After thirty minutes of the Cleveland Browns vs. Dallas Cowboys contest, there was a sense of confidence in the Cleveland locker room. The Browns had a convincing 13-0 lead and were getting the ball back to start the second half. So what could possibly go wrong?
For starters, the officiating in this game was absolutely horrendous. The Browns had twelve penalties that cost them 129 yards. A shower of yellow flags were falling all game as they were a total of twenty one mishaps. Perhaps the biggest blown call was in overtime when the Cowboys’ Miles Austin caught a slant across the middle, secured the football, took three steps, and fumbled the ball away. The play was called an incomplete pass. A deflated Browns team watched Dallas kicker Dan Bailey boot the game winning field goal from 38 yards out.
The Browns accomplished one of the things they set out to do in pressuring Tony Romo. The Cleveland defense was stellar with seven sacks on the afternoon. It is safe to say the defensive front did their part to win this game. The problem was the Browns’ secondary. The Cleveland defensive backs combined for seven costly penalties on the day.
Now with a 2-8 record, the Browns appear to be just too young and inexperienced to put teams away. Much of the blame can go on the horrible job the referees did, but at the end of the day, the Browns lack a killer instinct. Nothing good can come out of playing a game on the road not to lose. Pat Shurmur continues to be clueless and has sealed his fate for the future.
There isn’t one coach on the NFL or college level that believes a thirteen point lead is sufficient. Apparently, Shurmur does. Instead of keeping the foot on the pedal mentality, Shurmur and his boys found yet another way to lose. Lack of depth and experienced played a role as well.
With Joe Haden out due to an oblique injury suffered earlier in the week, the Browns had to rely on second year player Buster Skrine to cover the Cowboys physical specimen, Dez Bryant. All Bryant did was grab 12 receptions for a career high 145 yards and a touchdown. Skrine was flagged for three penalties.
When it’s all said and done, the Browns lost and let down their faithful fans yet again. It’s just so frustrating how close they are to being a good team. Unfortunately, it just is what it is. Like Shurmur said in his unemotional flat press conference after the game, “the focus shifts to the Pittsburgh Steelers.” Let’s hope Cleveland comes prepared for this division game.
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
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