Remember when Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam claimed – in August, mind you – that he had no intention of blowing things up this year, regardless of how the team performs? Striving for consistency, he intended to show both coach Mike Pettine and GM Ray Farmer he had their backs and, even if the Browns had a bad season, their jobs were safe.
There’s a very good chance Haslam will be called out for this lie when he cleans house this January.
As badly as the concept of consistency is needed in Cleveland, there’s just no way to justify either Pettine or Farmer keeping their jobs beyond this season. Any leverage they may have had has been erased by the events of this past week.
Sunday we had the Browns blow a 20-7 lead over the Arizona Cardinals and lose 34-20. Tuesday, we had Farmer’s absolute clown-show of a press conference, during which he made a fool of himself by claiming the Browns were close to contending. Then, as if this all wasn’t enough, we had tonight’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Showing a little spark thanks to the reinsertion of Johnny Manziel into the starting lineup, the Browns rode a crucial 92-yard touchdown drive and went into halftime down just 14-10. Clearly, such a momentous occurrence meant Cleveland would finally start showing some fight, right?
Nope. In fact, you could argue the team decided instead to mentally stay in the locker room at halftime instead of returning to the field for the third quarter.
The Browns allowed 17 consecutive points to Cincinnati, losing by a final score of 31-10. Until the final drive of the game, Cleveland had only gained seven yards in the second half. Yes, you read that correctly. Seven. Yards.
Defensively, the Browns showed some effort in the first half, and decided that was enough for the full game. The Bengals simply waltzed their way up and down the field in the third and fourth quarters, which is easy to do when Cleveland defenders are over-pursuing as often as they did all game.
Bottom line: it was the second straight week the team straight up refused to show up in the second half. It’s becoming clearer every game the Browns just have no interest in making even the slightest halftime adjustments. In fact, in the past three games, Cleveland has been outscored 55-3 in the second half.
This absolutely pathetic stat is on the coaches. Pettine has been unable to adjust in the second half all year long, and it’s clearly why the team has looked so useless in the third and fourth quarters.
Pettine also claimed at halftime he was going to “calm Johnny down.” Well, based on what we saw, maybe he should avoid this tactic from here on out.
Manziel looked much-improved in the first half, especially on the aforementioned touchdown drive. So, Pettine calmed him down, and as a result, the offense completely stopped.
Great move, Mike. When you’re polishing up your resume, leave tonight off of it.
Of course, he won’t be the only one looking for a job this winter. Farmer’s fingerprints were all over this loss, too.
Give Manziel some credit, not all of the blemishes were on him tonight. There were dropped passes all game, most of which were delivered right to the respective receivers hands. The defense, which Farmer spent the most money on this offseason, looks like it couldn’t stop a peewee team.
Farmer claimed Tuesday his job here is to bring talent to the Browns. As you saw tonight, he’s failed miserably.
Remember, Farmer snidely claimed wide receivers don’t make an impact in today’s game. It’s why he skipped over all the vaunted wideouts in last year’s draft. And this is why Manziel has to spend the night throwing to brick-hands Taylor Gabriel and old man Dwayne Bowe.
This Browns team is completely devoid of talent across the board, and that’s thanks to Farmer. The team also looks lost on defense, giving away third down conversions and touchdowns like candy on Halloween. This is thanks to Pettine.
Cleveland fans know exactly where this is going. Come Black Monday, the day when coaches and GMs are shown the door around the league, the Browns will be one of the teams looking to fill a couple new vacancies.
This Browns team is an atrocity, and the two men in charge of running it are likely going to pay because of it. God forbid Cleveland ever finds a regime worth keeping around.