Monday, October 31, 2011
Upon Further Review: Browns
By Jamison Hensley
Revisiting the Cleveland Browns' 20-10 loss at the San Francisco 49ers:
The struggling Browns offense is running out of running backs. Montario Hardesty, who was replacing the injured Peyton Hillis, left the game after straining his calf in the first quarter.
This is a troubling development for a Browns rushing attack that ranks 29th in the NFL. The lack of a dependable running back adds more pressure to Colt McCoy, who is struggling in his first full season as the starting quarterback.
With Hillis and Hardesty out, the Browns had to go with Chris Ogbonnaya, whom the Browns signed off the Houston Texans’ practice squad Oct. 18. He finished with 37 yards rushing and 24 yards receiving.
The status of Cleveland's top two running backs is unknown. Hardesty hopes the injury isn't serious but he'll undergo an MRI today. Hillis injured his hamstring at Oakland on Oct. 16 and aggravated it when he returned to practice Wednesday.
So, Cleveland has had a running back injured in each of its trips to the Bay Area. "I don’t think it has anything to do with what we’re eating or the plane we’re flying,” head coach Pat Shurmur joked.
STAT THAT STICKS: 5 -- Running backs who have gained at least 90 yards against the Browns in seven games this season. Cleveland gave up a season-worst 134 yards Sunday to San Francisco's Frank Gore.
OVERHEARD: “I think our margin for error right now on offense is very small. That’s not an excuse. That’s the reality. We’ve gotta hit on everything. We just do.” Shurmur on an offense that is averaging 15.3 points per game (tied for 28th).
WHAT'S NEXT: The Browns (3-4) stay on the road and go to the AFC South-leading Texans (5-3), who are 3-1 at home.