For the third time since 1999, the Cleveland Browns have started 0-7. Two of those years have come back to back, in 2016 and 2017. Last year’s seventh loss came at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals. This year’s, however, was due to Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans. In fact, this was actually a very winnable game in Cleveland. Zane Gonzalez booted a 54-yard field goal to send the game to overtime, tied at nine. But then, the Browns collapsed in overtime. But why? What happened to the Browns this time, that led to their (seemingly) inevitable collapse? Let’s take a look in our week seven Cleveland Browns takeaways.
Week Seven Cleveland Browns Takeaways
Anemic Offense Throughout
Through the whole of this year, the Cleveland Browns have possessed a less-than-desirable offense. However, they have at least been able to put up a touchdown or two in past games. This was not the case in week seven. Against the Tennessee Titans, the Browns simply did not manage to get into the endzone. Rather, Gonzalez kicked an NFL career-high three field goals.
On a positive note, Gonzalez actually looked pretty decent. Since his awful performance in week five, he has looked accurate, even from beyond fifty yards. Again, his 54-yarder this week sent the Browns and Titans into overtime. And yet, his field goals were not enough. Quarterback DeShone Kizer seemed to have it together through the first half. But near the end of the half and into the second, he threw two interceptions, was benched (again) by Hue Jackson, and Cody Kessler came in. Kessler looked good for a bit, but he too was eventually picked off. But, more on that later.
Defense Cannot Hold Forever
It is a widely known fact that, in most situations, defense wins championships. Of course, the Browns are hardly worried about winning titles right now, but winning games wins championships. However, no defense can hold forever. Even the ’85 Bears defense broke down at points, albeit very rarely. The Browns defense looked solid throughout the game, but again, the offense let them down.
Myles Garrett, once again, collected a sack this week, when he got to Mariota. Christian Kirksey found himself in the backfield a few times and was also able to force a fumble. In the absence of Jason McCourty, Briean Boddy-Calhoun stepped up as a solid cornerback. This defense was at least “pretty good” for most of the game, but they could not hold forever. No defense that played as many plays as this one did could be perfect forever.
The Elephant In The Room
On a bit of a personal note, I was present for yesterday’s game at FirstEnergy Stadium. And you could hear a pin drop in that place when Joe Thomas went down. Thomas’s consecutive snap streak of eleven years has come to an end. During the game, Thomas went down holding his arm. He walked off the field for a snap, and just like that, the streak of 10,363 consecutive plays had come to an end. At worst, the Browns fear that he could have a torn tricep. Sadly, this could be the end of his season. At the very worst, this could be the last that fans see of him in a Cleveland Browns uniform.
This is devastating, not only for the Browns and Thomas himself, but the fans and the city of Cleveland. As beat reporter Daryl Ruiter put it, “Joe Thomas was the one true beacon of hope and stability that this franchise had, and now they don’t have him.” Now, Spencer Drango looks to be the left tackle for this team. Hopefully, he can be a fraction as good as Thomas was on the offensive line.
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