Browns vs Giants: Cleveland's Winners and Losers
The 42-27 defeat was punctuated by a variety of self-inflicted wounds and same-old-story rushing defense failure.
As is typically the case this season, the Browns flashed the promise of young talent at times while suffering the growing pains of same at many others. Inconsistent, at best, fits nicely as an adjective to describe the play of the second-youngest team in the league.
The Browns gave up three turnovers for 21 points. They committed 10 penalties representing 91 yards.
Here is a look at Cleveland's individual winners and losers in the team's loss to the Giants:
Winner: Trent Richardson
Browns RB Trent Richardson became the first rookie tailback in Cleveland history to score a rushing TD in four consecutive games.
It's at least his second rookie record, as he set another against Cincinnati when he ran for over 100 yards and scored rushing and receiving touchdowns.
Against New York, he ran for 81 yards on 17 carries with one TD. He also caught five passes for 47 yards.
Despite his strong personal contribution, Richardson looked about as angry as a lot of Browns fans by the end of the affair, which is encouraging, as he'll doubtlessly continue to lead by example in this tough slog of a season.
Winner: The Browns Offensive Line
The Cleveland offensive line kept QB Brandon Weeden pretty clean against a vaunted New York Giants front four on Sunday. They didn't let the Giants get home even once and allowed only two QB hits.
The Giants have typically prided themselves on their ability to get to the QB and stuff the run, but Cleveland did a good job in the trenches on this one, even pulling much more efficiently than previously seen.
And when the line failed to keep the gaps open between the tackles, Richardson had good success bouncing it to the outside anyway.
Joe Thomas personally put a nice pancake finish on a block of Giant DE Jason Pierre-Paul.
Winners: Josh Gordon and Jordan Norwood
Rookie WR Josh Gordon said earlier this week Browns fans could expect to see more of him.
Gordon only had two receptions, but he made the most of them, gaining a total of 81 yards and two touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Jordan Norwood put in the yeoman's work on receptions, tallying nine total for 81 yards, but alas, no touchdowns.
QB Brandon Weeden—who ended up throwing for 291 yard on 22 passes in 35 attempts—was able to count on their hands much better than... (next slide)
Loser: Greg Little
Little caught zero passes for zero yards and zero touchdowns. On the Browns' depth chart, Mohammed Massaquoi is typically listed as the No. 1 WR. But he is injured.
Little is listed as No. 2. He is not injured. His only significant play of the game was another crucial drop.
The Browns would be wise to continue to not target Little, as he seems most capable only to produce vast amounts of frustration.
Loser: Cleveland's Defense
The Giants mixed it up. The Giants found success everywhere they turned.
The Browns seemed mostly incapable of stopping the Giants in anything they wanted to do most of the day.
They allowed 243 yards on the ground. They allowed 259 yards in the air.
Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw personally racked up 200 rushing yards on 30 carries and one TD.
Giants rookie RB David Wilson came in late in the game and scored a 40-yard TD for his first rush in the league.
Giants QB Eli Manning spread it around on the Browns secondary, with three receivers having over five catches and four averaging 10 yards or more per catch.
The Browns secondary allowed Giants WR Victor Cruz three touchdowns on five catches, including one where they left him literally by himself in the end zone.
Loser: Team Discipline
You can't give up three turnovers for 21 points to a team that had been struggling to convert turnovers into points and expect to win in the NFL.
You can't commit nine penalties for 91 yards and expect to have a shot in the end.
You can't afford to have dumb mistakes like an off-sides penalty on a fourth-down punt that turns a crucial stop into a first down and expect to contend.
This is a lack of discipline. It's a result of a youthful team, in part. But only in part.
The other part is setting a standard as a coaching staff, as an organization. These are mistakes that can be cured by the elbow grease of discipline and attention to detail.
This doesn't come by cracking a whip, but fostering a culture and setting examples from the top down.
Those at that top and in this coaching staff would do well by themselves to keep this in mind, as new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is expected to be approved during NFL owner meetings early this week.
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