The Cleveland Browns certainly aren't having the positive end to the season that they had last year, losing two weeks in a row to the teams in the AFC with the worst records in the conference.
In today's 19-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, it was discouraging to see Cedric Benson and Bernard Scott run over the Browns at will. Benson had 31 carries for 150 yards, and Scott had 8 carries for 40 yards. Due to the low number of points the Bengals scored, it might seem like the defense kept us in the game. It didn't really feel that way though, as the Bengals' strong ground game, combined with a couple of efficient third-down conversions by Carson Palmer, allowed them to eat up the clock and prevent Cleveland from sustaining drives of their home.
Even though it was a division loss, the return of one player made this week's loss feel a little more positive: Colt McCoy.
If you want to look at the main problems Cleveland had offensively against the Bengals, it was the failure of the right side of the line once again. This is a position that Tom Heckert should put at the top of his priority list next season.
McCoy made a lot of very good throws against Cincinnati, especially ones down the left sideline and ones over the middle amidst defenders to Ben Watson. McCoy finished the day 19-of-25 for 243 yards and 2 touchdowns. He didn't seem fazed in his first game back, looking as calm as ever and showing enough mobility to remove any doubt regarding his health heading into the game.
A little more aggressiveness by the Browns' defense was needed today. Whether it be a lack of adjustments by defensive coordinator Rob Ryan or our defense not having a leader in the front seven, it was really the first time this season where the defense almost seemed uninspired.
One question that will definitely be posed to head coach Eric Mangini after the game is why he didn't send kicker Phil Dawson out for a field goal at the end of the second quarter. The Browns seemed to be in field goal range and there weren't reports of strong winds prior to the game.