When your team is trailing by four points going into the fourth quarter and there’s little hope of coming back, you’re in deep...well, you know.
This has been the case for the Cleveland Browns in the first two games of the season. Most of the blame can go on the offense, but the defense is also finding it difficult to create turnovers. The defense has done its part, but the offense can’t put together a long enough drive to give them a break.
Through two games, the Browns have scored just seven second half points, and that touchdown came in garbage time versus the Vikings. They have been outscored 44-7 by their opponents in the final two quarters, which is possibly the most disappointing aspect of Mangini’s first two games as head coach—his inability to make halftime adjustments.
Quarterback Brady Quinn has been sacked nine times in two games while throwing only one touchdown pass. His nine sacks can be attributed to both poor protection from his offensive line and his holding onto the ball too long.
Do not be surprised if you see more of Mohamed Massaquoi in this game. The rookie from Georgia is really the only other deep threat aside from Braylon Edwards and would help spread the Baltimore defense a bit. Mike Furrey and Josh Cribbs have been the targets of Quinn’s check downs and really pose no offensive threat.
It also looks as though running back Jamal Lewis could miss this Sunday’s game due to a hamstring injury. If he does, Jerome Harrison and James Davis will be asked to take on a difficult task against a stout Ravens' defense. I have a hunch that Lewis will be in there come one o’clock on Sunday, being it’s against his former team.
I have been surprised by the lack of screen plays from the offense due to the amount of success they had during the preseason. Maybe this is the week they execute a couple of them with Harrison seeing more reps.
With this week’s signing of Greg Estandia and release of Martin Rucker, Mangini may be considering putting a blocking tight end next to John St. Clair to help on the right side of the line. St. Clair got eaten alive by Elvis Dumervil last week, surrendering four sacks to the former Louisville standout.
The Browns must eliminate turnovers on Sunday. The botched snap against Denver near their own end zone seemed to take the air out of the entire team early in the game.
They also have to create some turnovers on defense, something they haven’t done in first two games.
If the Browns don’t come to play Sunday in Baltimore, they will be sporting the same colors as the Ravens (black and purple) by game's end.