Bye Week Seemed of No Help to Browns in 24-17 Loss to the Raiders

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 16: Colt McCoy #12 of the Cleveland Browns fumbles the ball against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on October 16, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Looking at the final score, I'm still amazed that the Browns were in great position to tie this game and force overtime. That was made possible by Hue Jackson's erroneous decision to not kick a field goal to give his team a late three possession lead, but sometimes coaches just have too much faith in their ability to execute that one fourth down play. The Browns still came up short, but I keep thinking back to how memorable this comeback would have been had they completed it.

CLEVELAND BROWNS (2-3) GAME #5 OAKLAND RAIDERS (4-2)
VS.
17 24

WEEK 5 - CLEVELAND BROWNS VS. OAKLAND RAIDERS (COMPLETE GAME REVIEW)

  1. Goat of the Week: OG Shawn Lauvao - For as bad as the Browns played during the game, I don't know if one guy stood out in particular as worse than the others. For now, I will single out Lauvao. I think he's been a disappointment this year, assisting in the regression of the offensive line. He also had two critical penalties during the game. After the Raiders' kickoff return for a touchdown, the Browns were actually having a good drive before a hold on Lauvao stalled the drive in its tracks. On the team's first drive of the second half, McCoy had just completed a pass to move the chains to prevent the team from being backed up too close to our own end zone. Lauvao then cleaned up a block after the play was over, setting the Browns back ten yards again.
     
  2. Awarding Game Balls: WR Greg Little - In his first start, the rookie wide receiver had a career best 6 catches for 72 yards and did the best job on offense of sparking the Browns (or looking like a true starting receiver). If not for a slip near the goal line, he would've had a first NFL touchdown. Little's development over the best several weeks should be fun to watch; we can only hope he gains more confidence and has some 100+yard games. Full game ball award given here.
     
  3. Running Back Controversy: I personally don't see there being a running back controversy -- I want Peyton Hillis to be the guy, and I think a bunch of unfortunate things have happened to him that have no bearing on him not wanting to be here or Pat Shurmur being at odds with him. But, it's very annoying that the usual "quarterback controversy" has been substituted by a "running back controversy" this year. His stats don't show it, but I thought Hillis was doing well when he was in again. We need to find a way to get him healthy, and I believe had the hamstring injury not occurred, Shurmur would have stuck to his word and given him the bulk of the carries.
     
  4. Moore Gets Three Targets: I think we saw tight end Evan Moore on the field a little more often early in the game, but his output/playing time was still no where near what I imagined. He was targeted three times and had two catches for 12 yards.
     
  5. Massaquoi Shows His Value: I wish he would've been able to hang onto McCoy's last pass of the game, but I like the fact that Mohamed Massaquoi has now made two pretty difficult catches for touchdowns in two of his past three games as the game is on the line. Don't underestimate the value in someone who doesn't lose motivation when a big play is needed, and right now, that area of the field seems to be his niche.
     
  6. Eaten Up by McFadden, But Only Early: On the first drive, I thought it was going to be a loooooong day for the Browns' defense. Darren McFadden was lighting up the defense with ease and capped things off with an opening-drive touchdown. After that though, the defense definitely held McFadden and Michael Bush in check. Part of that had to do with Jason Campbell going down and the Raiders playing Bush too much, but it's still not an easy task to bring down a guy who may be the league's best back.
     
  7. Picking on Patterson: I have mixed feelings on how Dimitri Patterson did in a starting role. I thought he made sound tackles and tried to deflect some passes. The issue is that he was giving huge cushions on many plays, and even Kyle Boller can complete those passes (shudders). I assume that was a coaching decision though, because we've seen Patterson play much more aggressive in previous games (although you certainly have more freedom as a nickelback). On the other hand, I was not pleased with rookie cornerback Buster Skrine, including a poor decision he made to stop a runner on the edge.
     
  8. Ward Gets My Approval: I liked what I saw from safety T.J. Ward against the Raiders after I had complained about him last week. He seemed a little more aggressive and even played a role in busting up a screen pass. He finished with seven combined tackles.
     
  9. Defensive Line in Spurts: I was frustrated to see our defensive line allow Oakland's quarterbacks to scramble for a total of 25 yards, especially when we had him in our sights a few times. One of those scrambles did end Jason Campbell's season, which is something that set off an amazing turn of events before the trade deadline yesterday. Still, the defensive line made some of the impact plays that make me love this unit. Phil Taylor had 1 sack and 2 tackles for losses, while Jabaal Sheard had a sack and a forced fumble.
     
  10. Special Teams Killed Us: We never would've said that under Brad Seeley, even though I don't fault our guys completely for selling out on Oakland's fake field goal. But, when you give up two touchdowns on special teams, that definitely is demoralizing. We got a taste of our own medicine of how other teams felt in the past when they faced us, and you could tell by his comments after the game that Joshua Cribbs was pissed about it.
     
  11. Special Teams Was Also Great: There were also a lot of good special teams plays. Phil Dawson was money on a key 48-yard field goal, and give credit to he and holder Brad Maynard for getting an extra point to just barely get over the crossbar after a rare botched snap by Ryan Pontbriand. Speaking of Maynard, he was brilliant on punts, showing greater distance on his kicks than he has all season. Out of six punts, four of them were inside the 20. We didn't lose this game due to field position. Lastly, how pumped were you when Dawson and James Dockery connected on the onside kick? I was starting to believe again.
     
  12. Special Teams Tackles: There were four special teams tackles -- one each for T.J. Ward and Emmanuel Stephens, and two for cornerback James Dockery.
     
  13. Evaluating Colt McCoy: It's really tough to evaluate Colt McCoy because of a lot of factors: no running game right now, a suspect offensive line, no set rotation at wide receiver and tight end, and some questionable playcalling. The bottom line is that when I see McCoy, I'm not seeing that "X Factor" that I'd like to see. He needs to be able to overcome those things at times and make the defense pay for loading the box against him. I think he's doing a terrible job reading defenses pre-snap right now, presenting a big issue when teams come after him right away.
     
  14. Brownies: Each team completed 50% (8 of 16) of their third down passes...the Browns continued their red zone dominance on offense, as they notched touchdowns on two tries down there...despite Lauvao's mistakes, the overall penalty total and yardage on both sides was low...I don't think the Raiders targeted cornerback Sheldon Brown once...linebacker Scott Fujita left the game with a concussion...the Browns lost the time of possession battle 34:41 to 25:19, which isn't something you expect to see when a team is not on the field very long due to two special teams touchdowns.

Up next, the Browns head back home to take on the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks have shown some spark the past couple of weeks, but right now, I am liking Cleveland's chances against a team that doesn't have a great running game or a legitimate starting quarterback (did I mirror Cleveland with that comment too?...ouch).

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