Browns-Raiders: Report Card

The Browns grade for run defense could be, um, somewhat improved.

The Browns defense has opposing teams on the run.


The Browns run defense has been non-existent this season, and it's the main reason Cleveland lost in Oakland on Sunday.

The Raiders ran for 186 yards and had a nine-minute drive in the third quarter that included 13 runs. This season, the Browns have had three backs top 100 yards in three games.

"That's par for the course around here," coach Romeo Crennel said with disgust in every word.

Lamont Jordan was the latest to go over the 100-yard mark. He gained 121 on 29 carries in Oakland's win. He also was able to ramble 27 yards on a third-and-23 screen pass.

In three games, the Browns have given up 529 yards rushing, an average of 176 yards per game. The worst season in team history for run defense came in the expansion season of 1999, when the Browns gave up 171 yards per game.

That means the Browns are on a record pace -- but this is a record no team ever wants to set.


Browns players reacted with some anger to coach Romeo Crennel saying his team was guilty of "relaxing" on the attempted game-winning kick.

Crennel was not happy with his team's effort throughout the game. Crennel said the way the team played, he figured it relaxed while blocking for the field goal.

"No way I'm relaxing on the final play of the game," guard Seth McKinney said.


--QB Derek Anderson slipped in the follow-up to his big game against Cincinnati. Anderson forced some throws and threw two first-half interceptions that cost the Browns badly. Though Anderson was able to mount a last-minute drive that put the Browns in position for a game-winning field goal, he did not have a good game.

--RB Jamal Lewis followed a 200-yard game with 56 yards on 15 carries against the Raiders. Lewis ran hard, but there were few holes and few yards to be gained. The Browns running game did little to help the offense.

--TE Kellen Winslow had an outstanding game, with two huge catches on the Browns final drive. Winslow is being used as both a tight end and as the team's third wideout in certain situations.

--LB Andra Davis was short and angry after the game, no doubt a result of the loss and the team's struggle against the running game. If the Browns don't start stopping the other team's running game, they will have a hard time winning games.


PASSING OFFENSE: C -- Derek Anderson played very poorly in the first half, and by the time he got the offense moving, it was just about too late. Anderson had two bad interceptions on poor reads, and forced the ball several other times, according to his coach. He was able to move the Browns from their 8-yard line to the 23 in the final seconds, but the effort was too little too late.

-- Not much to be had here. The Browns didn't abandon the run, but found themselves behind 16-0 in the first half and 26-17 in the second half. That led to more throws and a poor effort in the running game with Jamal Lewis averaging less than four yards per carry.

PASS DEFENSE: D -- Two key breakdowns hurt the Browns badly. On the first, rookie Eric Wright bit on a play-action fake on third-and-inches and Oakland was able to complete a 41-yard touchdown pass. On the second, the Browns defenders were invisible as Oakland was able to turn a third-and-23 into a 27-yard gain on a screen pass. Browns defenders called out to watch for the screen prior to the play, but still couldn't stop it -- a play that was typical of the team's effort.

-- Oakland was the third team to rampage through the Browns defense on the ground. At one point, the Raiders ran the ball 13 times in a nine-minute touchdown drive. The Browns have not stopped the run since they were granted an expansion team in 1999, and it appears it may take an act of Roger Goodell for them to stop the run this year.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Joshua Cribbs' touchdown return on a kickoff got the Browns going offensively, but the field-goal unit could not stop the Raiders rush on a game-winning attempt. Cribbs continues to be a threat every time he touches the ball, but having a last-second kick blocked is a gut-wrenching way to lose a game.

COACHING: C -- Romeo Crennel was harder on his team after this loss than he's ever been. He said the team played poor football, relaxed on the last field goal and sarcastically said a back gaining 100 yards on the Browns is "par for the course." The anger seemed to indicate that Crennel feels let down by his team. This is a coach who consistently stands up for his players and backs them, but they followed a win with a poor effort. Problem is that it's the coach's job to ensure the team plays well, so Crennel could have easily been criticizing himself with his words.

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