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Offensive 'Explosion' Leads to Browns' 14-10 Win Over Jaguars

Love the jacket.
Love the jacket.

An offensive explosion! That's what 14 points (or two touchdowns) will be labeled as for the 2011 Cleveland Browns. Personally, the final point total isn't what justifies the usage of the word "explosion." The Browns had drives of 81, 51, 85, and 60 yards, and with Cleveland holding the lead most of the way, you can't say that production came as a byproduct of "garbage" time. Let's get to the full review of the game...



  1. Awarding Game Balls: WR Jordan Norwood - Forget just this year. For the past several seasons, the Browns have lacked a wide receiver who can gain significant yards after the catch. While you don't want to get too optimistic over one play, his 51-yard catch-and-run toward the end of the second quarter brought fans to their feet. Up until that point, the Browns' offense had been pretty dormant. It was a big third-down play, and Norwood did most of the work after the catch when he put a sick move on two Jaguars defenders. The Browns scored a touchdown a little bit later. Norwood also drew a 27-yard pass interference call on a go route in the third quarter because of his threat of going down the field.
  2. Goat of the Week: Officiating Crew - This was a terrible performance by the officials, and the calls either favored or screwed each team pretty equally. There were several pass interference calls that were ridiculous, such as the ones on Joe Haden, Usama Young, and even the one where Norwood drew a flag. Replay review pretty clearly indicated that the Jaguars should've won a challenge in the first half on a tipped pass, but the play stood as called. I also believe Phil Dawson when he says his field goal attempt was good, and the cameras seemed to show that he had a legitimate argument. It figures that the crew had to be this bad in Cleveland Browns Stadium against Jacksonville.
  3. McCoy Played Excellent: Maybe "excellent" is too strong of a word, but like my usage of the word "explosion" in the title of this post, these words are "in comparison to" what we saw the first nine games of the regular season. McCoy was as accurate as I have seen him this season, he scrambled for some big yardage (5 rushes for 27 yards), and he rebounded after a costly interception to connect on what proved to be the game-winning touchdown pass to Joshua Cribbs. I'd definitely like to have the interception back, but if he throws the ball this well the rest of the way, you can make up for the occasional blunder.
  4. Defining Roles: I like how we are starting to define roles for our receivers and playing them accordingly. Norwood is the "shifty" guy. Cribbs is the all-around-threatening player who is always a threat to make a clutch play (see the touchdown reception). Greg Little will lead the team in receptions as McCoy's top target. Mohamed Massaquoi will be the guy we throw too when two defenders are converging to sandwich him. Carlton Mitchell will tweet. All of this is better than Brian Robiskie seeing a lot of snaps but having the role of not making any impact whatsoever.
  5. Was the Flip to Marecic Intercepted? On a 2nd-and-1 play at the end of the third quarter, Colt McCoy escaped pressure but was about to be hit. He then flipped the ball forward to fullback Owen Marecic, who was credited with a two-yard reception. The Jaguars claimed they had the football after the play, but the referees made nothing of it and the Browns quickly ran their next play. I think the Browns got lucky with the call here. Marecic was hit before he made a football move in my mind, and you can see the ball slip from his hands.
    In super-slow-motion, it appears to me that the ball is slowly finding the crevice between linebacker Clint Session and Marecic as both are falling to the ground. When both players land, the ball lands in Session's arms. By rule, I think that would be one of those tacky "interceptions" that was more like a fumble. Oddly enough, Marecic and Session were both injured on the same play on a Chris Ogbonnaya run in the fourth quarter.
  6. Ogbonnaya Gets it Done: Props go out to Chris Ogbonnaya and the offensive line for the Browns' monster ground game in the second half. In the first half, Ogbonnaya had 9 carries for just 17 yards, a 1.9 YPC average. That means in the second half, he had 12 carries for 96 yards, an 8 YPC average. Even if you remove his 40 yard run, he still averaged over 5 YPC in the second half. He finished the game with 21 carries for 115 yards and 1 touchdown. A better running back probably could've done a lot more, but knowing what seem to be Ogbonnaya's limits and strengths, he delivered what was needed of him.
