I don’t think anyone was shocked by the outcome of this game. The Browns lingered around and kept it interesting but Cincy had it mostly under control and could count on DeShone Kizer to screw up if needed…and that’s virtual money in the bank.
Cleveland has two more shots at a win this year…Week 14 hosting GB and Week 16 at Chicago. They’ll be underdogs in both and likely lose. 0-16 is very likely to happen. Hue Jackson would then be 1-31 as the Browns head coach and 1-35 in his last 36 games as an NFL head coach. And still, football people are defending ‘how hard’ his team plays. Really? Have you watched Cleveland games? I’m guessing not.
Cincy’s season has a lot riding on Week 13 hosting Pittsburgh. If the Bengals can pull off a win, they jump to 6-6 and have a 2-2 finish to end up 8-8 most likely, but a 3-1 finish would be possible to get to 9-7. It takes 8-9 wins for the final AFC wild-card. Week 17 Cincy at Baltimore may be the final wild-card spot this year.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- I re-re-watched sections of this game on the ‘All 22’ watching some of the specific Jason McCourty (4 tackles, 1 PD) battle with A.J. Green (5-66-0/8). I had not really picked up on McCourty as a top shutdown corner on tape but the numbers were pointing to something developing the past several weeks.
I thought McCourty did well versus Green. Looked a little like Marcus Peters/KC…playing pretty far off, daring them to throw short and making sure nothing deep/easy happened. Andy Dalton noticeably stayed away from McCourty and that’s more a sign of the quality of a CB when the QB stays away…even when their favorite target is getting the matchup. Dalton usually forces to AJG…he didn’t here, smartly. Part of that is McCourty's play and some of that is it’s much easier to throw everywhere else against the Browns.
If QBs are starting to show that respect…it will be interesting to see what Philip Rivers does with Keenan Allen this week if McCourty is on him a bunch. I wouldn’t sit Allen, but I’d be a bit nervous.
Cleveland is #13 in the NFL in passing yards allowed, but #31 in passing TDs allowed.
-- Hey, I didn’t lead a Cincy game with complaints about Joe Mixon (23-114-1, 3-51-0/3)! FINALLY, the Bengals used him more like Le’Veon Bell 2.0…kinda, almost, not fully…but we’re getting there.
Every week, Mixon gets a little more comfortable with his cuts/patience running up the middle. Sometimes he tries to get too cute. In this game, he had clear lanes and he blasted through them and danced from hits all game. His best game statistically, and his best tape of the season.
That cheap price I was yelling about for dynasty acquisitions…that window is closing fast.
-- Another week, another lunch pail and hard hat effort by Corey Coleman (3-64-0/8). Too bad he’s stuck with the worst QB in the NFL throwing to him.
How will the Josh Gordon return affect Coleman? It probably hurts more than anything. ‘Coverage’ is not the issue with Coleman's numbers…it’s the fact that DeShone Kizer is an abomination to quarterbacking. Coleman could be wide open every play and only wind up with 3-5 catches in the game. Coleman won’t benefit from lesser coverage, he’ll just likely see fewer targets.
The Browns are going to want to get Gordon work to see if they have a tradable chip on their hands. They are starting him right off the bat so he’s likely to have WR3 or better appeal. However, he falls into the same trap – Kizer has to get him catchable passes. That’s not a given.
-- Isaiah Crowell (16-95-0, 1-10-0/2) has pretty much been a dud all season but is perking up as of late – two 90+ yard rushing efforts in his last three games. He faces the #32 run defense of the Chargers this week…with suddenly two WRs defenses have to worry about. Another 90+ yard day may be in order here, but it’s hard betting on this run game with all the line and QB play issues.
-- I said in the preseason that I would not be surprised if Joe Schobert (13 tackles) led the league in tackles this season and that he was the best-looking inside linebacker I’ve seen from the past two drafts (he just converted to ILB this year)…which was a pretty radical statement at the time.
Schobert enters Week 13 as #2 in the NFL in tackles, two behind the leader Zach Brown.
Snap Counts of Interest…
46 = Mixon
15 = Gio
45 = LaFell
27 = Malone
15 = Boyd
09 = Erickson
38 = Duke Johnson
31 = Crowell
41 = Njoku
24 = DeValve