Browns Blow 10-point Fourth-Quarter Lead in Arizona, Top-Five Draft Pick in the Cards

by Cleveland Frowns on December 19, 2011

“Believe it or not, I was trying to kick it [out of bounds]. It’s hard, easier said than done.”Browns punter Brad Maynard

“[The Cardinals] schemed it up really well. They really challenged the technique we were playing. … They made the right call at the most critical time.”Browns cornerback Dmitri Patterson

—————

Not exactly the “eruption” we were on the lookout for, but a close loss is better than getting run over. Progress? Or just the most natural thing in the world for the most marginal of playoff contenders to come in soft against the Browns after three straight wins and two enormous ones against the Cowboys and Niners.

Anyway, here we are with a 4-12 finish a virtual certainty for the nepotism hire who replaced the coach who was fired because he “didn’t win enough.” No need to dwell on this today with the post-mortem on this season having been written over a month ago, so more specifically about yesterday:

Another special teams breakdown, and the Browns were out-schemed again when it mattered the most. There wasn’t anybody close to Larry Fitzgerald on his game-sealing 32-yard catch. Ho-hum. What else?

Somehow nobody’s talking about dropped passes today. Whatever you want to make of that, the Browns passing game looked as good as it has all season. The Cards defense isn’t great (22nd against the pass, 19th against the run), but it’s not a thoroughly decimated Colts, Jags or Rams unit either, and Seneca managed 226 yards, one touchdown and a passer rating of 91.6. Notably, it was the first 90-plus-rated passing performance for the Browns this season that didn’t come against a thoroughly decimated Colts, Jags or Rams unit.

A lot of that did come on a broken play where Seneca rolled out of the pocket to find a linebacker on Greg Little, but we won’t complain about 76-yard touchdowns here. We will though wonder about the subtext when Josh Cribbs says that Seneca, “played awesome … great. He threw the ball down the field. Threw to a lot of different receivers. He made plays when plays were needed to be made from him.”

But as much as it would be interesting to continue to see what the receivers look like with Seneca against the Ravens and Steelers, it’s not really the receivers who are up for a ticket out of town next season. If Colt’s healthy he’s got to play.

We’d like to say that it’s great to have a healthy Peyton Hillis back, but the seeming inability to maximize his talents within a game plan remains frustrating.

The third-quarter interception by rookie fifth-round pick Buster Skrine was a huge play, an excellent play, and highly encouraging.

And most importantly, the Browns now have the fifth pick in the 2012 draft on lock, while the Jaguars, currently ahead of the Browns in the fourth slot, have two winnable games left, against the Titans and Colts. Also note the extreme unlikelihood that the Vikings or Rams (now slotted second and third) will pick a signal-caller in this extremely quarterback rich draft, as well as whatever else you want at Kanicki’s phenomenal draft-order-tracking spreadsheet. (Note: Strength of schedule there is measured as though the full 16 game season has already been played.)

In other news, we were 3-1 with the NFL picks yesterday (+15 units) to run the NFL season record to 41-24-2 against the spread (+91 units). We’ll update this post below by 6PM with a pick for tonight’s Steelers/Niners tilt.

UPDATE: We ended up writing a separate post for tonight’s pick due to the emergence of a statistic suggesting that the Browns are a worse 4-10 team than surface indicators reveal so click here to check it out.

Hope everyone’s week is off to a decent start.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    indy will be interesting to watch. they can win one more game not lose the #1 pick (due to sos). so we want indy to win at home vs texans this week because…

    this would ensure perhaps the worst and most comical game in recent memory as indy visits jax with both teams hell-bent on losing. #lollercoaster

    • Anonymous

      #lollercoaster: “hi i have a new phone is it working”

      #superlollercoaster: “we are lunching wednesday right”

      thx for the laughs buddy

  • Anonymous

    >>>>Progress? Or just the most natural thing in the world for the most marginal of playoff contenders to come in soft against the Browns after three straight wins and two enormous ones against the Cowboys and Niners.>>>

    Progress.

    I mean, come on, you’re reaching. They played a decent game, and I think it’s a little overboard to suggest the Cards wins against the Cowboys and Niners are somehow evidence AGAINST(?!) us. The Browns looked like the better team all day to me, playing without our best safety (really our only safety if you’re honest about it.) They got a huge break on that reversal.

    We continue to get decent pressure out of the 4 man rush, and stopped a tough runner pretty cold. Yeah, the defensive backfield has some gaping holes, that’s a known quantity. But the Cards have steadily progressed through the year and are a pretty fair team at this point. Their defense has been very good since the halfway point. This was big time win/win loss.

    I’m not at all convinced Minnesota won’t throw in the towel on Ponder (and the coach) given their options here, and I could then see Luck, Barkley, and Griffith all being gone by 5 if that’s where we end up. Jax-Ind just became must watch TV. I suppose there is also the horrifying possibility now that the last game becomes meaningless for the Steelers and they sit Rothlesbugger. I’ll be rooting hard for them to lose tonight.

    • Anonymous

      don’t see a scenario where last game becomes meaningless for the Steelers, especially if/when we lose to the Ravens on Sun. (Browns +14.5, goin for 4 ATS wins in a row and 5 out of 6). Ravens have tiebreaker, so if Steelers maintain 1 game lead going into Browns game and lose and Ravens win, then PIT lose out on being Division Champ, and a home playoff game.

      but yeah, a loss tonight makes it impossible for it to be meaningless as well.

