|Team||1st Quarter||2nd Quarter||3rd Quarter||4th Quarter||Final|
- CHI: Robbie Gould, 30-yard field goal
- CLE: Isaiah Crowell 4-yard TD run
- CHI: Ka’Deem Carey 1-yard TD run (Missed PAT)
- CHI: Robbie Gould, 43-yard field goal
- CHI: Robbie Gould, 27-yard field goal
- CHI: Jordan Howard 16-yard TD run (Blocked PAT)
|Team||Passing Leader||Rushing Leader||Receiving Leader||Tackles Leader|
|Chicago||Brian Hoyer: 12-16, 112 yards||Jordan Howard: 16 carries, 107 yards, TD||Kevin White: 4 receptions, 57 yards||Christian Jones: 10 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 TFL|
|Cleveland||Josh McCown: 8-15, 73 yards, INT||Jahwan Edwards: 4 carries, 34 yards||Josh Gordon: 3 receptions, 29 yards||Pierre Desir: 6 tackles|
It has long been tradition not to play most of the first string in the final preseason game before the regular season starts. However, the Cleveland Browns broke tradition on Thursday night against the Chicago Bears as they wanted to get more problems worked out and reps for those that hadn’t played as much this preseason.
The Browns first team offense only scored one touchdown, but there was some obvious improvement shown. Robert Griffin III only played the first quarter, yet he played fairly well in the game as he has the entire preseason. The running game seemed to improve somewhat as the offensive line helped running back Isaiah Crowell get his first rushing touchdown of the preseason. Through the air, the Browns definitely spread the ball around helping different wide receivers showcase their talents in the hopes of making the team. All in all, Cleveland had 14 different players make at least one catch for the team.
On the defensive side of the ball, the first team did fairly well by holding the Bears to just a field goal in the first quarter, thanks to rookie Carl Nassib swatting a pass from Brian Hoyer on 3rd and short. They also only allowed one touchdown in the second quarter as well as another field goal by Robbie Gould.
The Bears dominated the second half of the ball game as they continued to put together good drives. Josh McCown did alright for the Browns putting up some average numbers while leading the team in passing. Rookie quarterback Cody Kessler played most of the second half and he did okay going 10-17, but for only 40 yards. The Bears continually pressured Kessler and put a lot of hits on the young QB, including three sacks.
The player who stood out the most for Chicago on offense was running back Jordan Howard, who averaged 6.7 yards/carry on the night. He continually gained extra yards after contact as he shredded the Browns second team defense, even netting himself the final score of the game on his longest run of the night.
It will be very interesting to see who makes the Browns 53-man roster and who gets cut. With a lot of young talent, it’s hard to say at this point who will make the team. Throughout the preseason, the Browns have shown that they have great promise; however, I would advise Cleveland fans not to expect much out of this year. I believe this team is capable of winning more games than they did last year (when they went 3-13), but having the ability and actually doing are two separate things.
The offense so far has looked fairly good, but there is still some room to improve the fluidity of Hue Jackson’s system. The run blocking needs to get better in order for the team to be a powerful running offense, and the young receivers need to improve on their route running and studying the playbook. The miscommunication we have seen during the preseason definitely needs to be reduced.
On the defensive side of the ball, there is a lot of work that needs to be done. Carl Nassib has shown great promise, and rookie Emmanuel Ogbah will need to continue to get better and become an efficient pass rusher with the departure of Paul Kruger.
Overall, the Browns pass rush has looked very good, but their rush defense has not. Additionally, the Browns’ corners have been burnt too often on plays that yield 10-15 yard receptions. While they haven’t been burnt on too many long balls, their coverage still needs to get better. During the preseason the Browns’ defense have been outscored 92-44 and have allowed 1,497 yards of offense compared to their 856 yards of offense. While their offense still needs to put up more points, their defense needs to drastically halt opponents’ drives.
Overall, I would say this Browns team is capable of winning 4-6 games if their defense improves and their offense becomes more succinct. But objectively speaking, this team will likely win between 1-3 games and will be in the running for the #1 overall 2017 NFL Draft Pick. Only time will tell if my predictions will come true or not. But we will start finding out next week.
Next Week: The Cleveland Browns will play at the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, September 11th at 1 p.m. on CBS, and the Chicago Bears will play at the Houston Texans on Sunday, September 11th at 1 p.m. on FOX in the first week of the NFL regular season.
Leave a comment about what you thought about how either team looked during the preseason: