If you've been watching the Browns play at all this season, then you've probably noticed that they've perfected the art of shooting themselves in the foot, and that's exactly what they did against the Giants on Sunday as the march to 0-16 continues in Cleveland after the Browns' 27-13 loss.
The good news for fans is that no one really got ripped off at this game since tickets were going for as little as $6.
Being in Cleveland for the week and buying $6 tickets to the Browns against the Giants is quite the steal— Scott Laughton (@FauxLaughts) November 27, 2016
So what did the Browns do this week to shoot themselves in the foot?
Glad you asked.
First, they couldn't protect their quarterback, which probably came as no surprise to Browns fans who have watched their team start five different quarterbacks this season because their QBs have gotten so beat up.
In this game, Josh McCown lasted all four quarters, but just barely. The Giants sacked McCown seven times, which is almost impossible to believe when you consider that the Giants had only recorded 18 sacks in their first 10 games combined (1.8 sacks per game). Only three teams had fewer sacks than the Giants before Sunday.
The constant pressure McCown faced seemed to wear on him and that pressure is eventually what clinched the game in the fourth quarter for the Giants. With the Browns trailing 14-6, McCown lost the football and then watched Jason Pierre-Paul return it 43 yards for a touchdown. JPP's score put the Giants up 20-6 and iced the game.
ICYMI: Watch JPP with the pick-six! https://t.co/zoN4qX4rST— New York Giants (@Giants) November 27, 2016
Although that tweet says JPP's return was a pick-six, it was later ruled a fumble return for a touchdown.
The good news for Browns coach Hue Jackson is that it doesn't look like his team has quit on him. As a matter of fact, the Browns defense arguably played its best game of the year. The Browns held the Giants to under 300 yards (296) Sunday, marking the first time this season that the Browns have held a team under 300 yards.
That's not the same as winning the game, but when you're 0-12, you have to take any silver lining you can get. Another silver lining has been the play of Terrelle Pryor, who caught six passes for 131 yards against the Giants.
Unfortunately for the Browns, even a season-best performance on defense and a fantastic day from Pryor wasn't enough to get them a win, and now it's fair to wonder if that win is ever going to happen.
With only four games left on the schedule, the Browns are running out of chances to pick up that precious first victory. Of course, if that victory never comes, Browns fans are ready for it: They're planning an 0-16 parade.
ICYMI: Watch JPP with the pick-six! https://t.co/zoN4qX4rST— New York Giants (@Giants) November 27, 2016
I'm betting that will be bigger than the Cavaliers' parade. If the Browns want to avoid that parade, they're going to need to beat either Cincinnati, Buffalo, San Diego or Pittsburgh over their final four games after their Week 13 bye. Browns fans, you might want to get those parade floats ready.
Tennessee 27-21 over Chicago
Blowing a 27-7 lead to one of the worst teams in the NFL would've been a horrible way to go into the bye week, but that's not going to happen thanks to a Titans defense that stopped the Bears on four straight plays from Tennessee's 7-yard line with under one minute left to play. The Titans weren't great in the second half, but that doesn't matter now because they came away with the win. At 6-6, the Titans will head into their Week 13 bye with a chance to be in first place when they return to action in Week 14. All they need is a Packers win over the Texans next Sunday and they'll be on top of the division this late in the season for the first time since 2008.
Moral victories don't count in the NFL, but when you start Matt Barkley and only lose by six points, that should count for something. Going into the game, Barkley had thrown a total of zero touchdown passes and six interceptions since entering the NFL in 2013. Barkley actually looked decent in his first career start, throwing for 316 yards and and three touchdowns (plus two interceptions). Barkley's numbers actually could've been better, but receivers just kept dropping his passes. The worst drop came with 42 seconds left when a wide-open Josh Bellamy dropped a potential winning touchdown pass in the end zone.
