Browns vs Ravens: Final Report Card, Player Grades for Cleveland
Brandon Weeden and the Browns had a chance but Weeden's last-second throw sailed out of the back of the end zone and the Browns lose their 10th consecutive football game dating back to last season.
Weeden's interception that was returned for a touchdown near the end of the third quarter ended up being the difference on the scoreboard in this one.
Player grades are posted for every Browns' player who impacted the outcome of this one.
What do you think of the Browns' performance Thursday night? Do you see the Browns winning a game this season?
Brandon Weeden: C+
Brandon Weeden battled in his fourth start of his rookie season. Despite questionable play calling, multiple drops by his receivers and a terrible interception that was returned for a touchdown, he played a pretty good game.
He needs to improve on his accuracy on deep throws and his consistency in the short-passing game. The interception was thrown behind his receiver and another pass to Jordan Norwood was broken up but was underthrown.
If he can be coached up and get better there is a lot of potential for him to be an effective quarterback in the NFL.
Trent Richardson: B+
Trent Richardson ran with toughness against a physical Baltimore Ravens defense. He ran just 14 times, though and was limited to 47 yards on the ground. In the passing game, he caught four short passes for 57 yards.
Most of Richardson’s yards after the catch in which he made plays with his feet and field vision. His refusal to go down and high motor accounted for much of his yards, which came after first contact.
Chris Ogbonnaya: C+
Ogbonnaya was not involved very much in the game plan as far as carries but he did play a big third down role. He had four targets and hauled in two of them for 10 yards receiving.
His biggest impact, though, was in his pass protection on obvious passing downs. One hit resonates as he blasted and knocked down a blitzing Ray Lewis who ran up the middle of the line and almost got to Brandon Weeden.
Greg Little: D+
Greg Little was targeted 10 times and hauled in four passes. Of those six that he did not catch, one was a touchdown that would have brought the Browns within a field goal. It’s inexcusable for a team’s No. 1 receiver to be playing so poorly.
For every good play he made, he made another bad one that negatively impacted the game. Those “bad ones” stood out more than anything he did positively in this one.
Travis Benjamin: C
Benjamin had two catches on five targets for 26 yards. He also ran the ball once for no gain and returned a punt 40 yards and into Ravens’ territory.
He too struggled with drops again. If there’s one thing that’s consistent for the Browns’ passing game it’s that Benjamin and Little will drop a pass or two each week.
Josh Gordon: C+
Despite Mohamed Massaquoi missing the game, Gordon was rarely utilized except in multiple receiver sets. Jordan Norwood, activated due to the Massaquoi injury, was targeted ten times to Gordon’s single target in the fourth quarter.
Jordan Norwood: D
Jordan Norwood was inactive for the first three weeks of the season. The second-year receiver out of Penn State was targeted 10 times but hauled in just four catches for 56 yards. He seemed to draw the attention of Weeden and got open frequently.
On the downside, he failed to catch the balls that were thrown to him. Whether it was a defender making a play or a lapse of Norwood himself, he needs to a better completion percentage when being so heavily involved in the offense.
Benjamin Watson: B+
Watson was finally involved more in the game plan in this one. He was better in the blocking aspect of his game too. He snagged 5-of-6 balls and totaled 52 yards in his best performance of the season.
Jordan Cameron: C-
Jordan Cameron had one catch and had a couple others bounce of his hands. Of those six other targets, some were catchable and just went off of his hands. It was wet out and Cameron is still developing, it seems.
Hopefully the Browns’ coaching staff can continue to mold and improve Cameron’s game. He’s a legitimate threat because of his size and speed.
Joe Thomas: C
If this were a grade on Thomas’s acting performance when Paul Kruger “pushed him” to the ground, he’d receive an A. However, Thomas was flagged for another key holding penalty this week. The hold came after it seemed Richardson had already gone through the hole and scampered 10 yards for a first down.
