Browns-Bills: Report Card

NFL Scout's report card on last Sunday's game. It ain't pretty.

PASSING OFFENSE: F -- This looked like the bleakest days of the expansion Browns when Spergon Wynn was the quarterback. A week after Luke McCown threw for 277 yards against New England, the rookie quarterback came crashing to earth. He was sacked almost as often (seven times) as he completed passes (eight). Coach Terry Robiskie criticized him for improper reads and forcing throws (two interceptions), and that's true. But the offensive line was so awful that even a polished veteran would have been rattled. The line was playing several overmatched young players, but even left tackle Ross Verba was beaten twice for sacks. It's hard to complete passes when the defenders swarm the quarterback almost at will. McCown seldom had time to even look at receivers.

RUSHING OFFENSE: F -- The Browns needed to get a running game going to relieve the pressure on McCown. They never came close to doing that. William Green had little running room and did nothing to create something out of nothing. He gained 5 yards in 11 carries. His season has rapidly deteriorated. He also had another fumble. Robiskie gave Green one more series after that turnover before giving rookie Adimchinobe Echemandu a chance. On Echemandu's first carry, he fumbled. As it was in the passing game, the line was overmatched. They repeatedly got pushed back by the Bills' linemen.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- The one area that wasn't embarrassing. The Browns' pass defense held Buffalo to only 100 yards passing on 12-of-27 passing by Drew Bledsoe. Cleveland sacked the immobile Bledsoe only once, but they got decent pressure on him. Lewis Sanders had a nice interception for the second straight week, and Anthony Henry did a solid job on Eric Moulds (three catches for 38 yards).

RUSH DEFENSE: D -- The Browns gave up 200 yards rushing for the third straight game. The toll of being on the field for most of the game has caught up to the Browns. Willis McGahee ran 27 times for 105 yards. Wide receiver Lee Evans took a reverse and ran 48 yards. A bright spot for the Browns was the play of defensive tackle Gerard Warren, who caused a fumble and finally showed signs of being a disruptive player. The defensive line did an OK job, but the linebackers were nearly invisible.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Phil Dawson missed a 45-yard field goal wide right, only his third miss of the season. Derrick Frost did a passable job in difficult conditions. The return units didn't do much, though Richard Alston had a 35-yard kickoff return. The coverage units were solid. Jonathan Smith had a 26-yard punt return, but gained nothing on his other two returns. Cleveland forced a fumble by Nate Clements on a punt return.

COACHING: D -- Robiskie is in an impossible position. The Browns are dispirited and beaten physically as well as mentally. Lombardi wouldn't win with this team. But results matter, and the Browns have been outscored 79-22 since Butch Davis quit. The players like and respect Robiskie and want him to have a shot at keeping the job for next season. They're doing nothing to advance his cause.

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