You know, it doesn't make a lot of sense to complain about an NFL win. Many have since Sunday, and I think that it's energy wasted. The Browns won and saved their season for the time being. But, oh my was it ugly.
Not complaining here, but I am continually baffled by this team this season. All this talent and a brutal struggle every single week. Why this team doesn't play up to its potential on a more regular basis is simply puzzling. There are few factors more than likely. Ongoing injuries, Covid, officiating and bad breaks from time to time. Clearly, Baker Mayfield is not at all healthy and it's tough when your QB is compromised. But we also have to face facts some of these guys we may think are really good, are actually really average.
Coach Kevin Stefanski also is an issue at this moment. We have got to stop this "I'm the smartest guy in the room" act and remember who we really are at our core. To his credit we didn't try some ridiculous trick play at an important time this week, like we have every other week. And we didn't decide to go for it on fourth down all day like in weeks past leaving points out there. I get it, analytics are a really big deal to this team and that's the choice they've made. But if that's really true, why have we built a team of old school style football? We are best when we commit to run the ball with the game's best RB, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt (when healthy). When he continually puts the game this year in the hands of a very physically compromised QB, that's just not smart. I don't fault Baker for being hurt or wanting to play - mad respect. We all have to get it through our heads, this is NOT last year. We have to adjust our thinking. We have big injuries where it matters.
Sunday, the 80K stadium fans had to chant Chubb's name to help pressure the coach to go to and stick to the running game at crunch time when it was clear to them and huge TV audience to do so. He also was Bronxed cheered when he finally did. His stubbornness is his Achilles heel and the league knows it. Other teams get paid too, and they know he is very reluctant to deviate from the organizational beliefs even when it's clear that what is being attempted isn't working at that moment. And can we knock off with all the penalties too? That's training camp stuff. I don't know what the exact answer is long term, but right now you have a QB who is essentially a statue and a target. You think the Ravens this week will come after him? The lowly Lions did and almost got a win.
It's gut check time - again, as now it seems most games are sort of mini playoff games, and winning is all that matters right now, even a very ugly underachieving win like Sunday. This week is no different as this is a team you have to beat, probably twice. So let's leave the Inspector Gadget goofy plays for the beer league to run at the annual picnic, let's do what we do best, let's remember what our identity is, let's play the players that give us the best chance to win. AND let's coach and play up to our potential and get the win against this team. It's a must.