And the hypocrisy of the NFL's stance on player safety.
The Titans lead the Browns early in the second quarter 14-0. The Titans offense has shredded the Browns defense thus far. Cleveland cannot stop the Titans with straight-up, legal football play, so a Browns defensive player resorted to an illegal, thug-like, cheap-shot on the Titans QB after the QB scored a touchdown.
And now the Titans QB may not return. After the assault by the Browns player, a Titans offensive lineman retaliated on someone, and the refs with supreme stupidity called off-setting personal foul penalties on both teams.
If the NFL truly cared about players safety, the only personal foul penalty would have been called on Cleveland, and that Browns player would have been ejected from the game and suspended from the next game, similar to what college football now does.
How can that type of goon actions be tolerated? The Titans QB may not return, so that favors the Browns. The off-setting penalties favored the Browns. The player not being ejected favored the Browns.
Basically, the NFL is saying that it's okay to cheap-shot a QB out of the game. In this example, Cleveland received no penalty while Tennessee may have to play their backup QB.
Way to go NFL. And keep it classy, Cleveland.
If a TN player retaliates, for the Browns thuggery, no penalty should be called. That's life. Make a severe cheap shot, then face the wrath of an emotional retaliation.
It was a cheap shot on a quarterback after he crossed the goal line. And after listening to the announcers, TWO Browns defensive players cheap-shotted the Titans QB in the after the QB scored the TD.
At the most, the NFL will review the play and levy a fine on one or two Browns players. Wow. Big penalty.
TN QB Jake Locker did return to the game. 14-3 TN leads. Approx mid-way 2nd qtr.
On this next possession, Locker is still running with the football on scramble plays or designed running plays. TN is driving, now in Cle territory, so the Browns defense is still feeble.
Maybe the Cleveland defense can club someone with a metal pipe or a baseball bat. The NFL won't object much.
The Cleveland Browns flagship station, AM 850 WKNR, is as worthless in this game thus far as the Browns defense. For some reason, the station played three commercials during the middle live action. It was not a TV timeout. The station broke from the game to air the commercials.
TN now has first and 10 at the Cle 24.
Cle flagged for roughing the passer, blow to the head. Cle also flagged for holding on that play. I think it was a third down pass play that went incomplete.
TN backup QB Charlie Whitehurst is warming up on the sidelines now. Apparently, the Locker is shaken up. Not head-related, possibly. Might be a wrist injury that he had last week.
Whitehurst is now in the game. Locker went to the locker room.
Under 4 min left. 2nd down and 10. TD pass. What, no Browns cheap-shotted anyone in the end zone after the play? Wow. 21 points surrendered in the first half to Tennessee. That's pathetic defensive play. And these were long drives.
TN TD drive: 14 plays, 80 yards, 7:22.
Cleveland leads in thug hits. That's something to be proud of in the locker room at halftime. They can watch the replays and rejoice over how the Browns goonsquad flogged the opponent's QB in the head scoring a TD.
Kickoff, touchback. 3:43 left. Plenty of time for Cleveland's offense to at least get a FG attempt. A FG keeps it at least a two-score game.
Unless Whitehurst plays the rest of the game and plays terribly, it will be up to the Browns offense to win this game.
With this game, the Browns embark on an incredibly easy schedule over the next 5 or 6 games. In theory. But this is the NFL where nothing is predictable. Browns fans think Cleveland can end up with a record of 5-3 or even 6-2 at the halfway point with this schedule. Cle is currently 1-2.
The Browns are a couple plays away from being 2-1 or even 3-0, but Cleveland is also one play away from being 0-3.
Third down already for Cleveland. 3rd and 5 at own 25. Pass incomplete. Wow. A quick three-and-out. Now TN has plenty of time on offense.
After punt, TN starts on own 25 with 2:55 left.
TN has been dominating Cleveland defense mainly by running the ball.
Cleveland's offense has been inept too, mounting only one decent drive that resulted in a field goal.
Holy moly!!! First play on offense for TN, Whitehurst throws a bomb pass that Cleveland did not expect, obviously, because the receiver was wide open and he caught the pass and ran into the end zone. A 75-yard touchdown pass!!!
