Sunday, September 12, 2010
Wrap-up: Buccaneers 17, Browns 14
By James Walker
Here are some thoughts on the Cleveland Browns' Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
What it means: It means the Browns continue their trend of losing season openers. Cleveland is 1-11 in Week 1 since returning to the NFL in 1999, and every year it prevents the team from getting off to a good start. The Browns, perhaps more than any other division team, needed an early win for their confidence but failed to do it against Tampa Bay, which struggled mightily last season.
What I liked: Cleveland's running game averaged 4.5 yards per carry, and I'm a little surprised the Browns didn't go to it more often. Starting tailback Jerome Harrison rushed for 52 yards on nine carries (5.8 yards per attempt) and Peyton Hillis added 41 yards and a touchdown. Cleveland led 14-3 in the second quarter, yet the team's pass-to-run ratio was 38-23.
What I didn't like: I didn't like the Browns’ turnovers. Cleveland doesn't have the talent to make up for a lot of mistakes and needs to play smarter and more efficient to win. Instead, the Browns were sloppy and turned the ball over three times. Cleveland quarterback Jake Delhomme threw two interceptions against Tampa Bay, and it comes at a time when he was starting to quiet some doubters after a solid preseason. Obviously, many doubts remain.
What's next: I usually don't call anything a must-win in Week 2. But if the Browns want to make any noise this season, they must beat the Kansas City Chiefs next week. Cleveland is in the easiest part of its schedule and already came up short in a winnable game against Tampa Bay. An 0-2 start against the Bucs and Chiefs in back-to-back weeks would be a nightmare scenario for the Browns.