- Pat McManamon, ESPN Cleveland Browns reporter
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First and 10 will not mention the word "turkeys" this week:
T. J. Ward was right -- the reason the Browns lost these last two “big” games was because of turnovers. The Browns had four against Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. They had zero takeaways after the first quarter in Cincinnati. Ward caught some flak for his comments, but he was just being honest. They lost because of turnovers, and they’re not ready.
What does it mean to have four turnovers in a game, which the Browns had the past two games? Teams have lost 87 of the past 100 games when it had four turnovers. Figure the Browns forced zero against Pittsburgh, and it’s worse. Teams that had four turnovers and zero takeaways have gone 4-96 the last 100 times that has happened.
Which puts into perspective where the team is at this point. Big games? Division championship? Relevant in the AFC North? The Browns are poised to make their fourth quarterback change and have lost five of six. Never has so much been made of one win over Baltimore by so many.
The city of Cleveland found within itself the gumption to vote to help pay for improvements at the team’s stadium, which will begin at season’s end. A metropolitan area that lost more jobs than any in the country from May 2012 through May 2013 committed to repaying the Browns $2 million per year for the next 15 years. Of course, the city also said that $30 million figure in present day money is really just $22 million. So, there’s that.
Cleveland comedian Mike Polk Jr. was at it again. The man who dubbed the stadium a “factory of sadness” a year ago was back after the Steelers game to say that the only constants with the Browns “are misery and unwavering devotion” from fans. It’s funny, and it’s to the point (Warning to parents: Part of it is PG-13 rated).
The hostility with which Brandon Weeden is greeted when he enters games is beyond the pale. Weeden is doing his best with what he has, and that fact he’s not doing well doesn’t seem to mandate vitriol. For the first time, the team seemed weary of the boos that greet Weeden. If they hear them he does as well, which doesn’t make things exactly comfortable. Not that an uncomfortable guy can’t win, just that it’s uncomfortable.
By most any measure, 237 receiving yards and 14 receptions in a game is impressive. That’s what Josh Gordon did in the loss to Pittsburgh. But ex-Browns receiver Reggie Rucker said on Cleveland TV station WEWS-Channel 5 that Gordon’s team mark for receiving yards in a game came after the contest was decided and he shouldn’t have been in the game in the fourth quarter. The record should still belong to Ozzie Newsome (his ex-teammate), Rucker said, because his catches came when his game was competitive.
Interesting. Except Gordon did earn his yards, and made some very nice plays with them. Yes, a lot came in the fourth quarter after the game was decided -- he had seven catches for 158 yards -- but he did make the catches, and he did handle it graciously after the game, saying getting the record meant little in such a bad loss.
Here’s what coach Rob Chudzinski said about Rucker’s remarks: “Production is production at the end of the day. He was able to get those yards and in an NFL game. ... It doesn’t really matter. He was out there. I thought he played one of his better games in terms of he’s just getting better and better as a route runner and really making plays.”
As for Gordon’s game, this little tidbit comes courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information: Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden were 14-for-17 for 237 yards a touchdown when throwing to Gordon, and 13-for-35 for 75 yards an an interception throwing to everyone else.
First and 10 will not mention the word "turkeys" this week: T. J. Ward was right -- the reason the Browns lost these last two “big” games was because of turnovers.