Falcons needed a win at the Cleveland Browns to back up three straight wins. They came in the game hoping to continue improving and prepare for a playoff run. The Browns came into the game with something to prove because of the season they are having. The Falcons got upset at FirstEnergy Stadium and fall to 4-5 on the season.
The defense took a step back from the their recent form in this game. The big story of the addition of Bruce Irving became very minuscule once the game began. The Browns were able to get their first 1st quarter touchdown of the season. The run defense could not stop Nick Chubb and even allowed the longest run in Browns history with a 92-yard touchdown run in the 3rd quarter.
Damontae Kazee, who has been a consistent leader on the defense, continued making plays with his fifth interception on the season. Other than that, the defense went back to missing tackles and not getting pressure on the quarterback. Baker Mayfield completed 17 out of 20 throws for 215 yards and had a dominating game over the Falcons defense.
Both sides of the ball struggled but the most surprising of the two was the offensive woes. The offense seemed to be the only hope for the Falcons while dealing with the injuries on the defense. With much credit to the Browns defense, in this game they could not get it going. The only touchdown, until the one towards the end of the game, came off the early game interception which was returned for 33 yards.
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After that touchdown, the offense could not get any production. Even in the 4th quarter, they could not get a touchdown inside the 1 yard line and on 4th down they turned the ball over on downs. The offense seemed to revert to the offense of the beginning of the year that had issues converting in the Red zone.
The Browns defense shut most of the receivers down for the majority of the game. Ryan’s main target at the start of the game was tight-end, Austin Hooper, because he had the best matchup in coverage. Hooper ended the game with 10 receptions for 56 yards with one touchdown. Hooper also had a could-be touchdown that was not challenged because the offense was rushing to get the points. The no challenge wasted a little more than a minute off the clock and could have helped the Falcons but honestly the game seemed out of reach by that point.
Julio Jones’s game was bitter sweet for him knowing how team oriented he has also been. Jones picked up his second touchdown of the season and broke the record of fastest receiver to 10,000 yards. He also had himself a 100+ yards day ending the game with 7 receptions for 107 yards. Though he had an amazing game on paper, fans know he would trade all of those stats for a win.
The Falcons were flying high after last week’s win and this game was disheartening for a team who definitely had an opportunity to control their own destiny. There is still a good amount of football in front of them but this performance does not give fans hope for the rest of the season. The Falcons will play the Dallas Cowboys at Mercedes Benz Stadium on November 18, 2018