Monday, December 31, 2012

Boomer's Game Recap: Turnovers (once again) doom Browns, lose to Big Ben & Steelers

Browns QB Thaddeus Lewis #9 lofts a TD pass to the back of the endzone
in the 3rd quarter of yesterday's loss to the Steelers.
Recap: Shurmur era ends with lose to Steelers
Box Score: Steelers 24, Browns 10 Final

Well, despite having to start a third-string QB making his first career NFL start, the Browns didn't completely fall apart in the team's 2012 finale vs. a Steelers team, that looked very disinterested for most of the afternoon. Despite moving the ball at times against the #1 defense in the NFL, the Browns were once again doomed by turnovers (-4 on the day) and costly penalties (9/79 yards). Once again, the Browns finish another frustrating season at 5-11, the third time in four seasons finishing at that mark. #Shurmurfired

As of this morning, Head Coach (Pat Shurmur) & GM (Tom Heckert) were both ousted from the Browns organization. As the calendar turns to 2013, the Browns hope (unlike that past 14 years) that new owner Jimmy Haslam III is finally the man to turn this franchise around, & back into a contender for years to come...Always waiting for next year.

The Offense:
I was impressed with Thaddeus Lewis, coming in and guiding the Browns offense vs. the Steelers stiff D. Early on he was doing a good job connecting with his receivers and could have been even better had he been able to complete some of the long passes he was firing. Lewis, finished the day 22/32 for 204 yards and a touchdown. However, he did throw a pick that cost the Browns from putting points up on the board in the 1st half. Lewis, was unfortunately, knocked out of the game at the end and his back-up Josh Johnson (signed this week) came in under center for the Browns final offensive play of the 2012 season. The Browns once again had to use multiple QB's this season, four to be exact (WE MEANT OUR QUOTE!). The Browns were without starting QB (Weeden) & RB (Richardson), as they were unable to finish off their rookie campaign's on the field due to injuries suffered a week ago. The Browns rushed for a total of 138 yards, most of it by Richardson's replacements Hardesty (14 rushes, 37 yards) and Brandon Jackson (8 rushes, 54 yards). The costly issues in this game, were the two fumbles lost by Browns rookie receiver's. The first coming from rookie WR Josh Gordon in the final minutes of the 1st half setting up the Steelers with great field possession (later scored 1st TD), right before halftime. Gordon, injured on the play would not return. The second one, from rookie WR Travis Benjamin, as he got the ball punched out, after getting up from the field, after he was not touched making a nice diving catch. The second fumble and third turnover on the day by the Browns, ended a potential game-tying drive, that the Steelers turned into another touchdown a couple plays later, putting the game away. A missed FG early by Phil Dawson was a surprise, after the Pro Bowl season he turned in. The Browns also failed to do anything with great field possession, as twice the Browns started drives in Pittsburgh territory, but came away with just three points (a FG & Punt). In the end, the Browns couldn't make enough plays offensively (whats new!) to pull off their 1st win in Pittsburgh since 2003, which would have given them the season sweep over the Steelers for the first time since 1988.

The Defense:
Anytime you give Big Ben a short field, its difficult to keep him from putting points on the board. Unfortunately, the Browns offense, put the Browns D in too many bad positions in this one, and they were unable to make the plays that they needed to make. Like the offense, the D was playing with a number of back-ups, as injuries were an issue for this unit down the stretch this season. Forcing the Steelers into three punts on their first three possessions was great, but as were the case this season, the offense was unable to help out the D, with just three 1st half points. After the two fumbles lost the Steelers started with the ball at the CLE 24 & CLE 27. The Browns D got to Big Ben for two sacks on the day, but unlike the first meeting this season in Cleveland (Steelers lost 5 fumbles, and threw 3 picks), the Browns were unable to force the Steelers into turning the ball over in this one. Some young guys got some quality PT and experience in this unit, and will look to get even better as their roll into the 2013 off-season.

Next Week:
Their is no "next week" for this current Browns squad. As once again, the Orange & Brown finished with a record of 5-11 and are now headed into another long off-season, to wait on the arrive of another Head Coach & coaching staff, as a number of notable players, might just have played their final game in the Orange & Brown.