KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Here are my final thoughts from the Browns’ 23-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium Sunday:
>>Nothing feels good about a loss. And pointing out the positives doesn’t do a whole lot to ease the sting, especially if there are many to find. Doing so, in fact, can make the defeat hurt even more because you’re dwelling on what might have been. However, there were a whole lot of positives in this game worth noting, beginning with the fact the Browns pushed the NFL’s lone unbeaten team to the brink in as loud and hostile an environment as any in the league. Therefore, there were a lot of “might-have-beens.” If only
>>The Browns’ offensive line did a remarkable job of keeping Campbell upright against the NFL’s No. 1 sacking defense. Campbell was only sacked once, and that didn’t come until early in the fourth quarter. Let’s first give credit to the blockers for their excellent work against the Chiefs’ extremely quick, athletic, and talented defensive front. With the exception of two false-start penalties on tackle
>>I never thought the Browns would have a whole lot of success running the ball this season, with or without Trent Richardson. But I didn’t think they would ever have the problems moving the ball on the ground that they had in the first half, when their rushing total was an embarrassing minus-one yard. Eventually, the Browns began finding some running success in the second half, as the entire offense began getting into its collective groove. But the offense’s inability to get things going much sooner ultimately did the Browns in.
>>Let’s start with the good from the Browns’ defense. Coordinator Ray Horton promised that his group would play better and be more aggressive, and the result was a six-sack performance. The Browns’ wide variety of blitz packages gave the Chiefs’ offensive line trouble as the game wore on. Safety T.J. Ward even got in on the sack fest. The defense also showed dramatic improvement in a trouble spot, getting off the field on third down, in the second half.
>>Now, for the bad from the Browns’ defensive effort. Smith was sacked only once in the first half and generally had plenty of time to operate in the pocket … when he wasn’t showing off his tremendous speed (six runs for 40 yards). The Browns’ defense also allowed Smith to have far too much success throwing to running backs Jamaal Charles and Dexter McCluster, who combined for 12 receptions for 113 yards. McCluster led all receivers with seven catches for 67 yards, an average of 9.6 yards per catch, and a touchdown. Charles averaged 9.2 yards per reception. “They caught us in zone coverages a couple of times on the screens where guys were deep in their zones and they’d run the screens and they’ve got blockers in front,” Ward said. “So it’s hard to make a play when you have three blockers and two guys there to catch the ball. And other times we were in man and (Smith) would find a seam or a gap and he’d scramble around for a couple of long runs. But in the second half, we got to him.”
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