It Doesn’t Get Much Uglier Than 31-13

After two consecutive wins, Browns fans were let down today in Cleveland. The Browns lost, 31-13, to the Tennessee Titans, dropping the Browns to 2-2 on the season. Fans were obviously frustrated throughout today's game by the team's overall effort.

The season has yet to be kind to Ohio’s two biggest football teams.

Like Ohio State, the Browns have proved that they are far to inconsistent to be considered relevant in any football universe. Just as the Bucks did on Saturday, the Browns put forth a questionable effort in today’s game against the Titans. What has been deemed a “team loss” by Pat Shurmur (Um, duh?), is being viewed as a pathetic effort by Browns fans. There’s plenty of blame to spread around, starting with the top dog himself, Mike Holmgren.

So far during his tenure with the Browns, Holmgren has been given a pass – and for good reason. There’s no denying that Holmgren’s knowledge of the game is pivotal for the young guys on the Browns roster, but his knowledge of Pat Shurmur is starting to become a question.

An NFL head coach has one of the toughest jobs in all of professional sports. From scouting, to game planning; from practice to the games, it’s certainly safe to say that as a head coach in the pros, you have little time for anything else – including additional coaching duties. Consider all that, and then consider trying to accomplish those things successfully in just your first year at the helm.

There’s a reason teams use offensive and defensive coordinators. There’s a reason each team pays thousands of dollars to thousands of assistant coaches. It’s because the day-in/day-out preparation needed to be successful in the NFL, is far too much for any one man. If this is Shurmur’s version of the west coast offense, I’d rather have Daboll back. The team needs an offensive coordinator, if not this year, most certainly next.

It wasn’t just Shurmur’s play-calling today, it was his management of the team that really confused people. We understood that Peyton Hillis was sick last week, and we’ve heard all about how he slept through the first three quarters because he was, in fact, so sick.

But Browns fans have also heard the rumors: Hillis refused to play, Shurmur has become frustrated with Hillis, Hillis wants paid, Shurmur wants Hillis to play, he’ll pay him later. Those rumors, are certain to be fueled after today’s loss.

In Hillis’ absence last week, Montario Hardesty made the first start of his NFL career. He performed well, rushing for 67 yards on about 18 carries. Apparently Shurmur though Hardesty’s performance was worthy of a monster increase in carries.

Although in all likelihood, the media is just trying to stir the pot. I, personally, don’t think there’s any sort of running back controversy in Cleveland. If there is, or was, that should’ve been laid to rest the very second Hardesty dropped his fourth pass of the game. We expected to see a slight increase in carries for Hardesty, but we didn’t expect him to be the feature back.

In just two weeks, Shurmur went from not knowing that Hardesty’s knee had progressed as far along as it has, to seemingly thinking that Hardesty is ready to be a (nearly) every-down back. What are you doing Pat? Geesh.

I said at the beginning of the year that if Colt McCoy was unsuccessful this year, it wasn’t because of lack of effort.

By now, you all know the off-season story about McCoy visiting Brett Favre for advice, and forming “Camp Colt” sessions to help he and his teammates along. During what was almost certainly an off-season used for learning for Colt McCoy, he forgot to remember how to throw the football. More importantly, he forgot what it was like to make plays.

I’m not sure if McCoy is under to much pressure, both on and off the field, or if McCoy just isn’t that good, but despite his ungodly stats in today’s game, anyone who watched the game knows that McCoy wasn’t all that impressive.

Sure, completing 40 pass, throwing for 350 yards and 1 touchdown looks good, but don’t forget about that 1 interception he threw. It was one interception that all but sealed the fate of the Cleveland Browns. Down 18 at the time, McCoy was looking to make a play on the scramble, and boy did he.

97 yards later, the other way I might add, the Titans had extended their lead to 31-6 over the Browns, and Jordan Babineaux had the second interception return for a touchdown of his career.

You certainly can’t fault McCoy completely for today’s loss, but as the QB, he was a big part of it. The 6 drops by wide receivers – 4 by Hardesty alone – definitely wasn’t his fault, and neither was the receivers inability to gain any separation from the defenders. More often than not, McCoy was left holding onto the ball too long, and forcing plays, simply because his receivers couldn’t get away from the Tennessee defense.

Up next for the Browns, is the Bye Week. Thankfully, the Browns are undefeated against the Bye Week, though there has certainly been some close calls for the Browns. Injuries have often played a factor during the Bye, and this year looks to be no different with Joe Haden injuring his knee.

Cheer-Up Cleveland Browns fans, with a Baltimore loss tonight against the Jets, the Browns will still be tied for 1st Place in the AFC North, even with a 2-2 record.

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