If the Cleveland Browns were being graded on a curve, they would be the kid who helps out the rest of the class. Their grades for Week 13 would be so low that the smart kids could not have to study and still ace the test.
That’s what happens when you let a 2-9 Jacksonville Jaguars team come into your house and steal a victory. The Browns should have won. The Browns made enough plays to win. Unfortunately, the Browns also made enough mistakes and allowed enough big plays to lose.
That is the struggle of a young football team that is starting a quarterback who is erratic at best. The 32-28 loss was disappointing and, unfortunately, just another episode in a long line of letdowns.
This article is never fun after a loss but today’s is especially excruciating.
As always, weekly grades are handed out based on how much a player impacted the game, if he won his individual battle, whether he was a positive contributor and if he could have performed better.
Let’s see how they did.
Brandon Weeden: F
Don’t be fooled by the numbers. Brandon Weeden finished the day 24-of-40 for 370 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He had a quarterback rating of 94.8.
When you look deeper, however, you see that his two interceptions came at the most inopportune times. You also see that he lost a fumble, which set up the Jaguars nicely. You see a guy who completely imploded in the final two minutes of the first half.
Finally, you see a quarterback who could not get his team to defeat an abysmal opponent. It was a sad performance.
Previous position grades: D+, C+, C+, A, B, D+, F, A, A, D, D
Chris Ogbonnaya, Willis McGahee and Fozzy Whittaker: F
Willis McGahee rushed for a touchdown. That is the end of the positives in the running game.
Rushing for 97 yards on 30 carries for 3.2 yards per attempt average is not something to be proud of. Especially when it is one of your better performances of the season.
The Browns desperately needed to be able to lean on the run game when Weeden was coming unraveled, and they failed to help out.
Their blitz pickup also left something to be desired as they missed blocks on quite a few different plays.
Previous position grades: C-, C-, D+, B-, B+, B+, D, C-, D, C-, D-
Josh Gordon, Davone Bess and Greg Little: F
Are you starting to notice a pattern? I don’t care if you broke your own franchise record for most receiving yards in a game with 261 like Josh Gordon did on Sunday.
I don’t care if you have the most receiving yards in a two-week span in the history of the NFL like Gordon did Sunday. I don’t care if you caught two touchdowns like Gordon did Sunday.
He is a ridiculous talent and will have plenty of time for “A” grades.
This week, they get an F because this is a team sport and they lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Previous position grades: D, D, A-, B+, A-, C+, D, C, B+, C-, C+
Jordan Cameron and Gary Barnidge: F
While four catches for 43 yards is a slight improvement over what Jordan Cameron has done the past month, he was basically still a non-factor in the game.
The Jaguars had allowed an average of 69 yards per game to opposing tight ends this season.
While some of his production may have been stolen by Gordon’s freakish day, he still needs to find a way to be a difference-maker for the Browns offense.
Previous position grades: A-, A-, A, A, C+, B, B+, B+, B, C-, D-
Joe Thomas, John Greco, Alex Mack, Shawn Lauvao and Mitchell Schwartz: F
Weeden was hit six times and sacked three times by the worst pass rush in the NFL. Coming into Sunday, the Jags had sacked a quarterback just 17 times in 10 games.
Weeden was diagnosed with a concussion after the game, according to Ryan Lewis of The Akron-Beacon Journal. Concussions happen because the quarterback is being hit.
This unit has continually regressed since its peak performances around midseason.
Previous position grades: F, D+, D+, C+, C-, A-, B, A+, A, D, D+
Phil Taylor, Ahtyba Rubin, John Hughes, Desmond Bryant, Armonty Bryant and Billy Winn: F
The defensive line allowed 112 yards on 29 attempts to one of the worst rushing offenses in the NFL. The unit also put almost no pressure on Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne.
While it was responsible for one of the two sacks the Browns registered on Sunday, that was nowhere near enough.
Henne had been sacked 37 times entering Week 13. The Browns barely fazed him in the pocket. He had enough time to throw 40 times, for two touchdowns and walk away clean.
Previous position grades: A+, B-, B-, A-, C+, C+, C+, B+, A, C+, D-
Paul Kruger, Jabaal Sheard and Barkevious Mingo: F
Where has this unit gone? Jabaal Sheard registered one of the Browns two sacks, but other than that, they were missing in action.
In fact, they have been missing in action for the past month. Before Sunday, the Browns had gone two straight games without a sack.
If they want to be an elite linebacking unit, then that cannot happen. Barkevious Mingo seems to have really hit the “rookie wall.”
Previous position grades: A-, A-, B, B-, C, C+, C+, B+, B, C-, D-
Darius Eubanks and D’Qwell Jackson: F
Darius Eubanks and D’Qwell Jackson did not play that terrible, but when your defense allows 32 points to a team that averages 12.9 per game, your grade suffers.
The tight ends and running backs were held in check through the air for the most part, which is good. Unfortunately, Maurice Jones-Drew rushed for 77 yards on the day.
The run defense was weak at best, and that helped set up some of the big pass plays. This includes the 20-yard strike that sealed the game with 40 seconds to play.
Previous position grades: B, A-, B-, C+, C-, D-, D-, D, A+, B+, B-, C-
Buster Skrine, Chris Owens and Joe Haden: F
Even if you play a perfect game for 59 minutes and 20 seconds it can all come unraveled. Joe Haden bit on a double move by Jaguars wide receiver Cecil Shorts III and allowed the game-winning touchdown with 40 seconds remaining.
Haden had a very good day to that point, but none of that matters now.
Haden broke down after the game and went on a profanity-laced rant to the media with tears in his eyes, according to Pat McManamon of ESPN.com.
Hadens’s passion is fantastic, but unfortunately, the fanbase shares his frustration and won't show much pity.
Previous position grades: C-, C, A, A, A, B-, D+, B, C+, A+, D+
Tashaun Gipson and T.J. Ward: F
T.J. Ward had another very good game. Unfortunately, he is also a leader of the defense, which was not good Sunday. He is also the same leader who questioned the offense after last week’s loss.
Instead of rallying the team, it worked the exact opposite way. They played even sloppier, and the defense slumped down to the level of the offense.
Tashaun Gipson was also beat for a touchdown by tight end Marcedes Lewis.
Previous position grades: C+, B, B-, C+, A, B+, B, B-, B, C, C+
Billy Cundiff, Spencer Lanning, Fozzy Whittaker, Jordan Poyer and Coverage Units: F
Punt returner Jordan Poyer was one of the few bright spots on the Browns Sunday. He had a 38-yard return, which is something the Browns have been missing since Travis Benjamin was put on injured reserve.
Kicker Billy Cundiff also missed a 53-yard field goal. This is not surprising, however, as he was just 7-of-23 in his career from beyond 50 yards.
The rest of the special teams units were just OK on Sunday.
Previous position grades: C+, C+, A+, D+, A+, B-, B, C, B, D+, C