28-3 rout. But that one-play drive still leaves Cleveland with over two-minutes on the clock, so Hoyer will need to run a no-huddle offense and snag a TD right before half.
Kickoff returned to Cle 24. Flag. Against Cleveland. Holding. Browns will start on own 10-yard line. 2:38 left. Cle has two timeouts plus two-minute warning, so this is doable. Hoyer can do it.
- pass complete, 21-yard gain to own 31.
- run, gains a yard or so.
- 2:05 left, pass caught, Cle own 43. first down. two-minute warning with 1:56 left. good field position and plenty of time left with both timeouts.
TN cannot relax on offense and defense. Titans know that Cleveland can make a big comeback. On week one, Cleveland trailed at halftime in Pittsburgh 27-3. Browns stormed back in the second half, tied the game at 27-27 with plenty of time left. Cleveland had the ball a couple times on offense with the game tied, but they failed to move the ball much. Pitt may one decent pass play, and kicked the winning field goal on the game's final play.
If Cleveland goes into halftime down 28-10, that's still a three-score deficit, but it's a start.
- pass complete, down to TN 25.
- run, gains 6.
- run, gains about 4. enough for first down at 15. 1:09 left. plenty of time.
- run, down inside the one yard line. :45 left. no timeout called by Cle.
- :32 and ticking. run. no gain. Cle calls TO with :16 left.
- TD pass. :12 left.
28-10. Browns defense surrendered 28 points and a ton of yards in the first half.
Browns RB Ben Tate back from injury has rushed for 77 yards in the first half.
The Browns offense still has not committed a turnover this season. Cleveland is the only team that has not made a turnover.
Browns got ball first in the second half, and Cleveland drove and made a field goal. 28-13. Two scores. Doable now.
TN drove up to around midfield, but the drive stalled an an offensive lineman committed a late hit, personal foul penalty. Nice self-destructive move. TN eventually punted.
During the punt return, TN committed a personal foul, late-hit penalty, but Cleveland also committed a penalty, so off-setting. But TN clearly has lost focus with two late hit penalties in the third quarter.
Cleveland drove well, and on 4 and 3, instead of trying about 40 yard field goal, Cleveland went for it, and did not get it. Seemed a bit early to eschew a makeable field goal. It could have been 28-16. Instead, TN took over.
TN needs about 10 points this half to guarantee victory, most likely. But if TN scores zero points, then Cleveland can win this. The Browns offense is rolling a bit more now after a slow start. I would have taken the three points with around 4 minutes left in the third quarter.
TN punted again, but Benjamin fumbled the punt. TN recovered. But the officials have convened. This does not count as a turnover for the Browns offense.
TN punt team was flagged for a penalty. No turnover!! The TN punt team player got blocked out of bounds and something about not coming back into play properly. Whatever. Strange penalty or rule. I think the TN player who covered the fumble was flagged for not returning to the field properly.
So instead of TN not having the ball in good field position for at least a field goal attempt, Cle starts around their own 41-yard line.
The Titans are 1-3. Committing a lot of dumb penalties may be one reason for a 1-3 record.
1:25 left in third quarter.
28-13 at the end of the third quarter.
Cle has 2nd down and 3 at the TN 4.
Pass inc. 3rd down.
Tate has been running well in the second half. He's in now ... passing, thrown away.
Um, what happened to running the ball? Hoyer is passing okay, but the Browns have run well.
Going for it on 4th and 3. Browns call TO. A TD here makes this a nail-biter for TN. Cleveland is used to it.
Pass is incomplete. Knocked down at the line of scrimmage.
Two consecutive Browns drives where Cle turned the ball over on downs. Both could have resulted in field goals.
Granted, Cle would still be down two scores, but it could be 28-19, early 4th qtr. TN offense has done little thus far in this half. The chance exists for a TN offense turnover. The Browns offense has been doing well since late second quarter.
I think Cle should have taken the points. TN has made dumb penalties.
TN starts at the own 4-yard line, and TN is not really trying. 3rd down and long. If the Cle was down 9 points, plenty of time existed for Cle to score another TD and then maybe a game-winning FG late, assuming TN does not score. But now, Cle needs two touchdowns with one needing a two-point conversion.
