In Cleveland, much of the Monday morning quarterbacking about the Ravens-Browns game centers on Browns coach Pat Shurmur. Sure, some of the criticism is focused on the failed fourth-and-2 call from the Browns' 28 with just under four minutes left. But there is plenty of criticism left for the Browns' disorganization and other curious play calling by the Browns in the Ravens' 25-15 win.
Here is how some of the Cleveland media saw the game:
Craig Lyndall, Waitingfornextyear.com
"Pat Shurmur is his own worst enemy sometimes. With the game on the line and facing 4th and 2 from their own 28 yard line and he seemed to want to prove that he’s learned to be aggressive. Never mind that the previous controversial fourth down plays in question occurred at the Browns’ opponent 40-ish yard lines.
Shurmur decided to roll the dice for once, and unfortunately for him it was absolutely the wrong call.
The Browns ran one of the worst-looking plays of the game with Weeden air mailing Greg Little and the Browns basically handed the Ravens the ball in field goal range trailing by a single score 22-15. Of course the Ravens moved the ball a few feet and made it a two possession game."
Terry Pluto, Plain Dealer
"Games like this remind you that being a Browns fan means suffering. It means being teased.
It means throwing passes to Alex Smith in the red zone, sideways passes to the fullback that have zero chance of going for a first down -- much less a touchdown.
It means with the game on the line and third-and-4 situation, the Browns threw a two-yard pass to ... not the fullback, but receiver Greg Little. It means going for it on fourth down, and looking a bit panicky with a forced pass play that failed."
Marla Ridenour, Akron Beacon-Journal
"A Browns team that arrived at Cleveland Browns Stadium upbeat and predicting victory left angry. And judging by their silence, much of that anger was directed at coach Pat Shurmur....
After nine games, the Browns’ offensive operation is still a work in progress, at times a comedy of errors. The play-calling is conservative one week and riverboat gambler the next. The responsibility falls on Shurmur, even if the gaffes are not all his doing.
Against the Ravens, the most head-scratching moment came with 3:53 remaining when Shurmur went for it on fourth-and-2 from his own 28 with the Browns trailing by seven points. Receiver Greg Little ran a slant and said he was open, but Weeden overthrew him. ...
But the fourth-and-2 decision might not have been what angered Shurmur’s players. Even more disconcerting was the amateurish operation on the sideline. The Browns couldn’t get play calls in and couldn’t get the proper personnel on the field. High school teams are run more efficiently."
Jeff Schudel, Willoughby News-Herald
Just when the Browns think they’re on the right track, the NFL orders them to play another game and they derail again.
Last week, the Browns scored one touchdown but made it stand up for a 7-6 squeaker over the Chargers. A win is a win, players in the locker room said, and they felt momentum going into their home game with the Ravens on Sunday.
Splat went the momentum Sunday at Cleveland Browns Stadium against those intimidators from Baltimore, and splat went the hopes of riding into the bye on a high.
The Browns were beaten by the Ravens for the 10th straight time, this time 25-15 on a day when they packed a month’s worth of offensive blunders into three hours of football that made it fair to wonder what the heck they learned in training camp and the first eight games of the season."
Bud Shaw, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Let's call the Pat Shurmur Era "The Longest Yard-and-a-Half." ...
What (new owner Jimmy Haslam) saw in the Browns' seventh loss in nine games was wasted timeouts, more impotence on third-and-short and his coach unconvincingly masquerading as a riverboat gambler. Even with Halloween delayed in northeast Ohio, Shurmur picked the wrong time and place for the role playing.
The Browns' head coach no doubt feels unfairly second-guessed. In this case, not guilty, your honor. This was a first-guess. Trailing by a TD. Almost four minutes remaining. Fourth-and-two at the Browns 28 after another confounding third-down completion short of the first-down sticks. ...
With much friendlier field position in Indianapolis, Shurmur punted. Sunday, he went for it, despite a day of mystifying communication issues on offense and scattershot accuracy from quarterback Brandon Weeden. Fail and you give the Ravens the ball already in field-goal range. And that's exactly what they did. A fourth-down pass intended for Greg Little soared out of reach. Ravens 25, Browns 15."