Some thoughts on the Browns after a 2-4 start to the season
Five things about the Browns 32-28 loss to the Seahawks Sunday:
THE END OF THE FIRST HALF: The Browns should have been ahead 27-12 at the at half, or 23-12 at worst.
Instead, the Browns went to the break up 20-18 on the Seahawks.
The culprits for that failure were coach Freddie Kitchens and quarterback Baker Mayfield.
For some reason, after moving inside the Seahawks 10, with the clock ticking under two minutes, the Browns were hurrying up to the line of scrimmage.
Moments later, Mayfield was intercepted on a deflected pass in the end zone. Shaquill Griffin broke up the throw, and Tedric Thompson grabbed it.
The Seahawks then marched down the field (88 yards) and scored.
It ended up being a 13-point swing.
Kitchens said afterward he was trying to score, force a punt, and score again.
That sounds ridiculous. Maybe it’s not if you’re facing the Bengals or Dolphins. But how many times is a team going to get Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to go three and out? Wilson is an MVP candidate, and he had moved the ball on the Browns all day.
Kitchens answer was ridiculous. He wants to be aggressive, but there are times as an NFL head coach when you have to manage the game and be realistic with your opponent.
It ended up changing the game.
BAKER: Mayfield played hard, staying in after sustaining a hip injury in the second half. But he also threw three interceptions.
In one pick, he threw the ball to a spot he thought receiver Odell Beckham would be. Beckham had been knocked off his route, and the ball went right to Seahawk Tre Flowers. Late in the fourth quarter, with the Browns trailing by four and a little more and about 2 ½ minutes left, Mayfield threw to Dontrell Hilliard. The ball bounced off Hilliard and was intercepted by K.J. Wright.
The Browns never got the ball back.
It could be argued that the last interception wasn’t Mayfield’s fault. But it seems he’s developing a habit of throwing the ball behind receivers. And while many of his incompletions/interceptions could or maybe should be caught, he could do a better job, too. Russell Wilson hasn’t thrown an interception this season. Mayfield already has 11.
FIVE BIG PLAYS: Four turnovers and a punt blocked.
You’re not gonna win may games that way.
Nick Chubb, who never fumbles, had a ball punched out by the Seahawks in the second half. A Jamie Gillan punt was blocked in the first half, leading to a field goal.
A lot of people are complaining about the officiating, and admittedly, it wasn’t great. But the Browns are doing too much to hurt themselves. They were called for nine penalties. Should all have been called? No. But through six games this season, the Browns have been an undisciplined and sloppy team.
IT’S NOT FUN: I didn’t know what the Browns record would be this season. I predicted they’d go 10-6, so they only have to go 8-2 the rest of the way to prove me correct.
But I was certain they’d be an exciting team.
Through six games, they’re not.
They’re just frustrating.
All the penalties. All the self-inflicted wounds.
All the talk.
It’s hard to watch a team that gets an 8-yard run to start a game-winning drive, but has it called back for holding.
It’s hard to enjoy a group that has four shots inside the opponents 2, then throws a challenge flag right as Nick Chubb is about to go into the end zone.
It’s tough to watch a team who shows so little consistency.
But that’s the 2019 Cleveland Browns.
UP NEXT: A bye, and then off to New England, where 2-5 looks like it’s right around the corner.
The Browns season looks like it’s coming apart, and it’s still October.