Cleveland Browns lose to Baltimore Ravens 14-6

Browns offense awful again in loss to Ravens

9/16/13 in NFL   |   ZacWassink   |   74 respect

Sep 15, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Courtney Upshaw (91) celebrates after Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden (not shown) was sacked during the second half at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens won 14-6. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY SportsThe Cleveland Browns were trailing the Baltimore Ravens by a single point halfway through the third quarter of Sunday's game. Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden dropped back to pass and noticed that running back Chris Ogbonnaya had somehow escaped the backfield and made a journey down the field unnoticed. Weeden, with a guaranteed touchdown a completion away, sailed a pass over the head of the wide open Ogbonnaya, wasting his team's best scoring opportunity of the day.

Weeden's series was about to get worse. A delay of game penalty pushed the Browns back five yards, putting Cleveland in a third-and-12 scenario. Weeden hit wide receiver Greg Little with a pass that would have resulted in a first down had Little been able to hang onto the football. He could not, as has been the case too often during Little's NFL career, and the Browns had to punt the football.

Those two paragraphs are a pretty good summary of Weeden's time with the Browns. There are those frustrating “how could you possibly miss that guy?” moments that convince you Weeden isn't ready for prime time. When he does zip in a pass that shows off his arm strength and accuracy, his wide receivers routinely betray him. No wonder the guy seems to sometimes think twice before releasing the football.

Sep 15, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden (3) warms up prior to the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY SportsI would agree with anybody who said that Weeden has not, in eight quarters of play this September, looked any better than he did throughout a lackluster rookie campaign. The problem with that statement is that those around him haven't done the Cleveland QB any favors. His offensive line leaves him running for his life practically once a series. His WRs drop passes or don't run routes that can earn Cleveland first downs. Today, just like last Sunday, was a loss that can be put on the entire Browns' offense.

Then there's the questionable play-calling, a scheme that left little to the imagination and one not worthy of the effort put up by a Cleveland defense that held Baltimore to seven points for over three quarters of play. The Browns were, once again, trailing by just a single point early on in the fourth quarter and at their own 33-yard line. With Trent Richardson, the team's most reliable offensive weapon, healthy and ready to go, Weeden dropped back to pass; on first down, on second down, and then on third down.

Richardson had no part in any of those plays.

It should, in the interest of fairness, be pointed out that Richardson had hardly dominated up to the point of the contest. He finished the game with just 58 yards on 18 carries. Nevertheless, Cleveland abandoning the run game despite being in a winnable contest for the second consecutive week is alarming. There would be an argument for such an offensive mindset if the team's passing attack was clicking a la what you see with the Green Bay Packers or New Orleans Saints. That's not happening. Not even close.

The hope that Cleveland football fans must hang onto, because there's isn't much left to grasp at, is that wide receiver Josh Gordon really is that much of a game-changer, a play-maker who will give Weeden a true No. 1 WR and one who will open up the field for other players. Gordon will not add depth to the team's offensive line, nor will he immediately save Little's career. We are just two games into the 2013 season, and it's already painfully clear that the Cleveland offense is not one player away from being where it should be.

With Weeden potentially sidelined because of a thumb injury, another Cleveland quarterback controversy could, depending on what happens next week, be looming.

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