Browns Report Card vs. Chargers
PASSING OFFENSE: C-minus -- Tim Couch threw two very bad
interceptions, throws that a fifth-year player with an understanding of the
team's offense should not make. The first was returned for a touchdown and the
second looked like the same throw into the same coverage. Kelly Holcomb came
in and moved the team, but it was not enough to overcome Couch's turnovers and
poor decisions on third downs, where the Browns were 2-for-14.
RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- The Browns never got anything going, which surely was a result of the team's battered offensive line. Four of the five linemen were backups, with only Ryan Tucker in his usual spot. That makes it tough to run the ball.
PASS DEFENSE: C -- Drew Brees threw for an unimpressive 74 yards, but he didn't need to throw with Tomlinson running from Cleveland to San Diego all day long. The Chargers passed just enough to win the game, something the Browns didn't do.
RUSH DEFENSE: F -- LaDainian Tomlinson chewed up the Browns' rush defense. At times this season, this element of the team's defense has been solid. But when it gives, it collapses. Tomlinson rushed for 200 yards. Combine that with Jamal Lewis' 295 and two backs ran for 495 yards against the Browns defense. Stats like that ought to render moot the old argument that, "If we hadn't played those two backs we'd have a good rush defense."
SPECIAL TEAMS: F -- Penalties wiped out big returns, Phil Dawson missed a field goal and Eric Parker returned a punt 49 yards. This is not the kind of play Butch Davis wants from these units.
COACHING: F -- Twice this season the Browns have played winless teams at home (Cincinnati and San Diego). Cleveland lost both games. Somehow Butch Davis has to get his team to understand that every game counts, not just the ones that seem important.
The Browns disappointed their home fans one more time in losing to San Diego, and the up-and-down nature of the team has to be maddening to the folks who support the team.
Butch Davis expressed frustration with the team's inconsistency, for good reason.
This Browns team looked so good in beating Pittsburgh on the road. But they also lost at home to two winless teams -- Cincinnati and San Diego.
Cleveland played good defense against San Francisco and Indianapolis, but gave up more than 500 yards rushing to Baltimore and San Diego.
From one week to the next, fans don't know what they will get from the Browns. And it makes it difficult to follow the team.
"We're trying to find an identity," Davis said. "And we're trying to find consistency."