With the 17-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts now in the books, Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur’s questionable decision to punt on fourth down in Colts territory may be the end of his time in Cleveland.
Shurmur, whose Browns was trailing 17-13 with 6:38 remaining, would opt to punt the ball—after using his first timeout—from the Colts 41-yard line. The eventual punt would come after the Browns would sack and cause quarterback Andrew Luck to fumble giving Cleveland the ball at midfield.
After a nine-yard completion to wide receiver Travis Benjamin, quarterback Brandon Weeden would misfire on two deep passes—highlighted by a drop by wide receiver Josh Gordon of a potential game-winner—before the head scratching decision to punt, as opposed to at least draw Indianapolis offsides.
While we may never know the rhyme or reason for Shurmur’s decision to punt the ball back to the Colts, but this latest example of gutless and incompetent decision-making is why the Browns are now 1-6 as opposed to 2-5.
This is not the first time that Shurmur has made a questionable call late in a game, as he would choose to pass on third-and-one against the New York Giants and the infamous Alex Smith running play last year against the St Louis Rams are a microcosm of Shurmur’s cluelessness as a head coach.
Here’s the bottom line : The Browns are 1-6 right now, and Shurmur is 5-18 as a head coach in the NFL, whose team just lost their franchise-record 11th straight road game in front of a new—and much more hands-on owner—in Jimmy Haslam III.
With a shoddy record of bad playcalling—that borders on ultra-conservative—horrible time management and his now patented “deer lost in the headlights” look on the sidelines that many Browns fans have come to instantly detest, defending President Barack Obama’s record over the last four years is easier to defend than Shurmur’s lackluster body of work.
And where are the supporters and apologists of Shurmur these days? Thought so.
At this point, there is no excuse as to why Shurmur still has the visible body language and amateur-level coaching that says that he doesn’t get it as he had no lockout and a full off-season with a veteran offensive coordinator in Brad Childress to avoid these kind of situations in the regular season.
It is also really sad that such an egregious coaching move would overshadow Weeden’s 262-yard, two touchdown effort on the road and outplay the top overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
That being said, if Haslam’s televised reaction in the owner’s box to Shurmur’s decision means anything, the only question that remains is when will Shurmur go from lame duck to Peking soup?
Robert D. Cobb is the NBA Network Manager for Rant Media Network, Featured Writer of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Featured Columnist for the Cleveland Browns and Arsenal Gunners.
In addition to covering the NBA, I also cover MLB, NFL, NHL and Champions League soccer news, rumors and opinions, please follow me on Twitter at @RobertCobb_76