On balance, Browns rookie QB Colt McCoy has had a very good first NFL season, but he had the worst game of his young career Sunday vs. Baltimore, throwing three interceptions. While McCoy, as head coach Eric Mangini pointed out Monday, did well to change protection schemes and get the Browns into the right play at times, he also looked as unsteady as he had at any point during his seven games in the lineup. Some of this can be chalked up to the Ravens — defensive coordinator Greg Mattison had a good game plan vs. Cleveland, as the Ravens did well to take away some underneath throws. And, of course, Ravens FS Ed Reed, who had two interceptions, is simply one of the great center fielders of all time.
However, there are quite a few safeties who would have made the interception Reed made in the second quarter, when McCoy threw deep for WR Mohamed Massaquoi in zone coverage. It was a throw McCoy shouldn't have made. Later, Reed came over the top to intercept another deep pass for Massaquoi, ending the Browns' last, best scoring opportunity.
McCoy was sharp in his first matchup with Pittsburgh, completing 23-of-33 yards for 281 yards and a TD in his pro debut in a 28-10 Cleveland loss. However, he was intercepted twice, and he was sacked five times.
This is McCoy's first shot at playing an opponent a second time. Can he counter what the Steelers showed him defensively the first time and anticipate what new looks defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau may unveil this time around? And can he shake off — and learn from — the mistakes he made vs. Baltimore? If the answer is "yes" to all of these questions, McCoy could author a nice ending to a promising first NFL season. Certainly he played well enough in his first try against the Steelers to keep his team competitive.