Buffalo 28-21 over Jacksonville
Since Blake Bortles can't seem to throw the ball, the Jaguars tired something new this week: Let him run whenever possible. Bortles led the Jaguars with 81 yards rushing Sunday. On the bright side, the Jaguars did do some things well: They went an impressive 8 of 15 on third-down conversions and scored on their opening drive for the first time in 25 games. When you're 2-9, we try to highlight the few things your team did right. Another bright spot came from the defense, which sacked Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor five times.
Sammy Watkins couldn't have come back at a better time for Buffalo. Playing for the first time since Week 2, Watkins caught three passes for 80 yards, including a huge 62-yard catch in the third quarter that set up a Bills touchdown. Somehow, that wasn't even the biggest play of the second half for Buffalo. That honor goes to LeSean McCoy, who sprinted 75 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the half. Just six days after having thumb surgery, McCoy rushed for 103 yards to keep the Bills' faint playoff hopes alive.
Baltimore 19-14 over Cincinnati
R.I.P. to the Bengals' 2016 season. With no A.J. Green and no Giovani Bernard, the Bengals had no chance against the NFL's second-ranked defense. Actually, they did have a chance to win, but Andy Dalton killed it by fumbling the game away. Dalton lost two fumbles inside of Baltimore's 20-yard line in this game, including one with just 1:05 left. Mike Nugent wasn't much better than Dalton. The Bengals kicker missed his only extra point attempt in the game. Including last week, Nugent has now missed three extra points in a row.
The only upside to Sunday's loss is that now Bengals fans won't have to sit through another consecutive playoff loss. Although the Bengals aren't technically eliminated from the playoffs yet, their chances of making back to the postseason for the sixth straight year are about zero.
Justin Tucker will probably he showing film of this game to his kids and grandkids for the rest of his life. In one of the most impressive regular-season kicking performances in recent NFL history, Tucker nailed three field goals of over 50 yards in the first half (52, 57, 54), becoming the first kicker in NFL history to do that in a first half (Phil Dawson did it in the second half of a game in 2012).
Pretty sure this is Justin Tucker's "Are you not entertained" face. Ravens kicker nailed a 57-yard FG against the Bengals pic.twitter.com/dqjTM7teeE— John Breech (@johnbreech) November 27, 2016
Just for fun, Tucker also added a 36-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. The Ravens won with defense and special teams, which is probably exactly how John Harbaugh drew it up.
Atlanta 38-19 over Arizona
Going into Sunday, the Cardinals had the NFL's top-ranked defense in terms of total yards. That's probably not going to be the case next week after what happened in Atlanta. The Cardinals gave up 360 yards of offense, marking only the third time this season Arizona has surrendered over 310 yards, and not surprisingly, the Cards are 0-3 in those games. There was no way the Cardinals were going to win a shootout with the way Carson Palmer got beat up in this game. Palmer got hit roughly 10 times and was sacked twice. That being said, even when Palmer had time to throw, he wasn't great. The Cards quarterback completed just 25 of 45 passes for 289 yards.
America, meet Taylor Gabriel. The undrafted rookie, who was once released by the Browns, shredded the Cardinals defense by catching four passes for 75 yards. After Gabriel's second touchdown, which came on a 25-yard catch-and-run in the fourth quarter, the Falcons made sure to rub things in Cleveland's face for giving up on Gabriel.
Gabriel did all that against the NFL's No. 1-ranked defense.
The Falcons also got a big game from their defense, which is almost completely shut down Arizona's ground game. The Falcons limited the Cardinals to just 58 yards rushing, and are now 5-0 in the past five games where they held their opponent under 60 yards rushing.
N.Y. Giants 27-13 over Cleveland
Odell Beckham left this game early with a thumb injury and it's a good thing he returned because the Giants really, really needed him in Cleveland. The Browns just couldn't cover Beckham, who caught six passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns. Odell was even kind enough to incorporate Cavs star LeBron James into one of his TD celebrations.
