Let’s be honest, no one expected us to beat the Chiefs, or even come within 16 points. On the same note, no reasonable person should have expected an immediate turnaround from Gregg Williams less than one week after the discharges of Hue Jackson and Todd Haley. Keeping all of that in mind, I think the Browns just played their best all-around game all season.
Our receivers stepped up, particularly newer addition Breshad Perriman and rookie Damion Ratley. These guys helped out Jarvis Landry, who is always closely covered and stone-hands Antonio Callaway. The ball being spread around in an offense where receiver talent is scarce was very nice to see. The line only gave up two sacks, which is a relatively good thing if you’re the Browns. The line has struggled all season, but they looked decent on Sunday and gave Baker a lot more time in the pocket instead of having to run for his life like he has been used to lately. Part of this might have to do with Greg Robinson starting at left tackle over rookie Desmond Harrison, who has had his fair share of growing pains.
Either way, they looked much better.
Baker had an average performance, which is really all we need from him right now. He made some good throws, some bad throws, had some touchdowns, threw a bad pass for a pick. Just a run-of-the-mill performance from a rookie QB.
Lastly, and easily the most important thing which I have been advocating for ALL SEASON LONG: the effective use of Duke Johnson. You know, it’s crazy what happens when you actually utilize good, talented players. What a mind-boggling concept. Duke only finished with one rush for eight yards but shined in the receiving role, where he is undoubtedly the most effective. He ended up with nine receptions for 78 yards and two touchdowns. On a side note, he generated 29.6 points in a PPR Fantasy Football League. So he balled out. Again, it’s clearly a shocking concept that good players are good, something that those other two coaches could not get through their big, dumb heads.
You might say that the defense played poorly, but riddle me this: is giving up 37 points to the league’s clear-cut most prolific offense when you only had five defensive starters on the field by the end of the game really such a bad thing? I honestly expected them to drop way more, maybe 50.
When you consider that by the end of the game, the Browns had played without our 1st, 2nd and 3rd-string cornerbacks, two of our starting linebackers and our starting free safety, giving up only 37 points to the best offense in the league doesn’t seem so bad. Throw in the fact that bum Jamie Collins, who has given very poor and lazy performances game in and game out, does not really count as a genuine defender, you basically have five starting linemen and Jabrill Peppers out there. That’s essentially a Thanksgiving feast for QB Patrick Mahomes and company. Hopefully, we can get our defense back from this injury plague, but all things considered, they played well.
I know that some people will disagree, but I really do genuinely believe that the Browns just played our best football of the season. The coaching changes seemed to have a positive impact, with fewer penalties and better play calling being good examples of this. Yet again, the optimist in me is saying that we are moving in the right direction and continuing to grow and get better. Only time will tell if all of us will end up being disappointed as we always are, or if Mondays will suddenly get much better sometime soon.