Browns-Bengals Report Card

The grades are in on the Browns' latest "effort", and let's just say they don't make the team look like the next Norman Einstein...

PASSING OFFENSE: F -- The Browns reverted to early-season form, with poor pass protection, dropped passes, bad passes and inept offense in the loss to Cincinnati. Brady Quinn struggled again, with his throws, his reads and his accuracy. He said the Bengals blitz disrupted the offense, but NFL teams blitz and it's up to the offense to get things done despite it. After completing a nice 24-yard pass down the hashmark in the first quarter, Quinn threw for 76 yards the rest of the game. He also was the team's second-leading receiver after he caught a pass from Josh Cribbs on a trick play. Neither is preferable.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- Not much was accomplished here. Jamal Lewis led the Browns with 40 yards, but had a 3.6-yard average per carry. Brady Quinn, the quarterback, was second with 10 yards, thanks to a nine-yard run for a touchdown on a quarterback draw. No team that runs for 58 yards is going to win often in the NFL. The Browns proved that on Sunday.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- The Browns did a decent job with Carson Palmer and the Bengals passing game, limiting Palmer to 110 yards, one touchdown and no plays longer than 20 yards. This was a positive. The negative was the Bengals didn't need to throw the ball because they ran it so well.

RUSH DEFENSE: F -- A season-long concern remained a concern after loss number 10. Cincinnati ran for 210 yards, 107 from Larry Johnson, who was cast off by Kansas City earlier this season. The Bengals did it with only one run longer than 20 yards, and that was 21. Which means the Bengals simply ground out the yardage play after play after play. The Browns started the season broadcasting to the world that they would stop the run this season. They haven't.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- The special teams did not cause many problems, but neither did they provide much help. This was a close game when a Josh Cribbs return could have made a difference. He never got one. In fact, Cribbs had one of his most blasé games of the season, averaging just 19 yards on two kickoff returns and not returning a single punt. The Browns are not good enough to survive when their special teams do not contribute. They did not contribute against Cincinnati.

COACHING: D -- It would have been nice to see the Browns follow a decent performance against Detroit with a decent performance against Cincinnati. But the Browns didn't do that. They played OK defense, poor offense and invisible special teams. They tried some things, like a Cribbs-to-Brady Quinn pass, but they also punted on some fourth downs in the fourth quarter when it seemed like a risk was worth taking. The Browns are still trying. They give great effort. They have not folded the tents. But after 11 games it's (still) not coming together.

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