      • Believelander

        Yeah, well put Bik. So basically, the Steelers and Ravens have ample motivation to pound us into kindergarten paste the next two weeks. #awesome

    • Anonymous

      Football teams letting up after big wins is the most natural thing in the world. Especially against shitty opponents. It’s an extreme reach to suggest otherwise, actually.

      Great that we held Beanie in check but John Skelton threw for 300 yards. Pick your poison. And remember that the Browns would be a playoff team this year if they’d have kept the coach.

      • Chrismcgurr

        Cards Coach (Pre-Game): Hey we beat 2 solid opponents, let’s take a rest against the shitty Browns and get an easy victory.
        Cards Coach (Post-Game): Since when can the Browns play football? Oh well, time to make adjustments and play harder.

        Result? Browns shut down in the end.

        • Chrismcgurr

          I meant to say at the Half, not Post-Game.

        • Anonymous

          Yup.

        • Believelander

          Is Chris McGurr anything like Dirt McGirt?

    • Anonymous

      RE: progress vs. natural result

      a mix of both certainly can be true.

      but i hate to know that the Cards would come in soft yesterday….i put $10 that pays $4000 on the Cards going to the Super Bowl….they better be taking this shit serious

    • Believelander

      I also think that there was progress, seeing the players play, but I keep feeling like they’re playing at FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR less than their full potential, which is the opposite of last year when household names like Jason Trusnik, David Bowens, and Ray Ventrone were keeping the Browns in every game, and the defensive guru head coach with the worst offensive coordinator of all time (really, ask the P ain Dealer) was scoring more points than the hand-crafted West Coast Machine of our offensive/QB guru head coach and his dead uncle’s best friend, President Fatass.

      Which is to say, if we can keep Tom Heckert, who I actually think is a reasonably good GM, we may win in 5-10 years.

  • Anonymous

    I say next year Shurmur’s headset is disabled (you know, like Linda McCartney’s stage mic) and Holmgren gets patched through. Pat won’t notice. No one will be the wiser. Problem solved.

    • Cliff_cintula

      I love it CLTIL,
      Linda Mc never knew it, her cutting edge moo-lay/mullet blocked her ability to hear her monitor.
      Shurmur should be patched in to some low budget Muzak and Rod’o should call the plays. Or perhaps revamp the offense.
      Two words: “Vertical Routes”.
      I do not know what that means, but I an certain that Rod’o’D does.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      I love it CLTIL,
      Linda Mc never knew it, her cutting edge moo-lay/mullet blocked her ability to hear her monitor.
      Shurmur should be patched in to some low budget Muzak and Rod’o should call the plays. Or perhaps revamp the offense.
      Two words: “Vertical Routes”.
      I do not know what that means, but I an certain that Rod’o’D does.

    • Believelander

      “WHY AREN’T THEY RUNNING MY PLAYS!?!?!?!?!?”

      (Edit): ….*rolls eyes*

  • Anonymous

    It seemed like we missed Norwood in the 2nd half as well. he was targeted 6 times until he got concussed early 3rd quarter (did anyone see the hit he got a concussion on? was i the only one that missed it?)

    • Anonymous

      Norwood has a a concussion now? Can we start bubble wrapping the helmets?

    • Anonymous

      Norwood has a a concussion now? Can we start bubble wrapping the helmets?

  • Anonymous

    lol just when you think you’ve hit rock bottom, you find out the browns have done yet another thing wrong:

    “In all his years assisting Bill Belichick and Bill Parcells, and his four years coaching the Browns, Crennel never got the bucket dumped over his head. “Not even the year we won 10 games there,” he said. “The only time I got it was after I got fired in Cleveland, and I coached in an East-West All-Star game in Orlando against Marty Schottenheimer, and we won. That’s it. I have to say, it felt pretty good today.”

    sorry romeo

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/peter_king/12/19/Week15/index.html#ixzz1h1PsSvdr

    • wiseoldredbeard

      Romeo would have gotten gaterade dumped on him if the team hadn’t pooped its pants in the second half of the season and allowed their playoff hopes be deteremined by whether the Colts wanted to play Manning. I’d like to see gaterade poured in Cleve because we actually beat someone in a game that matters, not because we have a crappy team that just shocked a good team that was expecting the status quo of crap.

      • Anonymous

        I’m potentially with you-mostly I think it’s funny that the national media can even find our lack of Gatorade showers to be some sort of major failure.

  • Alexb

    how do we keep snatching defeat from the jaws of victory? i don’t get it. But at least it was competitive right? Shows that team is at least manageably decent with Hillis healthy.

  • Ron Charity

    As I watch the Frowns(which should be there new name) I am lost for words, explanations, hope and now even interest. I don’t understand why we can go year after year with no improvements in coaching staff, GM, and players. Doesn’t our people who handle the draft see our weaknesses or know who has talent and who has just enough talent to be a NFL player, the latter seems always end up in Cleveland. Other than about 5 players we need to start from scratch: new owner, ne GM and new group of players. Ca Can’t imagine being a Pro player

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