Cleveland Browns Vs. Baltimore Ravens: Peyton Hillis Shines, But Browns Lose
At least the Cleveland Browns scored in the second half of the game versus the Baltimore Ravens. Peyton Hillis got 140 yards and Joshua Cribbs had his best game of the year.
Of course, Cribbs' best game of the year is relative to the first two games of the season where you barely saw him, so that's really not saying a lot. The bottom line is whenever Cribbs got the ball, good things usually happened.
The loss wasn't unexpected, and it wasn't a blowout like both games versus the Ravens were last year.
That being said, the Browns now are 0-3.
Let's look at some of the reasons why.
Eric Wright had about as bad a day as a guy could have. The photo above is from August because any attempt to photograph him in today's game wouldn't have showed him anywhere near the action.
Anquan Boldin had three touchdowns because Wright either couldn't keep up with him or couldn't figure out Boldin's moves.
That didn't count the other blown plays where Boldin got a good gain.
The Browns finally moved Wright off of Boldin in the fourth quarter, but Baltimore noticed and just started throwing to Derrick Mason because Wright couldn't cover him either.
Why Wright was allowed to stay in the game after head coach Eric Mangini's rant to the media this week about benching players who were hurting the team is unknown at this point.
Wright was awful, putrid, stinkifyingly bad, and that's the last word on the subject.
Only Joshua Cribbs Can Catch A Ball Now
Seneca Wallace threw the ball to Mohamed Massaquoi once, and supposedly Chansi Stuckey was on the field for a few plays, but the Mysterious Case of the Missing Wide Receivers continues to baffle Sherlock Holmes.
Tight end Ben Watson was the team's leading receiver behind Joshua Cribbs. Along with Hillis, Lawrence Vickers was the only other person to have a pass thrown his way.
While the Browns dedication to the run is admirable, the play-calling once again was a little suspect.
The Coaching Has Improved, But How Improved Is 0-3?
The Browns scored in the second half but they still had some costly penalties, especially on third down on both sides of the ball.
The offense still is dangerously unbalanced: half the guys never seem to play, and the questions are coming fast and furiously with no good answers.
1. What's up with the wide receivers? Are they so bad you don't trust them in a game at all?
2. You finally let James Davis play, but blink and you would've missed him. I understand Hillis was having a lot of success, but spread the ball around—you might have scored another touchdown. Why don't you trust Davis?
3. What was with the deep pass on third and two at the end of the fourth quarter? Seriously? After all the success Hillis had been having? Seriously?
4. Why did it take 100 blown-coverage plays before you finally moved Eric Wright off of Anquan Boldin? Seriously? Did I have a stroke in the third quarter and just kept thinking it was Eric Wright who kept not making plays?
A Pause To Reward Good Play
Peyton Hillis had 22 carries for 144 yards and one touchdown.
Hillis destroyed the Ravens defense and made everyone cheering on the Ravens wonder what happened to Ray Lewis.
No Protection For Wallace
The Browns offensive line is weak on the right side—everyone knows that.
The line performed down to expectations on the right side, as several plays were shut down and thrown into panic mode, causing Wallace to run for his life.
It's hard to keep a good offensive flow going when your quarterback is constantly being flushed from the pocket.
Ending On a Positive Note
T.J. Ward almost got a great interception in the first quarter, but the ball bounced out of his hands and into the Ravens'.
That's just dumb luck, but you have to hold onto the ball.
Ward also deflected a well-thrown pass and generally kept making Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco look elsewhere for an open receiver.
Unfortunately, all Flacco had to do was look and see who Wright was covering.
Up next are the Bengals, and even though the Browns are 0-3 at least they're not getting blown out like they were last year.
You have to take the positives where you can find them when it comes to this team.