TN pass compl but short of first down. 3-and-out. Cle should have good field position.
Punt blocked, and ball rolls out of the end zone for a safety.
28-15. Still requires two touchdowns. That safety was about like getting a field goal on the last possession, and then TN going three-and-out and punting.
Cle will need to go for it on 4th down each time they get into scoring position. Clearly, the Browns are thinking only touchdowns.
11:02 left. TN punts. Cle fields at own 18, returns to around own 30. Good punt and coverage by TN.
Two Cle TDs and pats, and Cle could win by 1 point and hand TN a crushing and humiliating defeat.
TN led 28-3 with only a little over 2 minutes left in the first half with the Cle offense starting on its own 10-yard line.
Now it's 28-15, Cle has first down at 49-yard line, running a hurry-up offense, at times.
When a team scores no points in the second half, then it deserves to lose.
It was 28-10 at halftime, so it's not like Cle has lit up the scoreboard in the 2nd half with its 5 points.
Under 10 minutes left and the second half score is 5-0, Cle.
Hoyer's pass is intercepted, and returned a long way, to around the Cle 5 yard line, but a flag was dropped around the intercepted, so the interception may not stand. But during the return, a fight and maybe other things occurred during the return, resulting in more penalties.
This would be the Browns first turnover on offense, but it may not stand. Officials are huddled.
Fouls by both teams. Illegal contact before the pass and then two personal fouls, on both teams. One player was ejected. I think it was the TN player.
So no interception. Big break for Cle. That probably would have been the end of the game, provided the long return had stood.
7:45 left. Ball at TN 29. Plenty of time left provided Cle scores TD here.
TN's best play this entire half was the interception by the Titan defense that was called back because of a TN penalty. TN defense and offense have not played well this half. It's all Cleveland.
TD pass for Cleveland!!! Hah! That's what happens when TN gives Cle too many chances to stay in this game by committing dumb penalties.
28-22. 6:49 left. Now TN only needs a field goal to ice this game, but I don't think the TN offense has enough horsepower. Plus, TN will be good for a couple dumb penalties.
If Cle pulls this game out, it's a win, and that's all that matters, but it's not a pretty win, considering it's against the 1-3 Titans. Winning ugly is still better than not winning. And Cle has a chance to be 5-3, at least, at the half way point.
The score could be 28-26 if Cle had settled for FGs, instead of going for it on 4th down.
2nd half score: 12-0 Cle.
TN starts on own 20 after touchback.
TN ran the ball well in the first half.
TN calls timeout. The Titans are discombobulated on offense and defense in the second half.
Whitehurst sacked. I guess TN gave up on the running.
3rd down and 15. Cannot run here.
Pass compl for a short gain.
3-and-out. 5:45 left. 4th and 8.
TN's feeble offense could not gain one or two first downs to play field position and leave Cle with little time, but I don't think it matters. TN defense cannot stop Cle's offense, except on 4th down when Cle could have made field goals.
Cle starts at own 33.
Pass inc. Knocked down at line of scrimmage again.
Pass dropped. Screen pass to Tate. Pass a little high.
3rd and 10. No biggie. 5:05 left.
A bomb pass by Hoyer is intercepted. But plenty of time is left. It was worth a shot.
TN starts on own 22. TN has done little in the second half. Maybe made it to around midfield at most.
TN pass inc. Wow. No running anymore.
Pass inc, nearly intercepted.
TN offense is not gaining yards, and it's taking very little time off the clock.
3rd and 10, own 22, Browns stop here and Cle could have good field position.
Pass compl, gained 11. Huge first down on 3rd and 10. Wow.
TN, running, gained zip. Actually, lost a yard. 3:40 left and ticking. Man, that was a major first down on the last series.
Run gains a little. Gained 5. 3rd and 6. Browns call timeout. 3:11 left. Cle has one timeout left.
Another big play. A first down here for TN will make it very hard for Cle.
Pass caught, close to first down. And ref says first down. Good pass and catch.
But Cle is challenging something. Did the receiver get both feet in bounds? Actually, Cle is challenging the spot. Receiver caught ball and was knocked out of bounds by the first down marker.
