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Good call on the triping against Cook
Robertson gets Bernard on the swing pass. Good D so far.
Sheard gets a hurry on the rush. He blew right by the LT.
Bad field position for the Browns at the 14. The Browns need to get a fast start.
McGahee with good vision for 6.
McGahee caught in the backfield.
Great down field coverage by the Bengals allows a coverage sack of Campbell
Not exactly the fast start I had in mind.
Jackson submarines RB Green-Ellis
Another run by Green-Ellis GETS 4
Haden stops Green from getting the first. Skrine helped
Ogbonnaya gets 7 over LG. Nice blocking.
Whittaker gets the initial first down
Ogbonnaya gets 43 on a fake reverse. Good vision and decent speed on the run.
Campbell to Gordon for 5 over the middle.
Wild cat becomes the Mild cat for no yards.
3-5 Ogbonnaya gets to the 9 on the pass on a swing pattern.
McGahee makes two players miss in the hole on a run for 3
Burfict called for a personal foul. Ball at the 2 first down.
Cameron open but the rush getting to Campbell.
3-1.5 New personnel takes too long and the Browns burn a TO AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This has to stop.
Three tries from the 2 and they can’t score. Not good. They wasted a great run by Ogbonnaya.
CL 3 CN 0 4:10 in the 1st
Dalton picked off by Haden. The pass was right to him. He was not even in coverage. I have no Idea where Dalton was throwing the ball.
Campbell under pressure looks left then throws right to Little for 5
Campbell missed Ogbonnaya and nearly throws a pick.
Throw too far for Gordon. 2 FGs from DEEP inside the red zone will come back to bite the Browns in the rear.
CL 6 CN 0
Mingo and Winn get Bernard in the backfield for a loss of a half yard.
Haden picks Dalton again and this time takes it 29 yards to the house to prevent another field goal. Haden read the out pattern by Green and jumped it. They will throw an out and up later.
CL 13 CN 0 2:19 left
Personal foul against Martin takes the touchback to the 35. That can not happen.
Daltons pass knocked down by Hughes who collapsed the pocket.
Holding on the Bengals and they face a 2nd and 20.
Gresham is wide open and drops the pass.
3-20 Throw to Bernard but he is short of the LTG.
1-10 @ 20 0:56 1st q Harrison picks off Campbell and runs it in for the TD. He carried Alex Mack for 5 yards. Penalty on the return takes it back to the Browns 22. The Bengals giveth and taketh away.
1-10 @ CL 22 Green Ellis nailed for a 3 yard loss by Haden and company.
End of the 1st quarter
Throw to Gresham for the TD. He got open against Jackson.
CL 13 CN 7
1-10 @ 20 14:52 2nd McGahee for just 2. No push by the O line.
Screen to Ogbonnaya would have lost a ton of yards but Ogbonnaya dropped it.
3-8 Schwartz called for Illegal Proceedure
3-13 Throw to Barn short by a couple of yards. Burfict on the tackle.
Punt partially blocked by S Williams.
1-10 @ CL 38
4 yard pass to Green
Double pass by Sanu caught at the 9 and the call is challenged by Chud. There goes the 2nd TO.
Bernard for 3 to the 6.
Dalton throws the ball away.
3- 6 Throw to Sanu but Owens does not knock it away. All the momentum the Browns had built is gone. That is what happens when a team kicks field goals rather than scoring TDs.
CN 14 CL 13 11:49
1-10 @ 20 Coverage sack again by the Bengals. Campbell can’t pull the trigger on the throw.
2-12 Ogbonnaya for 3. Again no push by the O line.
3-9 Campbell throws the ball away. Cameron called for holding and the Browns go 3 and out.
1-10 @ 46 10:18 left Green Ellis for 3 up the gut.
Dalton had all day to throw but Skrine has Sanu covered and the pass in incomplete.
Dalton overthrows Sanu with Skrine in good coverage. Browns show blitz but don’t come.
1-10 @ 10 9:27 Run up the gut for a yard. The O has been useless all day.
Campbell checks down to Ogbonnaya for just 3 yards. He is not even looking down field.
Ogbonnaya gets the 1st on a quick pass on a wheel route.
1-10 23 Whittaker for 7 up the gut. Mack on the block to open the hole.
Slant to Gordon for the 1st for 13.
1-10 43 open blitzer runs right at Campbell and he throws to McGahee for no gain.
Pass to McGahee again for 3 yards.
First good protection but Bess falls down and the pass in IC.
Lanning punt blocked again Rae and Tony Dye for the TD. The Bengals found a fatal flaw in the Browns punt protection and has taken advantage of it for 2 blocks in the game.
