For the second consecutive week the Cleveland Browns had a golden opportunity to get their first victory since Christmas Eve 2016. It’s now been 631 days since the last win. Despite holding a 12-3 lead in the second half, the Browns found another way to lose an NFL football game. Here is the good, bad and ugly for the Browns 21-18 loss to the New Orleans Saints.
The Browns defense picked up two more takeaways on Sunday. That’s eight in two games. Cleveland had only 13 takeaways in all of 2017. The defense also held the duo of Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara in check. Both Brees and Kamara made some plays but neither put up the video game numbers some people were expecting.
One guy who would get a game ball for his performance is defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi. The two sacks he recorded on Drew Brees were huge. A third Ogunjobi sack was taken away due to a penalty by defensive back Derrick Kindred. In addition to the pair of sacks, Ogunjobi recorded four solo tackles.
With the Josh Gordon era over in Cleveland, rookie Antonio Callaway stepped up in his second regular season game. Callaway led the Browns with 81 receiving yards on three catches. The third and final catch went for a 47-yard touchdown and tied the game at 18 in the final two minutes. Callaway has a huge opportunity to be the number two wide receiver due to the impending good-bye of Gordon. Callaway passes the first test.
Let me start by saying that this was a better performance by Tyrod Taylor in comparison to week one. On the other hand, his one turnover came at a very bad time. The fourth quarter interception led to the go-ahead touchdown for the Saints. Taylor may not turn the ball over a lot, but when he does it’s at critical moments in the game. Taylor showed the ability to throw the deep ball with the 47-yard touchdown to Callaway. If he shows more of his arm and less of his legs, the Baker Mayfield talk will calm down a bit.
Does the phrase idiot kicker ring a bell? That’s what crossed my mind after Zane Gonzalez missed his fourth kick of the second half, the 52-yard game tying attempt in the final seconds. Gonzalez missed both of his extra point attempts in addition to both his field goal attempts in the second half. If Gonzalez was kicking in the conditions from week one, it’s still not good. However, kicking inside of a climate controlled dome stadium and missing four straight kicks is inexcusable. An already short week has just become even more busy for the Browns. They have to take a look at free agent kickers. Perhaps a change will be made for Thursday night’s game against the New York Jets.
Scott Piker is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Browns. So follow him on twitter @ScottPikerSport