I guess that it's a good challenge by the Browns coach, because if it's 4th down and inches, what does TN do? Browns need the ball, so it's a worthy challenge even if Cle loses the challenge and the timeout.
A 1-3 TN team may go for it on 4th and inches. Hoyer has no trouble leading the team on a long drive.
And the refs agree with Cleveland. The ball is short of the first down. It's 4th and a half yard at about the 43 of TN.
TN gives the appearance of going for it in its own territory. They will probably try to draw Cle offsides.
It's a QB sneak. Cle feels they stopped TN. Refs measuring. Everything has gone Cle way this half, and the ball is short!
Cle takes over at the TN 43 yard line.
Wait. Now the TN coach challenges the spot. Jeesh. 3:03 left still, and it's 4:09 p.m. The games take too long.
TN QB Whitehurst tried to tell the refs that he stretched the ball outward.
Again, the breaks have gone Cleveland's way this half.
If TN had punted, Cle probably would have started inside own 20 or at own 20. But with over 3 minutes, that would be plenty of time for Hoyer.
Refs say ruling on the field stands. Cle ball at TN 43. Big call by TN. I have no problem with the call. A first down does not end the game, but it would have made it very difficult for Cle. But TN failed to execute, and Cle's defense played well.
Zero points for TN this half, and I'm wonder if TN's offense has crossed midfield this half.
Cle now inside TN's 20. Wow.
2:00 warning. Cle 1st down at TN 17. Obviously, Browns go for it on any 4th down plays.
Last year, Ray Horton was the defensive coordinator for Cleveland, and now he's the DC for TN. His defense has been gashed, since the last 3 minutes of the first half.
TN deserves to lose when it cannot score a single point in the second half after leading 28-3 late in the first half.
Pass, inc in the end zone, but flag against TN. Illegal contact. This game is over in favor of Cle. Premature celebration. It never felt over even when Cle trailed 28-3 because, no surprise, Cle scored TD right before half. That really gave the indication that this game could get tight.
Cle at TN 6.
Pass, TD!!!! to Benjamin.!!! Second TD reception of game.
Wow. What a comeback. Penalty on TN for holding.
PAT is good.
29-28 Cleveland with only 1:09 left. That's nowhere near enough time for the feeble TN offense.
I'm not shocked. TN offense, defense, and special teams could not make any big plays that led to scoring points for TN.
I'm sure the TN head coach will enjoy the post-game conference if the score holds up.
Touchback. TN starts on own 20 with 1:09 left. Whitehurst will need to complete another bomb TD pass.
Overall, the TN offense has not done as well with Whitehurst, compared to Locker.
Long pass inc. I'm guessing this is a weak 4-and-out series for TN.
Pass inc. I don't know if TN fans attend the game, but it seems like more Browns fans are in attendance.
Wow, a pass compl for a first down. :42 left and ticking. TN taking too much time snapping.
Pass caught and player gets out of bounds at TN 44.
Whitehust sacked. TN calls timeout. :19 left. Big play there by Cle defense.
Long pass, hail mary-like, incomplete.
:09 left. TN will need another hail mary pass but too far away.
Pass caught in play and game clock winds down.
Game over. A pathetic defensive performance in the first half.
Browns announcer said it was unbelievable, but I don't think so. It's the Titans, not a playoff-contending team. It was only a matter of time for the Browns offense to get rolling. The key was the Browns defense holding TN, and they did.
TN offense did very little in the second half. And the TN offense failing to convert on 4th and a half-yard after they thought they got the first down was major.
When Cle comes back from a 28-3 deficit to beat this year's Cincinnati Bengals team, then that would be unbelievable.
To make it to 5-3, the Cle defense needs to improve. The offense has a nice mix of running and passing.
This game ended at about 4:25 p.m. !!!
Former Browns QBs understand the team's instability - Dec 17, 2014
2014 NFL mock draft published in September 2013 - Oct 08, 2013
Another example about the NFL's hypocrisy toward player safety - Nov 26, 2014
Browns defeat Raiders - Oct 26, 2014 - Oct 28, 2014
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns - Sun, Nov 24, 2013 - Jan 07, 2014