Halloween became a treat for the Cleveland Browns as they played all kinds of tricks on the Cincinnati Bengals. Not exactly what homes are supposed to do for visitors on that night but that is where the analogy breaks down.
For Browns fans, excitement rules on this turnaround Tuesday.
Cleveland’s season is still alive despite being 3-5 and blowing game after game this season. Keeping a winning record in the division (2-1) while keeping Cincinnati winless in the AFC North (0-3) could be huge as the season comes down the stretch.
Going into their bye week, the Browns are two games back of the Baltimore Ravens for the division lead and 1.5 back of the Los Angeles Chargers for the final wild-card spot.
A few thoughts from last night, for today’s trade deadline and looking forward:
Jacoby Brissett Played Well
Outside of a terrible decision to try to keep a screen alive, Brissett played very well against the Bengals. The raw stats were good but he also excelled in a lot of little areas on the field. No quarterback is perfect so his fumble (that looked like an INT) has to be forgiven.
Interestingly, one data set (helped by the INT being called a fumble) had Brissett at the top of all quarterback play this season:
Jacoby Brissett earned a 95 NGS passing score in Week 8, the highest by any QB in a game this season.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) November 1, 2022
Brissett completed 9 of 11 passes vs the blitz for 177 yards & a TD despite facing a 50.0% pressure rate when blitzed.#CINvsCLE | Powered by @awscloud pic.twitter.com/VxGcMjnHyP
Win Because You Are Running, Running Because You Are Winning?
For most of the NFL, teams run the football a lot because they are winning games. Most teams do not run the ball a lot to help them win games but, instead, because they are ahead and are now trying to control the clock.
The Browns aren’t most teams. Cleveland runs the ball well most of the time which helps them win games. They also run the ball more often when they are winning games like most other teams do.
Speaking of running the ball...
Nick Chubb on Pace...
Nick Chubb through 8 games:— Field Yates (@FieldYates) November 1, 2022
- 841 rushing yards (1st in NFL)
- 10 rushing TD (1st in NFL)
- 9 rushes of 20+ yards (1st in NFL)
- 27 rushes for 10+ yards (1st in NFL)
- 39 rushes for a 1st down (1st in NFL)
Now on pace 1,781 rushing yards and 21 rushing TD. pic.twitter.com/dq02X6fJ7B
Giving the Defense Credit
Credit whoever you want but Joe Woods’ unit held down a good Cincinnati offense on Monday Night Football without Denzel Ward, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and others. Joe Burrow threw an interception, lost a fumble and was sacked five times.
Joe Mixon had just 27 yards on the ground (on only 8 carries) and the defense limited them to just over 23 minutes of possession.
Despite the loss last week, Woods’ defense limited Lamar Jackson’s offense to just two touchdowns including one on a short field after a turnover.
While it hasn’t been perfect, John Johnson III led a swarming pack of Dawgs last night. Hopefully, like last year, another defensive turnaround is in the works.
Trade Deadline Rumors
I can just tell you what I’m hearing:
- Cleveland is still open to move Hunt if he is still desiring it and they get the right return
- Trading Hunt (or another veteran) could provide assets to make another deal
- For example, trading Hunt for a draft pick and turning around to use a similar pick for Daron Payne would shuffle their talent and improve their overall team
- Andrew Berry doesn’t feel pressure to make a move or moves but is open to it
- Don’t expect any huge moves (unless you consider trading Hunt huge)
- The Browns believe they have the talent, in most places, to push for a playoff spot
Next Three Games
A schedule that looked daunting in the middle has come back to earth a little bit. The next three games could set Cleveland up for a surge when Deshaun Watson returns.
With Miami playing up and down and the Browns coming off their bye week with a home game, a victory is very possible. The Buffalo Bills have been destroying most teams and would have to have an off-game for almost anyone to beat them, at this point. Then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to town after Thanksgiving. The Bucs have struggled all year and could be on the outside looking in by this time.
If Cleveland can take two out of three, a 5-6 record with Watson returning for the final six could find the team squarely in the playoff hunt with three winable games and three AFC North matchups to close out the season.
How are you feeling on this Turnaround Tuesday?