Browns-Patriots: Report Card

NFL Scout's take on the Browns performance last Sunday

PASSING OFFENSE: B-minus -- Under the circumstances, throwing for 277 yards against the Patriots has to be considered a success. Rookie Luke McCown was making his starting debut against a Bill Belichick defense, and that could have been a recipe for disaster. McCown made his share of his mistakes, including throwing two interceptions, but he didn't look flustered. He directed a touchdown drive in a two-minute drill and then deftly avoided the rush, rolled out and threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Bryant in the fourth quarter. McCown completed 20-of-34 passes and was the victim of a few drops. Antonio Bryant had a couple of those drops, but he also had another big statistical day, catching seven balls for 115 yards.

RUSHING OFFENSE: F -- William Green had a chance to stake a claim to the running-back job with Lee Suggs out. Instead, he gained only 15 yards in 12 carries. The line bears much of the responsibility. New England confused the reshuffled line with stunts and unexpected alignments. But Green simply doesn't have the knack that Suggs does for making something out of nothing. After Green's fumble that the Patriots returned for a touchdown, Robiskie benched him for rookie Adimchinobe Echemandu. Echemandu, recently off the PUP list, carried three times for 12 yards.

PASS DEFENSE: C -- The Patriots didn't need to throw much, but the Browns were seldom able to stop them in crucial times. The Browns had a good pass rush early, but it faded later. With Daylon McCutcheon and backup Michael Lehan out, Lewis Sanders got his first start of the season at cornerback and had his ups and downs. He made a nice play to intercept a Tom Brady pass, but was later called for pass interference and was beaten deep on a touchdown pass to David Givens.

RUSH DEFENSE: F -- On New England's first play of the game, Corey Dillon ran through the middle of the Browns defense for 21 yards. That was the longest run of the day for the Patriots, but they continued to run effectively all game. The Patriots ran 50 times for 225 yards. Dillon ran for 100 yards on only 18 carries. Kevin Faulk added 87 yards on 13 carries. The Browns' rushing defense would have been even worse if the Patriots hadn't played third-stringer Cedric Cobbs most of the second half. He had 16 carries for 29 yards. If the Browns were to have any chance of hanging with New England, they had to stuff the run. They didn't come close.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- Bethel Johnson returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown. Not a good way to start the Terry Robiskie era. Other than that play, special teams weren't much of a factor. Phil Dawson didn't attempt a field goal. Derrick Frost had an average day, kicking four times for a 36.8-yard average. The punt coverage unit allowed only five yards in three attempts.

COACHING: B -- Robiskie didn't exactly step into an enviable position. He took over for Butch Davis on Tuesday, the day coaches formulate the game plan. Given the turmoil of the week, the coaches have to be given credit for the fact the Browns weren't in disarray on the field. The delay-of-game penalties and burned timeouts because of play-clock issues didn't crop up. The game plan did a good job of using McCown's strengths while not asking him to do too much. It would have taken a remarkable coaching job and a lot of Patriots mistakes for the Browns to make the game close, and New England is too solid for that to happen.

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