Re-Focused – Browns @ Colts, Week 2

| September 19, 2011

After witnessing the utter submission of the Indianapolis Colts in their first week without Peyton Manning since the invention of the computer, everybody was picking the Cleveland Browns to win this game.  Think about that for a second, the public picked the Browns to beat the Colts in Indy.
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To be fair, the Colts actually started off the game pretty well though as they moved the ball down the field a few times, and even managed to build themselves a nice lead.  However, Cleveland showed some nice poise after being down, and were able to keep the Colts at bay late in the fourth quarter, securing themselves a 27-19 victory.
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Although the Colts weren’t quite as wretched as they were in week one, the Browns aren’t quite as good as the Houston Texans, so a game this close was kind of expected.
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Cleveland – Three Performances of Note
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1. Sheard making his presence felt          

Jabaal Sheard was one of the most active players on Cleveland’s defense, and he really made his presence felt, playing well in both the run and pass games.  He notched a sack, a hit, a pressure and forced and recovered fumbles over the course of the game, as he proved to be a real problem for the Colts’ offensive line.  Between the play of Phil Taylor and Sheard, the Browns look like they were paying attention on draft day, and might have added a pair of very good building blocks for their defensive front.
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2. Oniel Cousins couldn’t block Robert Mathis, amongst others

This might point could be taken as read without the need for going through 45 snaps of football, but in case it wasn’t, we were given pretty definitive proof. Oniel Cousins finished with a -3.4 PFF grade, with a majority of it coming from his pass-protection.  He allowed four pressures on 23 pass-blocks, and while that doesn’t sound that bad, when he gave up pressure he was giving it up very fast.  The only good news for Cousins is that he wasn’t the only offensive linemen having a poor games, as both Jason Pinkston and Artis Hicks both struggled badly as well.
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3. Josh Cribbs is pretty darn good

There are a few players on the Browns that I could give a mention to here, but I wanted to highlight the play of Josh Cribbs, who looked more dangerous than I ever remember seeing him.  If a kick was returnable, Cribbs was coming out with it and gaining legitimate yards, terrifying the Colts’ coverage team.  He also made some nice plays as a receiver on bubble screens, making defenders miss almost as easily as he did Indy’s coverage players.
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Indianapolis – Three Performances of Note
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1. Jamaal Anderson – Looked like the guy the Falcons could never find

For years, Jamaal Anderson was supposed to be a big time player for the Atlanta Falcons, but he could never consistently produce, which led to his departure this summer.  In this game, he was effective as a run defender, and was able to apply some pressure as a pass-rusher.  Anderson’s +2.8 PFF grade represents an even split between his run and pass-rush grades, and will encourage the Colts, who have been desperate to add some bulk and strength to their defensive line for years.
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2. Bullitt wide of the target

To put it simply, Melvin Bullitt did not have a good game. Bullitt (-2.7) looked a little lost in coverage at times, but more importantly he was unable to secure tackles on too many occasions when he lined up in the box.  Bullitt fell off of three tackles in this game, more than any other Colt defender, and couldn’t make an impact on the game, even when he was in reasonable position to make them.
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3. Is Robert Mathis the new Dwight Freeney?

OK, it’s fair to say that Dwight Freeney was going up against much tougher competition, as he was always guarded by the likes of Joe Thomas, but he was a relatively quiet force in this game, notching a sack, but only two pressures from his 29 pass-rushes.  On the opposite end of the field, Mathis had a +5.2 PFF grade, and notched a hit and four pressures, as he was routinely knifing deep into the backfield to blow up plays.  It will be interesting to watch and see if Freeney can recapture his former glory , when he can literally take games over on his own, but according to these past few games teams need to start worrying more about the other side of the line.
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Game Notes
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● Six Cleveland Browns played every snap on defence, including both defensive ends.

● Pat McAfee had a fine day with the boot, averaging 52 yards per punt and had a 5.3 second hang-time effort.

● Evan Moore was thrown at just once, scoring a 16-yard touchdown.  He saw just 9 snaps
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PFF Game Ball:

Robert Mathis, DE, Indianapolis Colts

Mathis was too much to handle all game long, and proved once again that 245lbs is more than enough to play defensive end

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Follow Sam on Twitter: @SamMonson … and give our main Twitter feed a follow too: @ProFootbalFocus
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  • Levelsobe99

    Great point on Cribbs. He is still a great playmaker in STs.
    As stated last week, it is hard to get a full look on Joe Thomas. Colt/Browns continue to roll right, away from Thomas and Colt has made most of his best plays out of the pocket this year (and last yr). 2 Deep balls last week, 1 a TD. TD and Long Ball this week.
    Freeney killed Thomas on the sack, although Thomas is very smart and got the recovery. Thomas should have gotten a hold on another.
    Many times Thomas got help from the guard or Hillis.

    Sheard played great after doing nothing week 1, beating a fellow rookie all day.
    Need to hold back on Phil Taylor. He makes big plays, yes, but takes off some plays, does not pursue hard at all times, and is only a 2 down player at this time, as his pass rush is yet to do much.

    Nice point about poise. Colt and Shurmur held up this week, unlike against the Bengals.
    It should be interesting to see how this team handles the Dolphins.

    Desparate teams in the NFL are hard too beat. And the Dolphins have played better on the road in last year.

    The Haden v. Marshall matchup should be interesting. Haden did not play as well as against the Bengals with the 2 penalties, and should have gotten one more.