Jason Pinkston, Alex Mack and Shawn Lauvao: C-
Alex Mack was dominated by Haloti Ngata for much of the night. However, for the most part the interior line did its job in protecting Brandon Weeden. While they were stressed, they didn’t blow many blocks, give or take one or two that Ngata blew up the middle of the line.
Mitchell Schwartz: D+
Brandon Weeden was only sacked once, and that comes due to Schwartz being completely embarrassed on a third-and-long play.
Overall, Schwartz played like a rookie. That's not to say he wasn't good at times, but he did make some rookie mistakes and he is definitely a work in progress at this point.
Jabaal Sheard: A-
After last week’s loss to Buffalo, I questioned Sheard’s ability to get to the quarterback. Not only did he do that, but he also sealed the edges and ended with two tackles behind the line-of-scrimmage. He also put down Joe Flacco on a nice sack in which he blew up his blocker and got after Flacco off the snap.
Another play that really stood out and demonstrated Sheard’s discipline was an end-around to Torrey Smith. Sheard stayed home and perfectly contained the play and made the tackle in the backfield.
Billy Winn: B+
Billy Winn played a remarkable game. The rookie defensive tackle was all over the place and was crucial in containing Ray Rice. He hit Flacco once and recorded two tackles behind the Ravens side of the line-of-scrimmage.
Specifically, he sniffed out and blew up a second-and-long delay play to Ray Rice that set up a third and very long.
Ahtyba Rubin: A-
Rubin recorded a sack and a tackle for a loss in a well fought game in the trenches. His big frame helped clog up the middle of the line-of-scrimmage and he made life hard for the Ravens’ rushing game on Thursday night.
Rubin and Winn were both drafted in the sixth round by the Browns and have played well above that draft position as of late.
Frostee Rucker: B+
Rucker got across Michael Oher’s face and completely disrupted a third-and-short run by Ray Rice. Oher was forced to hold on the play but it didn’t matter because Rucker wasn’t being denied.
He played one of his visibly best games, recording three tackles (including the stuff on Rice) and his immediate pressure was responsible for blowing up a goal-line rushing attempt by Ray Rice.
John Hughes: B
Hughes burst through the middle of the Ravens’ offensive line and got an arm on Joe Flacco. The quarterback eluded him but was subsequently taken down by a blitzing Usama Young for a sack on the play.
He didn’t play as many snaps as Winn, the team’s other rookie tackle, but he made his time count and came up pretty big for the Browns’ defense.
Juqua Parker: B
Parker only played in passing situations but was consistently pressuring Flacco every chance he got. He’s been a pleasant surprise and an instant source of heat for opposing quarterbacks this season.
He didn’t sack Flacco but was close a couple times and laid on him at one point.
Craig Robertson: B+
Robertson made some nice plays on Thursday night. None of them was as nice as the zone coverage interception he recorded when he made an athletic play and went up and picked off a Joe Flacco pass in the end zone.
D’Qwell Jackson: A-
Jackson rebounded from a subpar game last week to lead the team in tackles this week. He was much more energetic and played with more passion this week. That’s vital from the young defense’s middle linebacker and defensive captain.
Scott Fujita: C+
Fujita wasn’t perfect but he made some nice plays including a sack on Joe Flacco. He also recorded six total tackles with one more tackle for a loss.
Joe Flacco did, however, juke him out of his cleats near the goal-line and then walked into the end zone for a touchdown. That's a pretty bad play by the seasoned veteran linebacker.
Kaluka Maiava: C
Maiava made a couple plays early on but then disappeared from the field, it seemed at least. It’s hard to argue that Maiava should be on the field in nickel situations when Robertson and Jackson are playing so well.
Sheldon Brown: C
Brown made a nice play to force what looked to be a Baltimore Ravens punt. That play was negated by a holding call on Buster Skrine on the opposite side of the field. While it negates the play in the stat-sheet, it still happened and helped make Browns’ day seem a little less bad.
He was beat by Tandon Doss for a 39 yard reception. Doss had one reception on the season, a six-yard pass from Joe Flacco in Week 2.
