The Browns Look Destined to Go 0-16
December is a time for celebration.
Gifts, food, friends, and family abound.
However, in the NFL, December has a darker persona. It's a time when teams with Super Bowl aspirations do battle for playoff spots.
That is, unless you’re the Cleveland Browns.
There were some reasons to be optimism for Browns fans entering the season:
- The team hired a respectable new coach in Hue Jackson;
- They brought in Robert Griffin III to play QB, hoping he could recapture his rookie success; and
- It even seemed like star WR Josh Gordon was going to come back for the season.
Unfortunately, things went in the tank early:
- Any potential Gordon return was extinguished when news broke he was forgoing the season to enter rehab.
- Newly elected team captain RG3 went down after Game 1 to a shoulder injury.
- His replacement, Josh McCown, also lost time due to injury,
- Forcing rookie Cody Kessler to start games at QB.
Entering Week 14, the hapless franchise -- ironically named after one of the NFL's most successful coaches ever -- ranked 29th in total yards on both defense and offense. In terms of scoring, the Browns stood 31st in points-per-game on both defense and offense.
Not great. At all.
However, there was some hope that the Bengals game would give Cleveland a chance to finally put up a W.
After all, the perennial Round 1 punching bags have likewise had a bad 2016 campaign. While not 0-12 bad, the 4-7-1 neo-Bungles look pretty much out of the playoffs.
Any hopes of their salvaging the season were crushed when star WR AJ Green (hamstring) and starting RB Giovani Bernard (torn ACL) both went down to injury. There are also concerns about whether or not long-time Coach Marvin Lewis will be fired upon season’s conclusion.
With the game being in Cleveland and the return of RG3, the Browns stood a decent chance of capturing their first win. Sadly, this dream, too, went DOA early.
The Bengals struck earlyon an Andy Dalton-to-Tyler Eifert touchdown. They ultimately rang up 20 unanswered points in the first half.
Cleveland would make a mini-charge in the second half, narrowing the score to 20-10 early in the fourth quarter. But that wasn't enough, as they funked to 0-13 to the tune of a 23-10 Brown downer.
In the loss, Griffin was a mere 12-for-28, throwing a pick and taking three sacks for a loss of 28 yards. In positive news, Griffin was able to rush for a TD, so at least the Dog Pound had that to bark about.
Things aren’t likely to get better for the Browns any time soon, especially with play calls like this from their own end zone, culminated by throwing into triple coverage:
Anyone wanna cue the Ramones? No wonder Pinhead is the most popular song on this site.
Cleveland's remaining three games don't look promising:
- They're not road warriors, so don't expect much in Buffalo with the Bills scrambling for a playoff spot,
- They've got a shot at home against San Diego, and
- A season finale in Pittsburgh, where they've gotta hope the Steelers have clinced a post-season berth and decide to play 7-on-11.
History could hang on that Charger game, but don’t expect Phil Rivers to go down so easily, even if the Bolts' season is already over.
Buck up, Browns fans.
You might go 0-16, but at least a winless year guarantees the No 1 pick next spring.
What with the San Francisco 49ers being so bad, every loss counts.