Despite Odell's performance, the Giants should be slightly concerned that they were only able to put up 296 yards on a Browns defense that was giving up 409 yards per game going into Sunday. The Browns were one of only two teams -- along with the 49ers -- giving up over 400 yards per game going into Week 12.
One of the reasons Browns' quarterbacks get beat up so often is because they have no running game to help them. The Browns rushed for just 58 yards against the Giants, marking the sixth time in 12 games this season that Cleveland hasn't hit the 60-yard mark. The Browns have dozens of problems and it would take a book-length critique to do them all justice, so we'll just stick with that one for this week's grades.
New Orleans 49-21 over Los Angeles
Gregg Williams' return to New Orleans couldn't have gone any worse for the former Saints defensive coordinator. Now in Los Angeles with the Rams, Williams watched his defense give up 555 yards and 49 points to the Saints. The yardage total was the most Rams have given up in any game since 1990. The point total was also ugly and that's mainly because the Rams had only given up 50 points in their previous four games combined. The Saints almost matched that in one week. This game was the first time the Rams have given up 49 points since 2002. The only bright spot for Los Angeles was that Jared Goff actually looked somewhat competent. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft threw three first-half touchdown passes before disappearing in the second half. Goff also committed two ugly turnovers in the game.
When you torch the NFL's sixth-ranked defense for 555 yards, you get an 'A+'. Although the Saints offense revolves around Drew Brees, the New Orleans quarterback got some serious help from a Saints running game that totaled 209 yards. Since Sean Payton became coach in 2006, the Saints have only rushed for 200 or more yards 10 times, and they're now 10-0 in those games. The most surprising stat of the game probably came from the Saints defense. New Orleans held the Rams to just 247 yards, marking the second week in a row that the once beleaguered defense has held a team under 250 yards. Actually, maybe the most surprising stat was that Willie Snead threw a 50-yard TD pass.
Miami 31-24 over San Francisco
The good news for the 49ers: No one in the locker room has given up on Chip Kelly yet. The bad news: The 49ers just set a franchise record with their 10th straight loss. The 49ers lost to Miami despite an impressive performance from Colin Kaepernick, who became just the fifth player since the AFL-NFL merger to throw for at least 250 yards and rush for at least 100 yards in the same game. Cam Newton has done it three times, while Russell Wilson, Michael Vick and Marcus Mariota have all done it once. If Kaepernick had managed to get two more rushing yards, this game might've gone to overtime. The 49ers quarterback was tackled on the Dolphins' 2-yard line on the final play of the game.
The 49ers went into Sunday's game with the NFL's worst rushing defense, so this felt like a game where Jay Ajayi would run wild. That didn't happen. Instead, Ryan Tannehill's right arm went wild. Tannehill had arguably his best game of the year with 285 yards and three touchdown passes. The only real ugly part of this game for the Dolphins is that they gave up 475 yards to one of the league's worst offenses. The Dolphins might want to think about moving to the West Coast after winning their third straight against a team from California (Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco). That stretch has helped Miami win six straight overall, the team's longest winning streak since 2005.
San Diego 21-13 over Houston
Philip Rivers seems to find a new favorite receiver every week, and this week, it was Dontrelle Inman, who caught six passes for 119 yards and a touchdown. Rivers threw three touchdown passes in the game, marking the second game in a row that he has done that. The good news for San Diego is that Rivers' three TD passes didn't come with four interceptions like they did in their last game against the Dolphins. The most impressive thing about this win is that it happened in Houston, where the Texans had been undefeated (5-0) this season.
Brock Osweiler seems to be doing everything he can to throw away the Texans' division title chances. In a game against one of the NFL's best rushing defenses, the Texans needed Osweiler to produce and he didn't. Well, he did produce interceptions, but that's not what the Texans wanted. Osweiler threw three picks in this game and zero touchdown passes. Of course, you can't completely blame Osweiler for the loss. Lamar Miller also had a huge fumble after a play that would've put the Texans in the red zone.
