Browns in shock, unable to explain his terrible trip to Miami

Cleveland Browns quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett (7) and Joshua Dobbs (15) enter the field before the start of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, at Miami Gardens, in Florida (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Cleveland Browns quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett (7) and Joshua Dobbs (15) enter the field before the start of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, at Miami Gardens, in Florida (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

PA

The Cleveland Browns followed their goodbye by taking a second straight week off.

Unable to build momentum from their best performance this season, they came back from the break to be crushed on Sunday by the Miami Dolphins, who sparked a 39-17 thrashing that raised more questions about effort, the personnel, plans and the future of the Browns. .

There are problems everywhere, but especially for a defense that was supposed to be the strength of the team and which turned out to be a glaring weakness.

One of the highest-rated passing teams in the NFL, the Dolphins ranked 28th in rushing and sinking it down Cleveland’s throat, rushing in for 195 yards. The Browns struggled to get out of blocks, missed tackles and were completely overwhelmed from the start.

Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney and the rest of Cleveland’s defensive front barely got their hands on Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who, given the luxury of time and space, delivered accurate strikes to his group of receivers at the foot of the fleet.

It was so easy. Too easy.

The Browns were able to slow down the Dolphins’ dynamic receiving duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, but Miami’s other playmakers stepped up.

It was another case of one step forward, two back for Cleveland’s defense, which was only consistent by being inconsistent. There had been positive signs of progress after a dominating game against Cincinnati on Halloween.

Those are now gone and the already dim playoff hopes are quickly fading.

“I didn’t expect it, but it’s the NFL and any Sunday you can go in there and not run,” said safety John Johnson III. “They get paid too, so it’s difficult.”

Coach Kevin Stefanski offered no response Monday during his Zoom call. He claims he can’t explain why the Browns can’t pull themselves together or why his team can’t string together two solid games in a row.

While outside critics have called for defensive coordinator Joe Woods to be fired for much of the season, Stefanski said the blame is widespread.

“Every coach, myself, we all have to come up with a better plan when you’re beaten like we’ve been beaten,” he said. “I don’t think any of us have coached good enough and I don’t think any of us have played well enough when you get that result. It’s the truth. We all have to be better .”

The Browns were hoping to be in a position to make a playoff push when quarterback Deshaun Watson returns from his 11-game suspension (he was cleared to practice on Monday) and plays next month.

That seems unlikely now, and unless the Browns sort things out soon, Watson’s six-game stay to finish the season will be nothing more than a chance for him to knock off some rust to get himself going. prepare for next year.

“We have to look in the mirror as a group and right the ship and get things done,” Johnson said. “We’re running out of time. We’re past the midpoint now, so it’s time to step up.”

It may be too late.

WHAT WORKS

Not enough. Even Cleveland’s reliable running game spent most of Sunday cringing. Other than a solid opening drive, the offense spat and a costly fumble from reliable Nick Chubb sabotaged a potential scoring chance when the Browns had just three points.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

The defensive interior looks inferior. Miami’s offensive line has opened up huge lanes of traffic. In fairness, the Browns have lost three linebackers to injury, but there’s an alarming lack of depth and experience in the front seven that was tested on a hot day in South Florida. .

STORE

Wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones had a season-high 99 yards on five catches. It was his fourth straight game with at least 70 yards and his sixth straight with 50 or more yards.

The third-year wide’s growth as a point guard is an encouraging sign with Watson’s return on the horizon.

SOLD OUT

Cleveland’s offensive line rarely looks ordinary. The Dolphins made it look less than that.

In addition to ongoing playing issues, the Browns struggled to protect Jacoby Brissett, who was sacked three times and under pressure from Bradley Chubb and Co. almost every time he backed down.

INJURIES

Pro Bowl right guard Wyatt Teller had to be taken out in the first half due to a calf injury that kept him out of the previous two games. … Stefanski offered no updates on tackles Jack Conklin (foot) or Jedrick Wills Jr. (ankle). … Linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (knee) and tight end David Njoku (ankle) both missed their second straight game.

KEY NUMBER

Zero – The Browns didn’t force the Dolphins to pitch. Miami hadn’t had that since 2003.

AND AFTER

A trip to Buffalo to face a tangy Bills team following an overtime loss Sunday at home. If the Browns want to salvage their season, they’ll have to do it on the road with five of their last eight games away from Cleveland.

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Naomi C. Amerson