If Adversity breeds success, then the Cleveland Browns are certainly due. The Cleveland Browns squeezed one out at home as they defeated they winless Oakland Raiders 23-17 at home Sunday night. However, despite the win which helps the Browns keep pace in a very tough AFC North, if anyone questioned the value of Cleveland’s Prow Bowl center Alex Mack, all you need to do is look at the stats. The Browns have had virtually no running game since Mack’s broken leg ended his season. Sunday against the Raiders, the Browns managed to rush for less than fifty-yards. This is a far cry from the 140+ yards per game the Browns put up with Mack snapping the ball to Hoyer under center.
In fact, since Mack has become absent. The Browns running defense has resembled more of empty gesture rather than an effective threat. At this point, they would take the kind of rushing featured in electric football rather than have what they are faced with right now.
The news doesn’t get any better for Cleveland as Pro Bowl TE Jordon Cameron left early due to a concussion early in the second quarter. Cameron is a valued target for starting QB Brian Hoyer as the Browns slowly count down the games before Prow Bowl receiver Josh Gordon returns to the lineup after he serves his 12 game suspension.
But not is all bad. After all, Cleveland did come away with the win. The rushing defense also showed up. In addition, the defense recorded four sacks and three turnovers. As coach Mike Pettine has said, the team needs to learn to play like Browns. If that means a tough defense, then for really the first time this season, they did. It will be interesting to see if Cleveland can revive their rushing attack next week against Tampa Bay as they look to match last seasons’ win total. Only time will tell if this is a different team from years past, but at least this week, they can rest easy having won this week.