ReFo: Browns @ Bengals, Week 10
This isn’t your Cleveland Browns of recent years.
With the eyes of the nation on them and most expecting them to revert to type, the Mike Pettine led team dominated the Cincinnati Bengals from the moment Jermaine Gresham sat down too late on his crossing route and Craig Robertson scored the first turnover of the game.
It was impressive on both sides of the ball, with the line generating the kind of movement their backs needed and their defense getting physical up front. It was the complete display and one that continues to make the Browns one of the 2014 feel good stories.
Cleveland Browns – Performances of Note
Joe Thomas, LT: +4.9
Breakdown: Across any position, Joe Thomas is perhaps the standout player of the past 7 years. Unrivalled excellence matched with remarkable consistency, this game showcased the type of player he is. Flawless throughout, his impact in the running game setting up cutback lanes and widening what happens playside is rarely talked about, but so much fun to watch.
Signature Stat: Didn’t allow a single pressure all game. The fourth time this year.
Paul Kruger, OLB: +5.0
Breakdown: He may have been relatively tame while mic’d up, but he was anything but from the moment the ball was snapped. He started early with some opening drive work on Gresham in the run game and never let up, ending the day with four hurries, a hit and a batted pass.
Signature Play: With 1.03 left in the first half Kruger sails past Marshall Newhouse to record a hit on the quarterback.
Brian Hoyer, QB: +2.6
Breakdown: In a game like this all Hoyer had to do was avoid turnovers and the Browns lines on both sides of the ball would take care of the rest. He did that, and then added a little more to make anyone talking about a quarterback change look foolish. Pressured on just three of his 24 dropbacks, Hoyer was sharp throughout, mastering the conditions in a manner his opposite number could only dream of.
Signature Play: There are throws you can watch over and over again, and Hoyer hit one with 6.37 to go in Q3. Gary Barnidge had a step on Reggie Nelson, but his perfectly thrown back shoulder ball ensured George Iloka couldn’t get over the top to break it up.
Cincinnati Bengals – Performances of Note
Andy Dalton, QB: -7.7
Breakdown: There was an element of bad luck to each of the picks thrown by Dalton, yet so bad was he outside of these that he earned his misfortunate with a display full of bad moments. Any day you complete 30.3% of passes you know it’s a bad one, and while you’d like to blame the wind, you only need to look at the performance of Hoyer to know it shouldn’t have been as much of a factor as Dalton let it be.
Signature Stat: His adjusted accuracy percentage score of 42.9% is the lowest score of any quarterback this season.
George Iloka, S: +3.0
Breakdown: One of the few Bengals to leave this game with any credit, Iloka is one of the least heralded safeties in the league, but one of the better ones. He added another pass break up to his tallying, bring him to three picks and five other pass defenses on the year.
Signature Play: Timing is everything and Iloka proves it with 5.04 to go in the 1st. He breaks on a well thrown ball by Brian Hoyer to deflect a pass intended for Miles Austin.
Marshall Newhouse, RT: -6.6
Breakdown: No real surprise here as Newhouse had his typical game, struggling pass protection and forcing the team to adjust by giving him extra help. That left center Russell Bodine in some unfavorable matchups, but such was the mismatch of Newhouse versus any Browns pass rusher, it had to be done.
Signature Play: He may have expected help from his right guard, but there’s no excuse for getting beat as quickly off the snap as Newhouse did with 11.36 to go in Q3. Bryant went past him as if he wasn’t there on his way to the first of back to back sacks.
PFF Game Ball
The left side of the Browns line is a fantastic watch for any football fan, and no linemen in the league is playing better than Joe Thomas. He was superb in this one.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled