Today’s home game against the resurgent Seattle Seahawks is a make-or-break game for the Browns. Although the season is only five games old, the Browns are in a sickeningly familiar position — in last place in their division, losing contact with the leading teams, struggling to win games at home, and playing uninspired and uninspiring football.
The Browns are a team that needs to find itself. Offensively, they seem to have no identity and no soul. Are they a running team, or a West Coast offense passing team? Is Peyton Hillis hurt, or in the coach’s doghouse for some reason? Quarterback Colt McCoy doesn’t seem to be picking up the new offense, and the Browns’ wide receivers have been close to invisible. The Browns clearly don’t have a big-play threat, so why not get back to using Hillis as the every-down back and focusing on running the ball with a few passes mixed in? They’ve used that scheme before with some success, and the pounding seems to wear down defenses until Hillis breaks a big run.
Defensively, the Browns have been pretty good — but any defense gets gassed, and then gashed, if they are on the field virtually every down. If the Browns could score on offense, the defense could take a few more chances and, perhaps, become a bit more of a big-play unit. It’s hard to do that, however, when it looks like any score you give up will be insurmountable for your inept offense.
Already the Browns are two full games behind the Ravens, and a game and a half behind both the Steelers and the Bengals. Another loss today, and the Browns may as well hang it up for the season — and it’s not even the end of October.
Edited to Add: Well, it was brutal to watch, but the Browns got it done, 6-3. Credit the defense and Phil Dawson’s long-distance accuracy for the win and keeping the Browns (slightly) in contention.