*Since we're a week away from our 27th starting quarterback in 18 years...how about Kevin Hogan? The Stanford grad started off strong in the wildcat, racking up a few big runs, and then was forced into duty after Cody Kessler was KO'd with a concussion.
At which point Hogan really went to work, running one in from 28 yards out for his first NFL TD, and running for 104 yards overall, second only to Johnny Manziel in Browns history. But, before we start the Hogan's Heroes chants, he also passed for only 100 yards and threw two interceptions.
*Hogan had better be able to run. This offensive line can't protect anyone, as Josh McCown and now Kessler can tell you. McCown's coming back, but now Kessler's on hold. They may as well stick with Hogan and see how long he can last, er...see how much more he can do.
*The CBS announcer, following A.J. Green's Hail Mary TD catch to close out the first half and give the Bengals a 21-10 lead at the break: "more bad luck for the Cleveland Browns". Uh, it's not bad luck. It's a significant talent differential. The Browns are adding newcomers to the secondary every week. The struggles are no accident. Which brings me to...
*Joe Haden, who signed a $67 million contract two years ago, has now missed 14 of the past 23 games, including 3 of the past 5 this season. He just can't stay on the field. As our Tailgate crew says every week, it's not just about being great, it's about being available. And Haden isn't. Love the guy, and his talent, but with the trade deadline nine days away, I'd move him if I was the Browns. The obvious problem is, they're not going to get enough in return at this point.
*There was a time when Haden shut down A.J. Green. There is an actual box score to prove it.
*Green went for 169 yards on only 8 catches against this overmatched secondary. He could have gone for 300, if the Bengals weren't running over and around the Browns' front seven (Jeremy Hill racked up 168 yards on only 9 carries). Overall, the Bengals totaled a staggering 559 yards of offense.
*The powers-that-be in Berea insist they're in this for the long haul, including Hue Jackson. I hope coach has that luxury. He's put on a positive face, week in and week out, during this expected but painful process, and he's shown he is that creative offensive mind that we've waited for. But our Fifth Quarter analysts, who've been there and done it (including Coach Sam) believe Jackson will still pay the price if the Browns lose 14 or more games. He shouldn't. He's playing the hand he's been dealt. I'd love to see him still here in two or three years, working with a far better team.
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