The Browns have serious issues.
The team lost its third in a row to Kansas City in embarrassing fashion, 41-20, Sunday. The Chiefs actually scored more on Butch Davis' rebuilt defense in 2003 than it scored in the "Helmet Game" of 2002.
Worst of all, Kansas City converted 12-of-16 third downs -- the most by a Kansas City team since the league started keeping the statistic in 1972.
The Browns now have lost to San Diego, New England and Kansas City, the
confidence level is low and the team is starting to fracture.
The team talks positively about the season not being over, but there definitely are problems that may be too insurmountable to overcome the final seven games.
Here's the Browns report card against the Chiefs:
PASSING OFFENSE: D
Dink, dink, dink. The Browns continue to be baffled by basic coverages. Cover two gave the Browns fits the first half of the season, the Chiefs' vanilla coverage gave them fits in the game. Kelly Holcomb threw for just 149 yards in 27 tries, which isn't going to win many games.
RUSHING OFFENSE: C-minus
In William Green's absence the Browns turned to James Jackson, who ran hard and ran well. But he had just 17 carries due to the fact Kansas City kept the ball and the Browns fell behind. This game was close at one point, but it was never close long enough for the running game to be a factor.
RUSH DEFENSE: C-minus
Priest Holmes has torched a lot of defenses, and the Browns can join the club. Holmes' 92 yards on 19 carries were for a tidy 4.8-yard average and two touchdowns. The Chiefs ran in twice inside the 20, spoiling the record of the NFL's best red zone defense going into the game.
PASS DEFENSE: F
Trent Green found receivers open time and again. Rarely were the Browns near receivers, and rarely did the Browns rush get to Green without a blitz. Green's 119 rating and 368 yards passing were a fair reflection of the way the Chiefs passing game produced.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C
Phil Dawson and Chris Gardocki tried to kick the ball away from Dante Hall, and did fairly well. But Hall proved why he's the most elusive returner in the league when he broke a big return for 77 yards late in the first half. That return came with the score 21-17 Chiefs. From that point, Kansas City outscored the Browns 20-3.
Butch Davis said he went into the game thinking defensive turnovers would help the Browns win a 24-20 game. He also said that he was proud of the effort and heart of his team, and it would win games this season. These statements were reminiscent of those made by Chris Palmer that got him fired after the 2000 season. The Browns should be well past this kind of thing in year three of the Butch Davis era.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't think I have to find out. I know what these guys are made of." -- Coach Butch Davis, supporting his players when asked if the final seven games of the season would show him what kind of character the team has.