The culture of losing that has infected the Cleveland Browns since the franchise returned to the NFL in 1999 continues to haunt the team. Cleveland fell apart in the fourth quarter of a game, this time versus the Chicago Bears, for the third straight Sunday, and a five-game losing streak off of a Bye week has eliminated the good feelings fans may have about the future of the franchise.
4-12, here they come.
Sober thoughts on Browns losing to the Bears: Diamond?
Lost in the dumpster fire that was Cleveland blowing another lead at home was the fact that the Browns may have found a running back in Edwin Baker. Baker rushed for 4.8 yards per carry, and he also found the end zone. He only got eight carries on the day, though, which resulted in Baker finishing with under 40 yards (38) on the ground.
Baker was locating holes up front and hitting them hard while playing against what is the worst run defense in the NFL, a unit that is allowing over 152 rushing yards per game this season. It's mind-boggling, not to mention frustrating, that Baker wasn't given more carries when the Chicago defense was fatigued in the second half of the contest.
Cleveland, as a team, managed 5.5 yards per carry against the Bears, and yet the offense only ran the ball 17 times. That stat indicates that the offensive coaching staff wasn't properly reading what was taking place out on the field. The players aren't the only people who have lots to learn in film sessions this midweek.
Sober thoughts on Browns losing to the Bears: A reminder
Jason Campbell placed at least partial blame for his struggles on Sunday on the lousy weather conditions. That, when it comes to Campbell, means little. He won't, minus a catastrophe the likes of which the Browns have experienced at the quarterback position this season, be the team's starter next September.
His comments were interesting in that they offered a reminder of something the team's front office and coaching staff must not forget when looking at will-be rookie quarterbacks next spring. It's cold, windy and often snowy in Cleveland during the second half of the NFL season. Picking a young QB who spent his college playing days in Texas, Alabama, Florida or California may not be the wisest decision.
See “Sanchez, Mark” for more on this.
It appears that there is a good possibility that Jay Cutler, who rallied the Bears to beat the Browns in Cleveland yesterday, could be available this coming offseason. When you look at the top QBs who will fall to Cleveland when the team makes its first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Cutler seems to be a more realistic option, at least until a young QB can be groomed to play eight games in Cleveland per season.
Sober thoughts on Browns losing to the Bears: Go
The Browns, in the middle of another fourth quarter collapse, had possession of the football on their own 32-yard line with about five minutes left on the clock. Three Campbell incomplete passes were followed up with a Spencer Lanning punt.
Cleveland cornerback Joe Haden had left the game in the previous quarter due to a hip pointer. The Cleveland defense never recovered from losing its star. There is zero reason for head coach Rob Chudzinski to even entertain punting the football in such a scenario.
Chud had to see that his defense, dejected and tired, was incapable of stopping the offense of the Bears. It wasn't happening. Cleveland, at 4-9 yesterday and playing at home for the final time in 2013, has nothing to lose in going for the first down in that situation.