Regardless of how they got here, the Browns are at .500 through 4 games at (2-2). Now what do they do moving forward will give us a better idea if they’re a good team, an improving team, a lucky team or still a bad team. We’ll start to get an answer to that debate starting this Sunday when they host their arch rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have beaten the Browns in 28 of the last 32 games.
Kudos to Chris Tabor’s special teams as they played a big part in the Browns historical comeback win yesterday at Tennessee. Tank Carter’s blocked punt was a momentum changer, and the fact they were perfect on all snaps for punts, field goals and extra points and they made all their kicks is huge. Plus their punt and kick coverage teams were outstanding.
Brian Hoyer is now (5-2) in 7 career starts for the Cleveland Browns. Of those 5 wins, he has led 3 game winning drives in the 4th quarter.
More Hoyer – he’s thrown for 1,008 yards with 6 touchdown passes and only 1 interception so far this season. That’s good for a 97.7 quarterback rating.
The Browns have outscored their opponents so far this season 67-30 in the second half of games.
While it is a victory Monday and as Mike Pettine pointed out in week #1 this is a Pass/Fail business, the Browns head coach can’t be happy with the way his team has started their road games (outscored 54-13 in 1st half), their inability to stop the run, the poor play of Joe Haden, Justin Gilbert and Buster Skrine and the horrendous tackling we’ve seen through 4 games.
The Browns defense, which was supposed to be its strength entering this season, is ranked 30th in run defense in the NFL at (152. Yards per game) and 28th in pass defense at ( 269.3 yards per game).
Having said all that, the Browns are only 1 game out of first in the AFC North.
Taylor Gabriel has been the biggest surprise for me amongst the wide receivers. The undrafted rookie from Abilene Christian has been a big play guy for the offense, averaging 19.4 yards per catch on 10 grabs.
If you’re looking for the strength of this Browns football team, look no further than the offensive line. Joe Thomas, John Greco, Alex Mack, Joel Bitonio and Mitchell Schwartz are the main reason Brian Hoyer has been able to do what he’s done, as well as the running game. The team is averaging over 143 yards per game on the ground with a 4.5 average on every carry regardless of who the running back is.
(4-15), that’s the combined record of the Browns next 4 opponents with 3 of those 4 games at home. No less than 3 wins in the next 4 games is acceptable if this squad wants to be considered a good team and a playoff contender.