Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Call them the second-quarter Browns

Fiddled around with some numbers for the Browns after six games and discovered some very interesting revelations.

In their three victories this season, they have outscored the opposition, 85-57. Broken down, it’s 48-30 in the first half, 37-27 in the second half.

But it’s in their three losses that the numbers reveal a significant weakness. It’s called the second half.

In the first 30 minutes of their three losses, the Browns have outscored opponents, 30-13. In the final 30 minutes, they have been outscored, 55-3. That is not a misprint or a typo. Those are correct and alarming figures.

Since Billy Cundiff’s 39-yard field goal late in the third quarter of the season-opening loss to Miami, the Browns have not put a second-half point on the board in a loss.

Here are a few more revealing stats.

Breaking it down by quarters, the Browns have been outscored in every quarter except the second. Opposing teams have outpointed them, 27-17, in the first quarter; 45-13 in the third quarter; and 37-27 in the final quarter.

In the second quarter, though, the Browns hold an astounding 61-16 edge in scoring through six games. That’s slightly more than half of their season total of 118.

Simple addition also reveals the Browns have been outscored, 82-40, in the second half overall.

It’s abundantly clear the coaching staff either does not make the correct adjustments at halftime or doesn’t feel the need to make changes. Maybe it’s the second-quarter blitz that makes them sanguine. The if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it syndrome does not work in professional football.

Other teams make adjustments no matter the score. The good teams always mix it up in the second half of games, figuring the opposition has figured out a way to stop them. If the Browns are doing that, they’re going about it the wrong way.

A simple explanation, statistically speaking, for the up-and-down season shows the Browns play only one good quarter out of four and lose games when they don’t score in the second half. Scoring anything in the second half portends a victory.

There’s something very wrong with this picture. And there is only one person to blame. That would be the head coach.

It is his responsibility to make certain his men are emotionally ready to play a game of football from the opening whistle to the final whistle. They do it only 16 times a season. Based on their performances thus far, it takes a full quarter before the Browns kick it in gear.

The assistant coaches get the players ready to play on Sundays, but it’s the head coach who sets the emotional tone. Some teams have players who handle that job. A good coach will let them go. Ray Lewis was a perfect example of that in Baltimore before he retired.

What makes the 3-3 record worse to swallow is the fact the Browns have led at halftime in every game. How hard is it to keep that emotion at a high level at the beginning of the second half? With any kind of effort in the second halves of games, the Browns very well could be 4-2, maybe 5-1.

These numbers do not lie. And lacking a Browns petition to the National Football League to bypass the second halves altogether, they will continue to speak the truth. Loudly.


  1. Sleepwalking. Is it possible for a whole team to sleepwalk? Well, after Sunday you couldn't convince me otherwise. The Browns came out with no emotion or fire. Is that the coaches, the team leaders or a sense of self-worth because of the lead at halftime?
    If you look at the film, just as the Browns were walking into the tunnel, you'll see a couple players flipping their gloves and sweatbands into the stands. It struck me as odd, seeing as that the game was only half over. After the game is over, yes, flip anything you want into the stands, but at half?
    I also wonder if the abandonment of the running game in the second half is the major cause for the scoring discrepancy? Weeden needs a clean pocket from which to throw. If you completely forget about running the ball, you let the defense pin their ears back and you see what happens.
    I was more disappointed this past week than at almost any time since the re-birth.
    Momentum, home crowd and the opponents best weapon sidelined. What a shame!

  2. He Keith,

    First of all, thanks for the venting post. Now then . . .

    The fire to which you alluded was what I was talking about when I addressed getting the team ready emotionally for a game.

    If it becomes obvious your opponent is not going to run the ball, what do you do? You pin your ears back and rush the quarterback. And that's exactly what has happened in at least two games this season.

    He's still a head coaching neophyte, but Chudzinski had better get smart quickly or else the rest of the season will wind up like it has for so many coaches since 1999.

    When I said in an earlier post that the team is at the crossroads now, I meant if something is not done right now to change the emotional aspect of this team, the season will barrel downhill out of control.

    Look at the rest of the schedule and tell me how many games you think the Browns can win given the way they performed against an average Detroit team. Jacksonville? Maybe a split with the Steelers? Anything else?

    Unless the defense steps up in a big way, this season is over. Wrote that, too, in an earlier post. And I didn't like writing it. But that is what I see from here on out.

    Hope I'm wrong.

    1. I hate to say it, but your not wrong. If they win 6 I'd be surprised. Shocked with seven and dropping dead with eight.
      I think I'm in for a long life!!!