On Sunday the Cleveland Browns took down the Bengals, the worst team in the National Football League, but it wasn’t easy.
The team started slow, giving the impression that they overlooked their 1-11 in-state rivals.
Eventually, the offense got going, the defense got stops and the Browns were able to triumph over the Bengals.
Despite the victory, many questions about this Cleveland Browns team loom large over the coaching staff and the players.
What is going on with the play calling?
The Browns ran the ball just six times in the first half against the league’s worst rushing defense despite having the league’s most prolific combination of running backs in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt waiting to carry the ball.
Apparently, someone got in the ear of Freddie Kitchens at halftime because the Browns opening drive out of the half featured 5 runs out of six plays on the way to a Browns’ touchdown.
The drive featured a 57-yard carry from Chubb and a 3-yard TD plunge for Hunt.
Good things happen when you run the ball. #Browns 🤷🏼♂️
— Dustin Fox (@DustinFox37) December 8, 2019
Every week it’s evident that the team’s offense needs to flow through the running game, but every game Kitchens goes out with the intent on showing how smart and creative he is and the offense pays for it.
Is it possible he feels the pressure of the offseason acquisition of Odell Beckham Jr?
What about Baker Mayfield as the #1 pick to put out a high flying air attack?
That’s just not who this team is, despite the weapons.
Is Mayfield improving under Freddie Kitchens?
With the exception of a brief run of games in the middle of the season, Baker Mayfield has struggled with accuracy and turnovers throughout his second season.
Over the past two seasons, he is near the top of the list of NFL quarterbacks with multiple interception games with 8.
While the first of Mayfield’s charged interceptions should be questioned, the second should not.
For much of this football game, Baker was overthrowing or just flat out missing his receivers.
This was ruled a catch & fumble on the field and then changed to an interception after the officials reviewed it. Njoku is clearly laying on his back (down) when the defender rips the ball from his hands.
— Roberto Shenanigans (@Rob_Shenanigans) December 8, 2019
He’s a quarterback who has been known for being tremendously accurate.
11-24 for 192 yards isn’t getting it done for a team who expected to be in the playoffs come January.
Is Odell Beckham Jr. a good fit for this team?
Anyone who has been paying attention to the Browns this year will know that the OBJ experiment has not generated nearly the results that the fanfare preseason predicted.
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) December 8, 2019
When asked about this Odell simply refused to answer the question, which is about a concrete a statement as actually just coming out and saying it’s true.
Odell Beckham Jr. declined to answer any questions related to @JayGlazer report he wants out of Cleveland
— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) December 8, 2019
Whether he wants to leave or not, some Browns fans are left wondering if the team should trade him whether he wants to be in Cleveland or not.
All season long Kitchens, Mayfield and Beckham have not been on the same page.
Whether that is the fault of the play calling, the injury that Odell has been carrying, or the players on the field, the team has had 13 games to get it figured out and they haven’t.
This game was no different.
Beckham caught 2 passes for 39 yards on 5 targets against a 1-win team with nothing to play for.
If they can’t figure out how to use OBJ, then maybe the best thing to do is get some assets for him.
Does this win show fans anything about the team?
While it doesn’t look likely the Browns will make the playoffs, a .500 record is still possible for a franchise that has only accomplished that feat twice in the last 20 years.
For a team that was touted as a Super Bowl favorite by many in the national media, this achievement should be considered a disappointment.
Maybe it was a sluggish, lackluster performance but they got the job done.
One of the problems with this team is that they lack a winning culture, and in seasons passed this team would have folded under the pressure and lost an embarrassing game to a team likely to end up with the number 1 pick in the 2020 draft.
There’s only one way to bring a winning culture to a team, and that’s by winning football games.
The Browns could have quit on Sunday, but this win wasn’t about this season.
It was about next season and the season after.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) December 8, 2019
The Browns need to build a winning culture and mentality and they took a step towards that Sunday by winning a game when they weren’t at their best.