As the Cleveland Browns faced off against the New York Jets in a completely meaningless game, you got the sense that this was a very winnable game for them despite being on the road. It seemed like the Jets posed absolutely zero threat and maybe Cleveland would grab their fifth win of the season. Boy, were you wrong.
For a quarter-and-a-half, the Browns looked like they had command and direction in this contest. Even when they were stopped on a fourth down goal line stand, they didn’t panic. After turning the ball over on downs, the Browns defense forced the Jets to punt and the good guys obtained excellent field position. A four play drive is all it would take to grab a 10-0 lead.
Newly acquired running back, Edwin Baker found the end zone for the second week in a row. It was after this where the Browns would sputter in a very familiar way and fans were muttering “Not again!” at their televisions.
Jason Campbell may have played his way straight out of Cleveland’s future plans with his dismal performance. From missing a wide open Josh Cooper on third down on the first drive to his final overthrow that was picked off by Browns-killer Ed Reed, Campbell was off the mark all day. Completing just 46% of his throws, Campbell failed to find the end zone multiple times and continued to dink-and-dunk. The soon-to-be 32 year old looked flustered by a mediocre Jets defense and averaged just 4.6 yards a completion.
As fate would have it, wide receiver David Nelson found a way to get revenge on the team that cut him just four months ago. The tall targeted receiver found the end zone twice and had four catches for 33 yards. How would’ve Nelson fared this season if he was wearing orange instead of green?
It was completely obvious in the fourth quarter that the Cleveland defense is not all cracked up to be what people think. Statistics wise, you can be one of the best defenses in the league, but it doesn’t mean a thing if you’re unable to get crucial stops at important times in the game. And, that’s exactly what they didn’t do yesterday – get a stop in the fourth quarter and eventually allowed Geno Smith to prance in the end zone untouched. Fortunately for Smith, he didn’t get touched by a Browns defender or he might have “flopped” again like he did early in the game. What a joke the NFL has become.
At the end of the day, the Browns are 4-11 and this week’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers ends the once hopeful season. Mathematically, the Steelers still have a shot at the postseason. Will the Browns try to put a stop to that? One week till we find out.
Ryan Ruiz is the Cleveland Browns Beat Writer for The Inscriber: Digital Magazine. You can follow him on Facebook: Ryan (BrownsWriter) Ruiz and Twitter @ryanpruiz24. Ryan is also a Browns correspondent for The Sportsfix. Tune in every Friday at noon on www.thesportsfix.net. Have a question or comment for the “ASK Ryan” column on Fridays? Email Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org