On the Island of Misfit Toys, the weird playthings were sitting around a fire and assuming Santa had forgotten them once again. One toy stated that it was time to begin thinking about next year. Sadly, this is the current state of the Cleveland Browns.
The big question is on Black Monday will head coach Kevin Stefanski remain or be let go? If he stays, will there be any coaching changes? What about the roster? Who will stay, and who will find employment elsewhere next year?
When Cleveland had Jacoby Brissett under center, the Browns were the #5 offense. Since Deshaun Watson has taken over, this same unit can’t score any points despite being able to move the ball. In the first half they had just 95 total yards.
In Washington, the Commanders can reach the post-season if they win out. Unfortunately, they ran into second-half Cleveland and lost 24-10.
So who played well for the Browns? Who didn’t?
RB Nick Chubb - This man is just a grinder and gets better as the game rolls along. Had just 68 yards in the first half and seemed to be all of Cleveland’s offense in the first two quarters. In the Browns’ third possession of the game, RG Wyatt Teller pulled and C Ethan Pocic took out the second level. Chubb gashed the Commanders for 35 yards. Finished with 104 yards on 14 carries and has moved into second place in the league. Late in the fourth and holding onto a two-score lead, it was Chubb who kept moving the chains and burning the clock. It was Chubb who made the block on the blitzing safety with the Deshaun Watson to Amari Cooper 33-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter.
S Grant Delpit - Let’s just say it: Delpit was the MVP of this game. Absolutely amazing game. His second of two interceptions was a toe drag swag but had help from rookie M.J. Emerson who literally pushed receiver Jahan Dotson off the play. His first pick was early in the second quarter when Washington QB Carson Wentz heaved it long. Browns LB Deion Jones got in the way of WR Curtis Samuel to which Delpit then weaved and dove for the ball. Delpit saved a touchdown with a shoestring tackle of Wentz who fell short of the goal line on their only touchdown drive. Was an active tackler and finished with seven total tackles with one tackle for loss.
Carson Wentz has completed two passes to Commanders players today and two passes to Browns players today.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) January 1, 2023
P Corey Bojorquez - Two first-half punts were downed inside the five including one of 65 yards. Had four punts for 187 yards with the two inside the 20 and a 46.8-yard average. Flipped the field position for Cleveland several times.
Second-half offense - Not sure where the receivers and tight ends were in the first half, but there was a rumor that their bus was late and didn’t actually hit the field until the third quarter. 23 passing yards, sacked four times with just three points for the first half, 146 yards with three touchdowns, and 21 points for the second half of the game. Many thanks to Fred the bus driver for finally finding the stadium.
LB Tony Fields - Not only is Fields a special teams demon, but he was all over the field today. Had an injury but came back pretty quickly and continued to help in the run-stoppage game. Led all defenders with nine total tackles.
WR Amari Cooper - First half was an enigma as the Pro Bowl alternate wasn’t used with just one target and zero receptions. His first catch was at the 10:16 mark in the third quarter. Rookie Michael Woods moved from the outside to the slot pre-snap, then did a drag route across the middle. Cooper simply did a flag route and caught the pinpoint pass, then after a short twist made CB Kendall Fuller miss and it was off to the races for the Browns’ first touchdown. Two Cleveland possessions later, Cooper was all alone across the middle and then dove into the pylon for his second score. Led all receivers with 105 yards on three catches and four targets. This means Cooper caught every pass thrown to him in the second half.
Crushing fourth down - Down 3-0, Washington began at their own 22 and had taken eight plays before the drive stalled at Cleveland’s 40. Facing a fourth-and-one, the Commanders’ offense remained on the field with 3:51 left in the opening period. TE Logan Thomas went in motion from left to right and the handoff to RB Jonathan Williams followed Thomas into the tackle/tight end hole. Except CB Greg Newsome had come off the edge which forced Williams to dart inside as the edge was now gone. DE Myles Garrett had taken an inside route and bearhugged Williams with help from Delpit and Fields. The end result was a loss of a yard and a turnover of downs.
