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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
Here's our take on whose stock is rising — and falling — after Cleveland's 13-12 loss vs. St. Louis on Sunday.
RB Chris Ogbonnaya — He had his best game as a pro, rushing 19 times for 90 times and catching two passes for 19 yards. Credit the Browns' offensive line, too — he had some room to run. And Ogbonnaya, given a little more space to manuever that he had the previous two games, fared pretty well. This was a very nice performance considering that he really didn't look up to the task of being a featured back in Weeks Eight or Nine. On Sunday, he looked the part, albeit against a below-average defense. Nevertheless, Ogbonnaya showed well, running hard and skillfully.
WR Greg Little — This was a promising performance from Little. He caught all six passes thrown to him (84 yards), and he got deep for a 52-yard reception. He also had a 10-yard run on an end-around. Little had caught just six passes out of 19 targets in Weeks Eight and Nine, so Sunday's output represents significant improvement.
QB Colt McCoy — He played well on Sunday, completing 20-of-27 passes for 218 yards. He had four completions of 20 yards or more, including the 52-yarder to Little. He played better than Rams QB Sam Bradford, in my view.
The pass coverage — It was much better after the Rams scored their lone TD of the game, a Bradford-to-Brandon Lloyd TD. CB Joe Haden had his problems with Lloyd on the drive but was far better thereafter. Of note: the LB corps was very solid vs. the pass Sunday.
DT Phil Taylor — Had a QB sack, recorded two QB hits and made five tackles. The first-round pick from Baylor had a solid game.
Special teams — Talk about faltering with the game on the line. RS Joshua Cribbs fumbled a punt early in the fourth quarter, leading to a Rams field goal that ended up being the game-winning points. Of course, this likely wouldn't have been the case if a snapping snafu scuttled Browns PK Phil Dawson's 22-yard field-goal attempt with 2:13 left. LS Ryan Pontbriand's low snap appeared to hit C Alex Mack's foot. Though P Brad Maynard was able to get the snap down, the timing of the kick was off, and Dawson lined the attempt wide left.
Pat Shurmur's late-game play-calling — Running three rushing plays from inside the St. Louis 10, ostensibly trying to set up a field goal that would put the Browns up by just two points with still more than two minutes left in the game? Calling for TE Alex Smith — filling in at fullback for Owen Marecic — to receive a hand-off on second down? This was a horrible sequence for Shurmur. There is just no way around it. Shurmur was both too conservative (electing to run on third down from the 7-yard-line) and too cute (Smith can't be given the ball there; he just can't).
The run defense — Gashed for 128 yards on 27 carries by Steven Jackson.