  7. Stopping Maurice Jones-Drew: How about the Browns' run defense? Jones-Drew had 13 carries for 54 yards and 1 touchdown in the first half. He had just 8 carries for 33 yards in the second half to finish the game with 21 rushes for 87 yards. It's not like Cleveland stonewalled him, but they kept him under 100 yards for the game. I've come to the conclusion that backup running back Deji Karim is ten times worse than Mike Bell, too. Karim had 4 carries for 1 yard. He was a buzzkill to the Jaguars' offense every time he entered the game. I'd question Jack Del Rio's lack of using Jones-Drew too, who wasn't even getting an overburdened workload.
  8. Haden Getting Targeted: Say what you will about opposing quarterbacks as of late -- they don't seem to be afraid of targeting cornerback Joe Haden. I think we need to define our expectations as fans for what we expect of Haden. At this point of his career, I don't think his success is defined as not allowing a catch. Sometimes, maybe he gets beat too because he guesses wrong. I'm not going to sit here and think, "what's wrong with Haden?" Don't forget that he defended three more passes against Jacksonville. What he needs to improve on is capitalizing when he has a chance to make an interception. He definitely dropped one interception against Gabbert, and could've had two mores.
  9. Young Filling in Better: I have to give some credit to safety Usama Young, who I believe has played much better over the past two weeks than he did three weeks ago. That isn't to say that Young is a difference maker, but he is less of a liability than I anticipated when T.J. Ward went down to injury. Maybe that's because the Browns have played two of the league's worst offenses over the past two weeks. He led the Browns with 10 tackles against Jacksonville.
  10. Off Day for Maynard: At first, it seemed like it might be a little bit of an off day for punter Brad Maynard. His first punt went for just 23 yards as it sailed out of bounds, costing the Browns a chance to pin the Jaguars back deep. His next two punts traveled more than 40 yards though, one of which was fair caught at the 8-yard line.
  11. Special Teams Tackles: Not many kicks were returned for Jacksonville. There was only one special team tackle, and that went to linebacker Chris Gocong. Linebacker Kaluka Maiava and cornerback James Dockery each added an assist. Phil Dawson had two touchbacks on kickoffs.
  12. Less Trick Plays, More Aggressiveness: There was really only one "trick" play of sorts, and that was a reverse to Joshua Cribbs that went for two yards. That was perfectly fine by me, because the playcalling seemed more aggressive. I saw several instances where all four receivers were basically running go-routes up the field. I think we saw more Shotgun formations, as well as more draw plays to Ogbonnaya. As a fan, everything was less predictable. The offensive line also played its best game of the season by far.
  13. Making a Contribution: I think some of you noticed that defensive tackle Scott Paxson stuffed Karim early on in the game for a loss of two yards. That wasn't the only time Paxson saw the field. He finished the game with five tackles. His four other plays included tackles on plays that were limited the damage against the run or screen pass. Just like Emmanuel Stephens is starting, don't be surprised if we see some more of Paxson moving forward.
  14. Brownies: Tight end Ben Watson almost had a nice grab in the end zone, but the Jaguars defensed it nicely...linebacker D'Qwell Jackson continues his impressive season as my defensive MVP, and he was in on coverage on the final do-or-die play...the Browns converted 4-of-10 third down conversions, but had a stretch where they gave up too many third down conversions to the Jaguars...the Browns were 2-of-4 in the red zone this week, but 2-of-2 in goal-to-goal situations...Cleveland needs to start playing better defense when they pin teams back early on in games...I think the Browns had a perfect pass-run distribution for how the game was going this week.

Up next, the Browns have a big division game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Don't count the Browns out when it comes to making a game of this. I still think they should've won in Week 1, and while Andy Dalton has been having a great season, the Bengals have lost back-to-back games to AFC North opponents and are in their first "funk" of the season, so to speak.