CN 21 CL 13
1-10 @ 20 4:35 Again the checkdown by Campbell but holding on Barn calls it back.
1-20 @ 10 PN Johnson off side
1-15 @ 15 Draw to Ogbonnaya for 2 yards Burfict on the tackle.
2-13 @ 17 Checkdown to Ogbonnaya but he fumbled and Burfict caused the fumble and returned it for the TD.
CN 28 CL 13 2:45
Whittaker takes the kick off just to the 11. Browns special teams are not that special today.
1-10 @ 11 run by Ogbonnaya for 4.
Again the throw by Campbell is for the short cross INC behind Bess and over his head/
Throw low and short of Bess. Browns go 3 and out again.
1-10 @ 26 Bernard for 5.
A Bryant grabs Bernard on a screen pass at the LOS. The back is down.
A Bryant and Sheard split the sack. TO CL but I am not sure why.
1-10 24 0:58 FS Thomas
1-15 19 Throws the checkdown again gain of 2.
2-13 Throw down field to Gordon incomplete Nelson drills him in the ribs
3-13 another 2 yard throw and Cameron goes out of bounds to give the Bengals more time.
Punt return to the Browns 32 28 yard return
1-10 0:20 Long throw way over Gresham’s head
2-10 Throw to Jones good for 9 to the 23.
3-1 0:10 Browns blitz does not get home but Dalton throws it away.
41 yard FGA Good
CN 31 CL 13 END OF THE HALF. It looked like the Bengals had the wind in both quarters. Maybe God doesn’t like the Browns.
Gordon extents A 10 yard throw to 24
1-10 50 Campbell overthrows Gordon.
9 yards throw to Gordon.
3-1 McGahee gets the yard.
1-10 CN 40 – Throw down field to Little inc. into double coverage
2-10 Ogbonnaya for 5 up the gut.
3-5 Throw to Bess over his head.
4-5 Gordon open but Campbell is late because of the rush. The Bengals get the ball just like when they blocked a punt.
Bengals O line pushes Taylor and the D line 2 yards.
3-4 @ 40 Throws Deep but over Hawkins head Skrine with good coverage.
1-20 Whittaker gets 5 behind Ogbonnaya
Campbell throws deep to Gordon and he catches it for the TD. 74 yard throw. Perfect toss.
CN 31 CL 20
1-10 @ 20 Carter in for Robertson gets TE Gresham for 2 yards
Green-Ellis gets 9 and the 1st
Skrine tips the ball away from Sanu on a deep throw.
Browns force the Bengals to punt/
A Bryant is early across the line to give the Bengals a 1st.
Boot right to Eifort gets 15
1-10 CL 41 Jackson gets Green-Ellis for a yard.
Jackson and Gipson cover Gresham and the pass is dropped.
3-9 Owens blitz forces the throwaway.
1-10 @ 20 5:04 3rd Ogbonnaya for 3
Throw for Bess over his head INC.
Long throw to Little picked. It was well over his head. 2nd pick today.
Why is it only baseball games are called due to rain. Can’t we call this one?
Better yet, call it after the 1st quarter. If so Browns win 13-7.
1-10 CL 48 Loss of 1 on a reverse
Loss of 1 on 2nd run by Green-Ellis
3-11 WR screen only gets 8.
1-10 @ 12 2:08 left 3rd Run to Whittaker for 2
2-8 Short throw to Cameron for 6
3-2 Campbell sacked by Gilbury who was unblocked.
1-10 @ 48 Green-Ellis for 4
END OF THE 3RD
Green-Ellis to the 39 off the left side of the O
1-10 Mingo misses the tackle ducking inside and up too far. Green-Ellis gets 18.
1-10 @ CL 19 Green-Ellis up the gut for 4 D line getting pushed around.
Sweep left gets 13 to the 2 Gipson missed the tackle.
Easy throw to TE Smith He was wide open.
CN 38 CL 20 11:50 left
Checkdown almost picked because it was 2 yards behind Ogbonnaya
2-10 Pass behind Ogbonnaya.
3-10 TO CL Throw to Cameron behind the LOS.
4-4 Campbell is sacked and fumbled. Gilberry gets the sack. Campbell can’t see anything deep.
1-10 @ CL 21 Bernard for 1.
2-9 4 yards for Bernard Ward on the tackle.
3-5 Holding on Robinson
3-15 5 yard run
38 Y FG Good
CN 41 CL 20
It is time to put the 3rd string QB in. Oh I forgot they don’t have one.
Campbell to Cameron for 7
Campbell to Cameron for 7 1st down
Gordon doubled and gives up on the route as Campbell throws to the Browns bench
Whittaker gets a 2 yard pass and runs for 9 more. 1st
1-10c @ 45 Whittaker catches but only for 6.
