The Cleveland Browns barely pulled out a victory over the Buffalo Bills after questionable play calls and more struggles on offense.
The Cleveland Browns can never make anything easy.
The team willed itself to a 19-16 victory Sunday over the Buffalo Bills. A win is a win and should be celebrated. Yet the Browns can still leave fans furious after a win over a 6-2 team.
Freddie Kitchens is on the same hot seat he was before the win. That is because of his play-calling that has fans screaming both at home and at FirstEnergy Stadium. The peak of the insanity came in the first quarter.
The Browns were already up 6-0 and took the ball down to Buffalo’s one-yard line. Just three feet to go and the Bills would have been in panic mode. The Browns proceeded to run eight(!) plays, failing to get the ball into the end zone. The Bills gifted the Browns with penalties and yet the nightmare continued.
The running plays are developing far too slowly and Kitchens counters those with empty sets where Baker Mayfield is throwing fade routes. That, or running for his life due to the lack of protection.
The second quarter saw the Browns get to the same position on the field while trailing 7-6. More nonsense ensued and Kitchens was stubborn enough to go for it on fourth down when it was clear the team was allergic to the end zone. Luckily, Chris Hubbard committed a false start and forced a field goal attempt.
That gave the Browns a 9-7 lead at halftime. Though it felt like a double-digit deficit.
Then came the second half. The Bills began with a punt and the Browns were pinned deep on their own eight-yard line. Kitchens had Mayfield back in the shotgun and had all the receivers running deep. It was the easiest safety the Bills have recorded in franchise history.
There is a lack of common sense with this team. Kitchens fails to understand that he doesn’t have Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback and everything is far too complex. When he took over the offense in 2018, Kitchens made it a point to run the plays that worked. He didn’t get cute and let Mayfield thrive. That has been absent for the entire 2019 season.
One more sequence in the game also had fans nearly keeling over in pain. It came on what ended up being the game-winning drive. The Browns were trailing 16-12 and got the ball with just over five minutes remaining.
The Browns were moving the ball until another vintage Kitchens call was made. Kareem Hunt, who was playing in his first game in a year, came flying in motion and Mayfield pitched him the ball. Hunt never touched it and the ball was scooped up for a fumble return. Touchdown. Game over. Season over.
The forward momentum of the ball saved the Browns as it was ruled an incomplete pass. The Browns ended up marching down the field and scoring, preventing disaster for another few days.
There is so much for Browns fans to be frustrated about it is hard to keep track. And all of these things are from one game that ended in a Browns victory.
It is clear that Kitchens is way in over his head and can’t do the simple things. He has lost situational awareness in his play-calling and is only hurting the development of Mayfield. If he wants to blame Mayfield for missing blitzers or certain defensive cues, the blame still falls on the head coach for putting a young quarterback in a bad situation.
The empty set on the eight-yard line that led to a safety was enough to show just how clueless Kitchens is as a head coach. The team also blew a timeout when the Bills were running out the clock at the end of the third quarter. Not the fourth, but the third! Total insanity.
The Browns are solid on defense but the offense has to succeed in spite of the disastrous calls from their supposed leader. It is hard to watch and a string of victories for the Browns is still tough to imagine even with the easy schedule.
The Browns aren’t going to face Josh Allen every week.
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