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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
Here's a look at whose stock is rising — and whose stock is falling — after the Browns' Week 16 loss at Baltimore:
RS Joshua Cribbs — Scored his first return touchdown since Dec. 20, 2009, returning a Sam Koch punt 84 yards for a score late in the third quarter.
The Browns' coverage units — They have faced criticism this season, but they cleared the way for Cribbs to score the Browns' first TD of the game. They played a key role in the Browns getting back into the game after they had fallen behind 20-0.
RB Peyton Hillis — Rushed for a season-high 112 yards on 24 carries. It has been a lost season for Hillis, but he's finishing well.
TE Evan Moore — Really like the way he attacked the ball on his six-yard fourth-quarter TD catch.
DT Ahtyba Rubin — Notched seven tackles and recorded his fourth sack of the season.
P Brad Maynard — None of his six punts were returned, and three were downed inside the 20. Maynard averaged 41.8 yards on his kicks.
Game management — The Browns botched the end of the first half in unbelievable fashion, attempting a rushing play on 2nd-and-goal from the Baltimore three with 11 seconds left and no timeouts in their favor. When Peyton Hillis was stuffed for no gain, a promising drive ended without points. QB Seneca Wallace took responsibility for the gaffe afterward, as did head coach Pat Shurmur.
"It was bad communication on my behalf," Wallace said, according to The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer. "At that point, it's not the head coach's fault. It's my job to make sure I get everybody on the right page."
On first down from the five, Moore was ruled inbounds on a two-yard catch along the right sideline. The clock kept running. Twenty-three seconds lapsed between first and second downs.
Said Shurmur Monday: "As the head coach, I've got to do a better job of making sure that in those situations it gets done right, OK? That's the deal and the way we had that planned, we had a timeout, we had a two-play sequence designed to get the first and then throw a pass that would go in the endzone or get us out of bounds. When we recognized we didn't get out of bounds, then you go into that scenario."
QB Seneca Wallace — Threw an interception with Cleveland in field-goal range on the Browns' first drive and could not lead them to points on the disastrous final drive of the first half.
DT Phil Taylor — He has had a productive rookie season, but he committed an encroachment penalty on 4th-and-2 that sealed the game with two minutes remaining.