Two Jake Delhomme interceptions, a Peyton Hillis fumble, and some poor play calling were the main reasons the Cleveland Browns lost a very winnable opening game.
Leading 14-3 and driving towards the end of the first half, Delhomme threw an interception to Ronde Barber, who returned it 64 yards to the three yard line. That set up a touchdown pass from Josh Freeman to Mike Williams, making it 14-10 at the half.
Early in the third quarter with the Browns driving, Hillis lost a fumble at the Bucs 20, thwarting what would be the Browns last scoring opportunity. Instead of having a comfortable lead, the Browns were killing themselves.
While the three turnovers proved very costly to the Browns, Delhomme also threw a fourth quarter interception, the play calling made absolutely no sense at all.
Last year the Browns built a four game winning streak by being able to run the ball. Even with no passing game they still were successful. That’s the one thing they were good at.
Against Tampa Bay, who was 3-13 last year, why not do what you do best? Sure Delhomme had a nice preseason but the Browns are a running team. At least they had better be if they expect to win many games this season.
Cleveland ran the ball just 23 times for a 4.5 average against the Bucs, while attempting 37 passes. Josh Cribbs carried the ball just three times. Wasn’t Delhomme brought in to manage the offense and provide leadership? Thirty-seven passes against Tampa Bay?
Delhomme’s no Peyton Manning. Just take what the defense gives you and that was 4.5 yards a pop. That’s Browns football.
On the positive side, I thought rookie safety T.J.Ward had an excellent first game. Ten tackles, a forced fumble, and a forced interception. Also, Marcus Benard had 1.5 sacks.
The Browns scored their two touchdowns on a 41 yard pass from Delhomme to Mahamed Massaquoi and a 10 yard run by Hillis.
I know it’s only one game and there are 15 more but this one hurts. The Browns cannot afford to give away very winnable games.