CLEVELAND — In a loss there is plenty of blame to go around.
Yes, the referees made questionable calls all game long.
Was that really pass interference on Joe Haden in the first quarter?
Was that really a catch by Greg Little down the sidelines in the fourth quarter?
Was that really roughing the passer by Quentin Groves on Matt Stafford in the fourth quarter?
Should the Browns have won this game?
Unfortunately, we found out Sunday that Brandon Weeden is not only not a good quarterback, but he can't even be a game manager. He can't rise to the occasion. And his signature play is now a left-handed shot-put of a throw that was intercepted and essentially sealed the victory for the Detroit Lions.
By now, either you saw the play live or after it was turned into a GIF for the enjoyment of all of the Internet.
Instead of another week of a first-place team, the Browns have returned to a laughing stock.
"Is it possible this is a capable NFL team that is a quarterback away from actually being good?"
That was a text I received in the first half from a Browns fan and friend. And this was when Weeden was playing OK.
It all looked so positive. The Browns were ahead 10 points at halftime and had the ball first to start the second half. In the first 30 minutes of play, the Browns had 250 yards to the Detroit Lions' 109.
But, instead of the Browns continuing to score and putting the game out of reach the offense regressed. Six yards and zero first downs in the third quarter. As a result, the momentum began sliding in Detroit's favor and the lead began to slip. 17-7 became 17-14 became 21-17 became 24-17.
And then the Interception that made Weeden an Internet sensation happened. 31-17.
"What was Brandon Weeden thinking?"
Yes, I'm talking about the interception, but it is more than that. After the Browns Finally picked up their first first down of the second half, a 14-yard slant to Josh Gordon, Weeden was called for intentional grounding the very next play. That was followed by a false start for a second and 25. It killed the first positive play the Browns offense had since the second quarter.
Throughout the game Weeden again held the ball too long. He overthrew open receivers. His first pick was a bad decision and throw. Thankfully it didn't lead to any points for the Lions. Somehow Weeden led this team to 17 first-half points, but when the team needed him to make a play, he simply could not.
Unfortunately, as long as Brandon Weeden does those aforementioned Brandon Weeden things, this team is a capable NFL quarterback away from actually being good. We're not asking for Pro-Bowl caliber, either. Brian Hoyer was that game-manager type guy, but he's done for the season.
The toughest decision these Browns need to make is who will be the quarterback for these next 10 games. It can't be Brandon Weeden.
The job description is easy. Throw the ball accurately and on time to Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron. Sprinkle in some hand offs to the team's running backs and don't turn the ball over. From there, allow the defense to do its job.
Yes, quarterbacks get too much praise when a team wins or too much blame when a team loses.
Not this time.
This was on Brandon Weeden.