CLEVELAND — The Browns are heading into the bye week limping at .500 with their playoff chances starting to fade. Is there still a chance to turn things around?
Welcome to "The 5th Quarter," your Monday recap of the Cleveland Browns hosted by Jay Crawford and Dave 'Dino' DeNatale.
The Browns were beaten by the Ravens in Baltimore on Sunday night by the final of 16-10 to put them at 6-6. It's a significant loss for Kevin Stefanski's team both in the AFC North and in the overall AFC playoff picture. Here's what the guys focused on during Monday's show:
AN ANEMIC OFFENSE: Did you think that after 12 games we would be talking about a sluggish offense this season? The Browns have scored more than 17 points just once over the last seven games. In the other six games, they've managed 14, 17, 10, 7, 13 and 10 points. No team can consistently win games in the NFL by scoring less than 17 points per outing.
So what's the problem? Is it coaching? Is it injuries? Is it the quarterback?
Well, the answer is yes. It seems to be a collective problem. Jay believes that teams have finally figured out how to beat the Browns' 3 tight end formation and running game. Dino pointed out that the team had more pre-snap penalties and dropped passes during the loss to the Ravens. There's no one person or group to blame.
BYE WEEK CHANGES?: So what can the Browns do to address these problems during this upcoming bye week? According to Jay, it's time to tinker. Kevin Stefanski has called the offensive plays to this point. As they hit the bye week this may be the perfect time to give offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt a chance to see what he can do. There’s a nice control to the experiment. The Browns’ next game is their mulligan against the Ravens. Let’s see what a fresh set of eyes can do. What do they have to lose? The path they’re on has led them to 6-6. The final five games are all against teams .500 or better. If Van Pelt knocks it out of the park, he’s the guy moving forward.
Also, can the Browns try to come up with a scheme that allows both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to be on the field at the same time? That would keep defenses guessing, wouldn't it?
By the way, you'll notice we haven't brought up the Browns defense. They intercepted four passes against Baltimore, which you would think would be more than adequate to win. Per Jake Trotter of ESPN, since 2015, starting QBs are 0-37 when throwing 4 INTs in a game. So much for that stat.
ARE THE PLAYOFFS OUT OF THE QUESTION? Mathematically, no. The Browns are still theoretically in the hunt. You feel like they would need to go at least 4-1, if not 5-0, to get in. At 6-6 and with losses against Baltimore, Pittsburgh, the Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City and New England, the Browns lose the head-to-head tiebreaker with all of those contenders with one to play still against Pittsburgh. Winning the division now while trailing the Ravens by 2 1/2 games with five to play seems too big of an ask.
Read Jay Crawford's thoughts on Sunday's loss here
Watch the 5th Quarter with Jay and Dino in the player below:
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- Sunday night sorrow: Cleveland Browns lose to Baltimore Ravens 16-10 in crazy AFC North affair