too inconsistent and that was expected if you did the homework on him in the draft process.
Rod Streater suffered a neck injury very early in the game and his future status is unknown at the moment.
Rookie Damion Ratley got his first chance of serious playing time yesterday and while he led the Browns with six catches for 82 yards on eight targets, he let a touchdown catch go through his hands on a flea flicker early in the second quarter and another chance to make a big play go off his hands late in the fourth quarter.
The Browns did sign Breshad Perriman on Saturday but his hands are also inconsistent and shouldn’t give any hope until proven otherwise.
If Streater is down, the team will obviously have to go out and get another wide receiver. Oakland is supposedly shopping Amari Cooper and if you’re the Browns, you have to make the call to see what it would take to acquire him because he would instantly bolster the depth chart at the position.
Defense needs to shut up and play
Yes, there was some questionable calls by the officials once again that “hurt” the Cleveland Browns but at the end of the day, the team gave up 38 points defensively.
Make no mistake, the Chargers are a talented team and they’re 4-2 for a reason and why many people picked them as a darkhorse Super Bowl team.
The run defense has taken a major step backwards through six weeks and Sunday was the worst performance giving up 246 yards on the ground.
Phillip Rivers has been performing great when teams send a blitz which Gregg Williams loves to do and Rivers made the Browns defense pay on two big throws to Tyrell Williams on a quick 89-yard drive resulting in a touchdown.
One play that stands out to me is this Melvin Gordon touchdown run
It’s not even just Jamie Collins, there’s other players on the play not giving maximum effort and just letting Gordon walk in for a touchdown. I understand that fatigue could be setting in after playing a lot of football so far through six games but for the players, if they want to have a future in the league, they need to start putting better effort on the field but at the end of the day, that’s on the coaching staff for not being harder on them.