The Cleveland Browns dropped their Week 16 game to the Green Bay Packers by the score of 24-22.
With the loss, the Browns are now 7-8 and in fourth place in the AFC North.
The Packers are 12-3 and continuing to advance their stronghold on the top seed in the NFC.
Here are three things we learned in the Browns’ loss to the Packers.
1. Turnovers Can Kill The Game
This is not new news.
However, the fact that Mayfield threw four interceptions, and the Packers capitalized on them is significant.
Three of the interceptions resulted in 21 points, and the fourth one iced the game.
RASUL DOUGLAS IS TOO CLUTCH.
— NFL (@NFL) December 26, 2021
The four turnover game reminded me of the Browns Vs. Ravens first game.
The Browns got four turnovers from the Ravens and did not score any points off of them.
That cost them the Ravens game.
Teams that can not only get the turnover but also score off of it are primed for long playoff runs.
2. Browns Have Not Competed Well Against Playoff Contenders
This one may not be revolutionary either.
Thinking back through the season, in addition to losing to the Packers, the Browns lost to the Cardinals, Chiefs, Chargers, and Patriots.
They only defeated two teams currently in the playoff picture; those are the Vikings and Bengals.
The Browns were in the Packers, Chiefs, and Chargers games but not in the Cardinals and Patriots games.
This team is inconsistent at best.
Mistakes against playoff bound teams cannot happen, or the consequences are bad.
Once again, that happened last night.
Only one stopping the Browns offense today has been Baker. Cant have that on the road against a good team when your playoff livelihood depends on it.
— Mike Protiva (@Teeves12) December 25, 2021
At some point, this team has to have a reckoning all across the board as to why it cannot play a clean game from the first through the fourth quarters.
3. Special Teams Is A Stopper
There will be plenty of discussion about Baker Mayfield and Kevin Stefanski.
However, there needs to be more discussion and focus on special teams.
The Browns cannot consistently rely on any kicker that puts on a Browns uniform.
The #Browns kicker carousel since 2013:
Billy Cundiff (2013-2014)
Travis Coons (2014-2015)
Patrick Murray (2016)
Cody Parkey (2016)
Zane Gonzalez (2017-2018)
Greg Joesph (2018)
Austin Seibert (2019-2020)
Cody Parkey, again (2020)
Chase Mclaughlin (2021-present)
Chris Naggar (Now)
— James (@Raider_Jim05) December 25, 2021
Kickoff and punt returns are inconsequential also.
At some point, this needs to be a priority because it is a recurring theme that goes back to Week 1.
There can be plenty of explanations for this team’s performance.
They can span from injury to COVID to bad officiating.
However, there are teams that deal with all of that and manage to win.
The Indianapolis Colts beat the Arizona Cardinals last night with a huge chunk of the offensive line that has blocked for potential MVP candidate Jonathan Taylor out due to injury or COVID-19.
They still managed to find a way to win.
The Browns roster is deep with talent, but the ability to find a way to win in less than ideal situations was something they had a better grasp on last season with an arguably less talented roster.
It really does not make sense.
Analytics aside and regardless of what happens in the next two weeks, GM Andrew Berry is going to have a long offseason full of difficult decisions to make to try and fix this team for 2022.