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Browns’ lack of 3rd quarter scoring is unbelievable

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NFL: New York Giants at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

OK, maybe nothing is unbelievable after you accept the fact that the Cleveland Browns are 0-12. However, as I was reading a couple of threads over at The OBR during the team’s bye week, I did a double take when I saw that someone pointed how just how few points the team has scored in the third quarter this year: 16 points.

Here is a breakdown of the Browns’ points per quarter in 2016, compared to what they’ve allowed to the opposition:

1st Quarter: 46 points for CLE, 70 points allowed
2nd Quarter: 84 points for CLE, 102 points allowed
3rd Quarter: 16 points for CLE, 93 points allowed
4th Quarter: 51 points for CLE, 81 points allowed
Overtime: 0 points for CLE, 6 points allowed

In total, the Browns have been out-scored 352 to 197. Broken down on a per-game average, it means the Browns, on average, are losing 29.3 to 16.4, a margin of 12.9. All of the quarter-by-quarter numbers are bad, but the third quarter is still what sticks out the most. Can you remember off the top of your head where any of the team’s third quarter scoring has come from?

The Browns had field goals in Week 1 vs. the Eagles, Week 3 vs. the Redskins, and in Week 11 vs. the Steelers. Their only third quarter touchdown game against the Bengals in Week 7. The play that got it done? Kevin Hogan’s miraculous 28-yard touchdown run, which just might be one of the club’s Top 5 plays of the season when it’s all said and done.

The 16 points in a quarter are the lowest by any team in the NFL this year — and also keep in mind that as of this post, only the Browns, Titans, Cowboys, and Vikings have played 12 games. Everyone else will be playing their 12th game on Sunday or Monday.

1st and 3rd quarter scoring are typically lower than 2nd and 4th quarter scoring, but Cleveland’s lack of a spark out of the half all season has been aggravating and unsettling. I’m sure it’s one of the reasons that Hue Jackson controversially benched Cody Kessler in prime time during the quarter a few weeks ago too.

What’s the solution to the problem? If we’re talking about this season, I really don’t know how much coaching can help. As has been the case with many former Browns coaches, I think Hue Jackson starts with the idea that he’d like to continue running the football. However, when that first run is stopped for no gain or a loss, it forces you in to passing situations with an offensive line that has just one starter from a year ago left: LT Joe Thomas.

What would you like to see the Browns try to emphasize in the start of the second half on offense during these final four games?