First drive - What a horrible way for this troubled offense to begin the game. Things were going well with Chubb gaining 20 yards and two first downs, one converted on a Washington offsides penalty. Then a Joel Bitonio holding call followed by an incomplete pass. Next, Watson was sacked by a whiff block by LT Jedrick Wills. Now it’s third-and-28. A short pass to Kareem Hunt nets a negative one-yard. Five plays, six yards, 3:22 of clock. Hey, at least Bojorquez was able to boot a 64-yarder. It used to be the opening drive which consisted of scripted plays was usually a 7-0 lead.
LT Jedrick Wills - There is no doubt that the Commanders’ defensive line is a penetrating unit. Where was the majority of all that penetration in the first half coming from? The leftside - specifically Wills. With 2: 27 left in the first quarter, it was Wills’ man Efe Obada who flushed Deshaun Watson out of the pocket. On the first play after the Delpit interception, DE Montez Sweat did a sweet swim move on Wills and sacked Watson. Two plays later, Sweat lined up on Wills and then stunted to which Bitonio picked him up. Bitonio’s man was Obada who swung around and Wills completely missed him. The end result was another sack in the same series.
21-play drive - Washington tied the longest drive in the NFL this year on the Browns in the second quarter and was able to convert to take a four-point lead. The Commanders converted 5-6 third downs on this drive including a third-and-17. Playing off receivers too far on obvious passing downs plus not covering TE Logan Thomas.....ever. To top it off, this drive concluded with a touchdown of the opposition. Ouch.
Stopping third downs - Six for 10 in the first half, and 1-6 in the final two quarters which was an improvement.
7-3 Commanders lead the Browns in the worst half of football in the history of the game.— Cleveland Sports Talk (@CLEsportsTalk) January 1, 2023
First-half offense - Wasn’t this unit at one time ranked 5th in the league? Now, three first-half points, 23 yards passing, sacked four times, and 95 total yards in the first half. Very, very ugly.
Milk Bones – When you drink enough for New Year’s that you need Ryan Seacrest to help you count backward from 10
DE Chase Winovich - Coming off his injury he has slowly gotten his groove back. Today he got his first sack as a Brown midway through the second quarter. In the third quarter, he crashed down towards the inside to which McLaurin ran for 12 yards because of the lack of contain. He was able to flush Wentz from the pocket twice. On the Commanders’ final play, it was Winovich who made Wentz have to throw before his receiver was ready which resulted in a pass breakup to seal the win.
CB M.J. Emerson - In the first half, Emerson allowed receivers to catch two key third down plays by giving each a sizable cushion. With just over three minutes to play in the first half, Emerson was off TE Thomas 10 yards when he converted the third-and-five. He made up for loose coverage late in the game when he broke up the third-and-one pass to Jahan Dotson. Did anyone notice Emerson’s push-off on the receiver on Delpit’s late interception? On the game’s final play for Washington, Emerson had the pass for McLaurin cradled only to have the receiver strip him of the pick.
CB Denzel Ward - The Pro Bowler had the distinction of guarding Washington receiver Terry McLaurin who made the Pro Bowl this year. On the Commanders’ first drive, Ward undercut McLaurin and intercepted QB Carson Wentz. The Browns converted the turnover into three points.
DE Myles Garrett - Had a quiet first half and then exploded on several plays in the second two quarters with 1.5 tackles and finished with eight total tackles.
QB Jacoby Brissett - One play, two yards, one first down, one continuation of the drive for the sneak guru. Not a bad way to make his $273,529 per game paycheck.
RB Jerome Ford - The rookie has been running back kickoffs for the better part of the season before his injury. Did you see his first NFL carry though? A 12-yard run at the 5:08 mark in the third quarter for a first down. What you witnessed was Chubb’s backup next season.
The season was over for the Browns before this game. What do you think motivates players to win a meaningless game for Cleveland?
This poll is closed
Pride as a player
The ability to play spoiler
Job security for next season
A love for their coach who they know is on the hot seat and maybe a strong finish will allow him to keep his job