The 5-2-0 Browns against the 3-3-0 Las Vegas Raiders. Both clubs have won some nail biters this year. This game was a pivotal point for both teams.
For Cleveland, a victory would say “We can beat the good teams” while for the Raiders, they are in a competitive division in the NFL and didn’t want to lose any ground.
The Browns offense has been the pinnacle of the club while the defense somehow has found their turnover magic each game. Going into this contest, Cleveland ranked fourth in turnover differential with a +5 while Las Vegas is one of the worst in this category with a -5.
However, Cleveland’s offense played poorly and gained only 223 total yards, plus their defense could not stop the run up the middle. In the end, Las Vegas took home a 16-6 victory in a frigid game.
So, how did the Browns do? Who played well and who did not? What worked or failed to work?
RB Kareem Hunt - Other than Jarvis Landry making a circus catch or demonstrating his tight-rope abilities, Hunt was the lone offensive output with the offense. Interesting enough, was rarely used in the short passing game but was the key rusher all game. 14 carries for 66 yards is nothing to call home about, but his twisting runs plus balancing act was Cleveland’s version of “offense.”
DE Porter Gustin - With good pressure off the edge, Gustin could be seen in the Raiders backfield frequently and should have had a half-sack on Olivier Vernon’s credit in the second quarter. With Myles Garrett hurt, Gustin finished with seven total tackles. It was Guston who hit Raiders back Josh Jacobs on the third-and-one from the one-yard line to force another field goal.
WR Jarvis Landry - Was rarely utilized in the first half, but found some positive gains after intermission. Excellent concentration on the one-handed grab with just under four minutes to play. Pedestrian numbers of four receptions for 52 yards.
S Ronnie Harrison - Was active in the running game because the front middle of the defense was being manhandled which put runners in the deep secondary. Had a key stop in the goal line stand. Led the defense in tackles with 10. Missed a sure-fire interception that could have changed the complexity of the game, but was solid all game long with sure tackling.
Goal line stand - Las Vegas was up only seven points and with 13:11 left in the game began on their own 20-yard line with what would become a 13-play drive that consumed 8:47 of valuable clock. Jacobs ran seven times - most of it up the middle - before QB Derek Carr scrambled 18-yards to the Browns’ two-yard line. Jacobs up the middle for one with Harrison on the tackle. Jacobs stuffed for no gain by Adrian Clayborn. With third-and-goal, Gustin penetrated between center and right guard and hit Jacobs for no gain.
DE Olivier Vernon - Had two sacks and the game’s only QB hits. Had decent pass rush but wasn’t involved in the run stoppage game much.
DT Larry Ogunjobi - The Raiders did whatever they wanted up the middle for most of the contest. Ogunjobi was pushed out of the play consistenly by Las Vegas right guard Denzelle Good. When Ogunjobi finally made a play with a sack in the third quarter on a key third down, he was hit with a face mask penalty. With 8:55 left in the game, the Raiders had a third-and-two on the Browns’ 27-yard line. RB Josh Jacobs took it right up the gut past Ogunjobi for the first down and later the Raiders scored a successful field goal. He finished with three solo tackles - all three yards or deeper past the line.
Missed opportunities - David Njoku dropped pass on a third-and-eight to stall a good drive. Cody Parkey missed a field goal with two scores down. Jarvis Landry’s touchdown was ruled as a juggle and negated. Harrison Bryant’s fumble in Las Vegas territory. Ronnie Harrison dropped an interception that in all likelihood would have been six points. Landry could not handle two passes in the end zone.
Offensive production - Where was this vaulted two tight end set that was advertised? Both Bryant and Njoku were rarely targeted. After Rashard Higgins broke the 100-yard plateau last week, he only saw three balls with a single catch. Hunt had just two catches. Donovan Peoples-Jones didn’t see a single pass thrown his way. Baker Mayfield had 38 passing yards in the first half while the rushing total was a paltry 54 yards through two quarters, and 101 for the game. Was this a graupel thing? Cleveland had the ball for only 22 minutes and crossed the 50-yard line only four times.
Third down conversions - Zero conversions for the game. Dropped balls hurt the cause by Landry, Njoku and Hunt, but in the end the Browns whiffed and stalled drives.
Final drive - The Raiders had just ate up 8:47 of game clock, kicked a field goal and went ahead 16-6. Now down by two scores, Cleveland took control on their own 25-yard line with 4:24 remaining in the game. A 14-yard completion to Higgins and then a 10-yard pass to Harrison moved the offense to midfield. Mayfield then hit Landry who made a one-handed catch to the Raiders’ 25-yard line with 3:25 left. Three plays later, it was fourth-and-one from the 16 with 2:28 to go. The Browns had all three time outs plus the two-minute warning, but instead went for it on fourth down and converted. Next, five plays whittled the clock down to under two minutes. If Cleveland had kicked the field goal with 3:25 to go, then relied on their defense to make a stop, there was ample time left. Yes, the defense had issues all game; but with all those time outs if they did indeed get the ball back, the offense would have had sufficient time to go for the seven points needed and perhaps seen magic two weeks in a row.
DC Joe Woods - The Browns missed tackles and had no answer of how to stop the run as the Raiders rushed an incredible 44 times for 206 yards. Why didn’t Woods stack the box? The defense also had a weak pass rush especially after Garrett went down. Woods’ play-calling lacked situational awareness while Las Vegas’ time of possession was 37:43 for the game.
Milk Bones – Vidalia onion sweet with a shot of Frank’s Red Hot sauce
LT Jedrick Wills - The rookie had issues with DE Clelin Ferrell for most of the game and saw the talented defensive end make inside moves to force hurried throws. One holding penalty plus two false starts including one on the final drive on the Raiders’ 14-yard line and needing some sort of score. Mayfield had six bootleg plays, all to the side of Wills to help him keep Ferrell’s pass rush contained. Had a good game in run blocking; although early in the second quarter Hunt attempted to run left and ran into Wills who was being pushed backwards.
K Cody Parkey - It was windy, cold, had hail and sleet. As a kicker you should know your own stadium. After making two field goals, Parkey missed a 37-yarder because of weather conditions that would have kept the Browns mathematically in the game.
S Andrew Sendejo - Missed several tackles and then leveled the Raiders’ Henry Ruggs in the second quarter after a short four-yard gain. Then left tight end Darren Waller all alone in the third stanza for a key first down in the third quarter. Finished with five tackles.
LB B.J. Goodson - Part of the reason Las Vegas was able to move the ball through the middle was the fact that Goodson was pushed repeatedly out of the way by either Good or RG Gabe Jackson. Goodson’s only recourse was to turn around and attempt to swirl out of blocks. He allowed RB Jalen Richard to go up the gut for 12-yards on a third-and-four with 18 ticks in the first half. Decent coverage on Waller for most of the game and finished with six tackles.
What were the issues on offense for the Browns against the Raiders?
This poll is closed
No OBJ, no Austin Hooper, no Nick Chubb, no Wyatt Teller
Running game never got traction
Raiders’ defense had a good game plan
Las Vegas is a good team and the Browns don’t do well against good teams