Thanks in part to their third starting quarterback of the season, the Browns' hopes for a playoff appearance sank along with plenty of incomplete passes last Sunday.
Jason Campbell entered Sunday's game as the starting veteran quarterback who looked more like a scared freshman trying to make it as a walk-on at USC.
He threw majority of his passes to targets from the backfield, and failed to take advantage of defensive mismatches downfield, leaving WR Josh Gordon in single man coverage most of the game.
The other portion of the blame goes to the receivers I'm complaining about Campbell not targeting. Rarely have I ever seen such an untalented group, and I won't leave out calling them lazy, as there were enough passes thrown that could have resulted in big gains, had those receivers actually made a strong play for the ball.
Instead, I watched Campbell and this trio of receivers play playground ball, just making very little effort to make the plays needed to score points and secure field position.
The special teams unit was terrible giving up blocked punts and providing terrible return coverage. One of the blocked punts allowed the Bengals to get back in the game early on and they did what the Browns failed to do, take the game a level higher and secure the win. Overall, this was the worst Browns game I've witnessed in years, perhaps since their rebirth in 1999. It was a complete deflating letdown from all sides of the field. If there was a mistake to make the Browns did it.
They traded running back Trent Richardson to become better on offense. Yeah, I saw plenty of advancements made Sunday, one being plenty of yards on the ground by a stronger and faster ground game (yes, pure sarcasm!). At least Trent Richardson can average 3.5 a carry and break one every now and then down field, none of the current Browns running backs are capable of averaging 2.0 a carry, let alone break for daylight and score. The offensive line does its job; the remainder of the offensive unit is simply below average.
The defense is doing all it can, minus pressuring and sacking opposing quarterbacks, to keep the game in reach for an offensive miracle.
The Browns had two weeks to prepare for a MUST WIN game last Sunday. They failed to find any recoveries to their critical flaws, and it ruined their one chance to remain in the AFC North title chase, which is now clouded by an emerging Steelers team and the streaky Ravens.
The Browns are now 4-6 and are 2.5 out of first place with a difficult schedule looming ahead. At this point, tanking the season to couple an early 1st round pick with the one obtained from the Colts is the only logical conclusion to the remainder of this season.
Trade the picks to move up and draft a franchise QB plus additional offensive depth, and trade Josh Gordon to reclaim the 2nd-rounder (if they can find a stupid dance partner, like the Vikings) the team wasted on him in the supplemental draft (he isn’t worth a 4th honestly).
Denial is a vice. The Browns' season is finished aside from six more losses, time to get ready for a potentially strong draft and free agent class with plenty to spend Cleveland. Time to watch Mr. Lombardi earn his pay!