It seems like Brown, at this point in his career, makes opposing team’s wide receivers look better than they actually.
He also had four tackles but had
Dimitri Patterson: D
Name a Baltimore Ravens. There is a very good chance that whoever you named beat Dimitri Patterson for a first down Thursday night. Patterson was beat like a red headed stepchild in the second half by Anquan Boldin. Two of Boldin’s catches came on consecutive third downs and helped set up a Ravens touchdown.
It wasn’t all bad for Patterson, who is used to lining up as the nickel back. He did have a nice pass deflection in the end zone and was solid with a team leading 11 solo tackles.
Buster Skrine: C+
A dumb holding penalty on the opposite side of the field almost doomed the Browns. It was third down and Sheldon Brown defensed a pass along the opposite sideline. Skrine, though, fell backwards and pulled down the Ravens’ receiver with him as he fell. The call gave the Ravens a first down when it would have been a punt instead.
Other than that, Skrine looked improved for a second week in-a-row. He deflected two passes and made two nice open field tackles.
T.J. Ward: C+
Ward didn’t make a huge impact in this game and recorded just three solo tackles and was only in on those three. His best play came on a goal-line stuff of Ray Rice.
Usama Young: B-
When asked to, Young provided good pressure from the edges on safety blitzes. He also recorded a sack after John Hughes blew up the middle of the Ravens’ o-line and flushed Flacco. Couple that with another tackle for a loss and he was used more effectively than T.J. Ward in the traditional strong safety role.
Tashaun Gipson: C
Gipson played well, again, in his second game of action after the team decided to make Eric Hagg inactive for a second consecutive week. He was aggressive and stepped up into the defense to make a couple hits.
However, Torrey Smith easily scored on a touchdown across the middle of the field in what looked like busted zone coverage by the rookie.
Phil Dawson: A+
There isn’t a grade high enough to give to Phil Dawson for his performance Thursday night. The Browns’ offense may not be able to finish drives but Dawson is as sure of a thing as there is in the NFL when kicking field goals. He connected on three 50-plus yard field goals on a rain soaked field in Baltimore.
Reggie Hodges: C
Hodges was a busy man again for the Browns, punting the football seven times in another loss. Two of those punts went inside the 20, although his 41.4 average leaves a little to be desired.
Josh Cribbs: Incomplete
Cribbs fumbled a kickoff after being literally knocked unconscious by the Ravens’ punt team. He fumbled the ball and it set up a Ravens field goal.
Travis Benjamin: A-
Twice Benjamin made questionable decisions to take kickoffs out of the back of the end zone and failed to reach the 20 yard-line. However, he made up for it with a huge 40 yard punt return that put his team in scoring range midway through the fourth quarter. It was a huge play at a big moment of the game.
Pat Shumur: D+
It’s nearly impossible to fathom the game plan of Pat Shurmur at this point. His West Coast Offense philosophy dictates the importance of the passing game but not allowing Trent Richardson to make an impact by throwing it. That's puzzling, because Weeden throw the large majority of the time on first down and 52 total times in comparison to Richardson's 14 rushing plays.
Putting a rookie quarterback into a situation where he throws 52 times is mind boggling decision by Shurmur. Sure, he comes from the West Coast Offense school of football thought, but enough is enough. The Browns' are a young team and he is hampering their ability to compete by dialing up a rookie quarterback so many times each week.
Shurmur also had a 15 yard penalty called against him in unison with an intentional grounding call on Brandon Weeden. It moved the team back and put them into an almost unattainable down-and-distance situation with the game more or less on-the-line.
Dick Jauron: C+
Defensive coaching was pretty spot on for much of the game despite some lapses in the secondary. Jauron dialed up a significant amount of blitzes and stunts along the line-of-scrimmage that caused some trouble for the Ravens upfront.
Chris Tabor: B
Tabor's special team's unit won't find itself much criticism for its effort this week. All kicks were good and the coverage team was solid.
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