Great catch by Whittaker of a ball 2 feet over his head and he gets the 1st.
Capt. Check down to Ogbonnaya but incomplete.
Capt. Check down to Bess for 2. Bess fell down
3rd down pass to Bess is at the LOS but drops the ball.
Good effort by 28 to get the 1st at the CN 25.
Pass to Gordon behind him.
Capt. Check down to Whittaker for 8
Whittaker gets 4 and the 1st.
Throw to WR Tims is knocked out of his hands by Burfict but the LB is hurt
The Browns turn the ball over at the Bengal 7 on downs. 19 plays in 4:55 and failed to score.
The Browns fans believed that the team was in a position to challenge for the division title or at least a playoff spot. That was not the case. It does not matter how good the D might be. No team with a 3rd string QB and no running game is capable of getting into the playoffs in the NFL. It is just that simple.
Offense: There was no offense. Jason Campbell was looking at the check down every play. On TV it is impossible to tell if the receivers were open or not down field. It may have been that he did not trust his protection or just did not trust his arm in the wind. Whatever the reason, the game was over when the Browns failed to score TDs on their first two possessions inside the redzone. Against a team like the Bengals FGs will just give you a loss. The 4 turnovers and 2 blocked punts were killers. They ended any chance that the Browns could mount a comeback.
The sacks that Campbell took were on him more than the O line. He was holding the ball too long early in the game. That was the most logical cause of him turning into Capt. Checkdown from the 2nd quarter on. He was under pressure most of the day. Josh Gordon took the one great deep throw Campbell made into the endzone. If Campbell had tried that more often would the team have won? It is hard to say. At least the interceptions would have been a lot farther down field. A passer rating of 44.3 will not win many games. If nothing else he has proven that he is no more than an adequate backup.
The O line is still a major issue. The Bengals were without NT Geno Atkins. Even so the O line got no push on runs most of the game. It also struggled to protect Campbell even on the short passes. The O line has never figured out the delayed blitz. Several of those got to Campbell and one contributed to an interception. It also still struggles against the End Tackle twist.
With the exception of the 43 yard run by Chris Ogbonnaya, the running game went nowhere. The running game gained 59 yards on 18 carries deducting that run. While 3.2 yards per attempt is an improvement over previous games, it is not enough to get a team over the hump against a quality defense. No team will win consistently if it fails to score a TD with a 1st and goal at the 2.
Defense: The D played well enough to win the game. This is a reoccurring theme this season. The Bengals were top 10 in scoring and passing coming into the game with the #1 receiver in the league A.J. Green. He was held to 2 catches for a total of 7 yards by Joe Haden. Haden also had 2 catches from Andy Dalton and returned one of them for a TD. Dalton was averaging 270 yards per game but against the Browns D had only 93. Dalton is not as effective when he is pressured. The Browns did a good job making him uncomfortable in the pocket. Even with 3 TDs Dalton had a passer rating of 62.7.
The Browns D scored a TD and set up what should have been another. It also held a top 10 offense to 1 of 14 3rd down conversions and around 200 yards of total offense from scrimmage. Two of the Bengal TDs were scored while the Browns D was on the sidelines.
Special Teams: This part of the game was “short bus” special. One blocked punt is unacceptable. With the second one, I would have considered making the group walk home in the rain. The Bengals clearly found a flaw in the blocking scheme of the Browns that allowed them to get two blocks. The punting team also allowed a 27 yard punt return. The kickoffs were all touchbacks. But the 1 kick return only got the ball to the 11 yard line and was ill-advised.
Coaching: The game as it was played looked way too conservative. I am convinced that the lack of throws down field was due to the QB rather than the play calls. It is hard to win throwing 2 yard passes against a team with the fire power that the Bengals have. It is impossible to win when the team gives up 6 turnovers. Given the injuries at QB and the lack of a running game, the team is what it is.
But we still see the TOs caused by lack of organization. One of the TOs was due to Campbell’s helmet communicator failing. The rest were due to not getting the call in or players being out of position. Those have to be fixed. But I have said that before almost every week.
The bottom line: The Browns are not a playoff team. There are way too many holes in both the starting lineup and the key rotational players. The coaching staff has done well to get 4 wins but a bad job in selecting which QB to start. Team management needs to find another QB to add to the roster. No real Browns fan wants to see Brandon Weeden on the field ever again.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
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Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/. Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts. You can hear the previous shows on https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/ and the live show Mondays at 6 PM Eastern time on The Bill Smith Radio Show.
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Browns Bengals live game notes by Bill Smith