Jake Delhomme Collapses: Picking Apart the Cleveland Browns Loss
The first game is in the books for the Cleveland Browns, and it was a lot more disturbing than it should have been.
The Browns and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers matched up well, with the Browns looking slightly better on paper, but the paper turned out to be a forgery and the Browns once again start a season 0-1.
Like last year, the Browns came out and played a good first half, but were unable to play all four quarters.
There were mistakes made where and when they shouldn't have been, and the team that finished the game looked more like the 2009 Browns than anything else.
There are a lot of reasons the Browns lost this game, and there's nothing to be done about it now except pick up the pieces and move on to next week.
But here's a look at what went wrong this Sunday.
Jake Delhomme Collapsed After His First Interception
Jake Delhomme threw an ill-advised pass in the second quarter, trying to force the ball and make a big play. Instead the pass was picked off and it resulted in a Buccaneers touchdown.
Delhomme didn't look the same after that, throwing another horrible pass for an interception in the second half.
Whatever coaching was done on the sidelines in between picks didn't take.
Delhomme looked like he was sliding back into his 2009 form, a bad sign for the rest of the 2010 season.
The Browns Offense Failed To Adjust In The Second Half
The Browns offense looked pretty efficient and marched down the field twice in the first half.
Not so much in the second half that featured a lot of three-and-outs. The Buccaneers made their halftime adjustments, and the Browns failed to respond to that.
The quarter-by-quarter scoring breakdown is the only stat you need to look at to prove that point.
Brian Daboll Still Isn't Managing Games Well
If the offense didn't adjust, some of that blame has to fall on Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll. The main criticism of Daboll last year was his inability to keep up with the pace of an NFL Game as a coordinator.
The offense often looked confused and out of touch in 2009. While there definitely has been improvement, the play-calling, especially in the second half, left a lot to be desired.
On third down in the third quarter, the Browns put in a four-wide receiver set but made no adjustments for the defense, who shut the play down and left Delhomme only a short checkdown pass that didn't come anywhere close to a first down.
The quarterback has a radio in his helmet, so why it wasn't used is a good question.
And that's just one example. We could be here all day if you want.
Where Was Joshua Cribbs?
That's a nice picture of Joshua Cribbs. Too bad there are no game photos of Cribbs from the Tampa Bay contest.
The reason for that probably is Cribbs really didn't do much. Cribbs got shut down on special teams, which wasn't really anyone's fault.
But other than a few aborted attempts to do a Wildcat formation or whatever, Cribbs didn't really do a lot.
History has shown when Cribbs has a good game, the Browns usually win. This is not a difficult concept to grasp.
Eric Mangini Made Two Big Mistakes
Eric Mangini made two mistakes over the course of this game, the first of which we'll examine here.
Jake Delhomme injured his toe during the game, was noticably limping and his performance was affected as a result.
His passes began floating and he had a harder time maneuvering around the pocket.
The Browns have a backup quarterback known for his mobility and who wasn't suffering from a toe injury.
But Mangini left Delhomme in.
SInce When Did Timeouts Become Worth Their Weight In Gold?
There's not much to say about the end of the fourth quarter as the Browns had the ball and the clock was approaching the two-minute mark.
With fourth and short coming up, the Browns needed to call a timeout to get some extra time to put a play together.
But they didn't. Floyd Womack false-started, and once again poor clock management helped snatch defeat away from the jaws of victory.
Mangini exhibited poor clock management skills vs. Detroit last year. Let's hope this is the last time we talk about this.
Why Is Floyd Womack Still On This Team?
Floyd Womack was a constant source of irritation to Browns fans in 2009 as he helped the right side of the offensive line become one of the worst in the league.
Of course, one of the reasons Womack is playing for the Browns is because of the complete lack of depth on the right side.
Drafting guys like David Veikune as an experiment in the second round instead of drafting for a definite need creates these situations.
So we're stuck with Womack for another year where he can not protect the quarterback, and where he can false start on fourth-and-three at the end of the fourth quarter.
Joe Haden's Luck Ran Out
Joe Haden was a beast in the first half vs. the Bucs. He was all over the field, it looked like he was in on every play.
The Bucs adjusted to him in the second half, and Haden looked more like the rookie he is.
He gets a pass because it's his first game, but it is a reason the Browns lost.
The Defense Put Too Little Pressure on Josh Freeman
Josh Freeman is a young quarterback, and he had a fractured thumb.
While the blitzing wasn't a complete failure, Freeman still was getting too much time to throw the ball in the second half.
If you can't put good pressure on a young quarterback, you're doing something wrong.
You can't throw two interceptions and constantly put the ball on the ground and expect to win games.
Take away any one turnover from Sunday and the Browns win.
It doesn't get any more complicated than that.