Cleveland Browns: Are They Back to Their Old Selves?
The Cleveland Browns had a chance to potentially knock out the Baltimore Ravens even further out of playoff contention. With Cleveland trailing 42-35 in the fourth-quarter, Baker Mayfield threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Kareem Hunt to tie the game at 42 with a bit over a minute remaining in regulation. However, Justin Tucker kicked the game-winning 55-yard field goal and Cleveland lost to Baltimore 47-42.
The Browns got crushed to the Ravens in Week 1. This shows that Cleveland is a much different football team and so was Baltimore as well.
The Cleveland Browns still hold the number five seed in the AFC. The fifth thru eighth seeds in the AFC are separated by just one game between them, the Indianapolis Colts (9-4), the Miami Dolphins (8-5), and the Baltimore Ravens.
It appears Cleveland feels different because it appears as if Head Coach Kevin Stefanski has changed the culture for the Cleveland Browns. He was the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings last season.
One of the reasons why Cleveland almost won this football game is because of how well Baker Mayfield played. He completed 28-of-47 passes for 343 yards two touchdowns and one interception. Mayfield also rushed for 23 yards on five carries and a touchdown.
What sets up for Baker Mayfield to be so successful is the running game.
Nick Chubb rushed for 82 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 21 yards receiving.
Chubb is the heartbeat and the heart and soul of the Cleveland Browns. This is a different offense when he is in the lineup compared to when he is not.
Kareem Hunt rushed for 33 yards on six carries and a touchdown. He also caught six passes for 77 yards receiving and a touchdown.
Hunt and Chubb is a solid running back tandem and duo. They are both very talented and a very valuable running game will always carry your football team in the postseason. This tandem is scary for opposing defensive coordinators to prepare for week in and week out.
Donovan Peoples-Jones caught three passes for 74 yards receiving.
Rashard Higgins caught six passes for 68 yards receiving and a touchdown.
Jarvis Landry caught six passes for 52 yards receiving.
This wide receiver tandem has been working ever since Odell Beckham Jr. has been sidelined with a season ending injury. Their is just more chemistry with this group and it appears that Beckham Jr. may not be in Cleveland’s plans moving forward.
David Njoku caught three passes for 45 yards receiving. He is one of the most talented tight ends in the NFL, but Njoku just needs to stay healthy.
Myles Garrett was a non-factor in this football game for the Cleveland Browns. The defense did not do anything special. It gave up way to many big plays. They also got beat on the line of scrimmage and committed silly penalties.
They have to be more disciplined if they don’t want collapse down the stretch. The Cleveland Browns should make the playoffs and also potentially be a tough out, but Cleveland doesn’t want to revert to the old Cleveland Browns they once were.
If they are this changed football franchise and culture, the Cleveland Browns should win the final two to three games and make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
Everyone is praising the Browns for their losing effort and I get it, but what if they lay an egg down the stretch? That remains to be seen as well within the final three weeks of the NFL Regular Season.
For the moment, I will say this team has completely changed. If they miss the playoffs someway somehow, then my mind will say that this is the same old Cleveland Browns.
The next game for the Baltimore Ravens (8-5) will be against the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-12) at home on Sunday.
The next game for the Cleveland Browns (9-4) will be against the New York Giants (5-8) on the road on Sunday night.
What did you think of the Cleveland Browns losing to the Baltimore Ravens and are they the same old Cleveland Browns? Leave a comment below.
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Follow Glenn Kaplan on Twitter @glennkaplan13.