Tampa Bay 14-5 over Seattle
The Seahawks' offensive line was so bad in Tampa that it was almost like Russell Wilson didn't even have a line in front of him Sunday. Wilson was sacked six times in a game that was arguably the worst offensive performance of the year for Seattle. The Seahawks couldn't run, they couldn't pass, and really, the only thing they did right was play defense, holding the Bucs to just 14 points. Before this year, that kind of defensive effort usually meant a win for the Seahawks. From 2012-15, the Seahawks went 32-1 when holding an opponent to 14 points or less. That hasn't been the case in 2016 though, with Seattle going just 1-2-1 in games where they hold their opponent under 14 points.
Not many teams can punch the Seahawks in the mouth and get away with it, but that's exactly what the Buccaneers did Sunday. Tampa played its best defensive game of the season and absolutely shut down the Seahawks' offensive attack. The Seahawks were limited to 245 totals yards, marking just the fifth time in Wilson's career that they've been held under 250. It's almost impossible to believe that this same Bucs defense surrendered 626 yards to the Raiders in October. On offense, the Bucs didn't go wild, but they did just enough to earn the win. Two touchdown passes from Jameis Winston to Mike Evans were all Tampa needed to pull off just the second 14-5 win in NFL history.
New England 22-17 over NY Jets
A gimpy Tom Brady is better than no Tom Brady. Despite the fact that Brady was battling a sore knee, the Patriots had their star quarterback throw the ball 50 times. Brady responded with 286 yards and two touchdowns in a performance that was somewhat of a rarity. The game marked only the fifth time in Brady's career that he has attempted 50 or more passes with multiple touchdowns and zero interceptions. That probably won't be the Brady stat people remember from this game, though. That honor goes to the fact that this was Brady's 200th career win (regular season and postseason), tying Peyton Manning for the most in NFL history.
This game was almost a dream come true for Jets fans, but then it turned into a nightmare late in the fourth quarter. With New York leading 17-16 and just under six minutes left, the Jets were looking to melt some time off the clock, but they couldn't even do that right. A Ryan Fitzpatrick intentional grounding penalty was followed by a Ryan Fitzpatrick incomplete pass, which was then followed by a Jets punt with 5:16 left. You can probably guess what happened after the Jets gave the ball back to Tom Brady with five minutes left in a one-point game. This one's going to sting for awhile in New York, because for 55 minutes, it looked like the Jets were going to pull off the biggest upset of Week 12.
Oakland 35-32 over Carolina
With linebacker Luke Kuechly and pass rusher Mario Addison held out of the game, the Panthers struggled to stop the Raiders' offense Sunday. Carolina's defense was especially ugly on third down, letting the Raiders convert eight of their 15 attempts. That total includes a third-and-9 and third-and-11 that Carolina surrendered on two separate Raiders scoring drives in the fourth quarter. Offensively, Cam Newton is probably going to cringe every time he watches film of this game, especially when he sees the ugly pick-six that he threw to Khalil Mack on a second-quarter screen pass. The only good news to come out of this game for Newton is that he finally got a roughing the passer call.
This game could've easily gotten ugly for the Raiders, and that's mainly because their defense couldn't stop Carolina, they had no run game and their quarterback had a jammed pinkie on his throwing hand.
Despite those obstacles, the Raiders held on for the win thanks to Derek Carr, who threw for 315 yards and two touchdowns while wearing a glove on his throwing hand that he was forced to put on after he suffered his pinkie injury. Another banged-up player also played a big role in his game. Michael Crabtree, who was questionable to play after suffering an ankle injury last week, caught two passes for 64 yards on an 82-yard drive in the fourth quarter that led to Sebastian Janikowski's winning field goal.
Kansas City 30-27 over Denver
In the future, when coaches talk about how you need all three units of your team to come through to win, film of the Chiefs from this game is what they're going to show you. The Chiefs' defense dominated for three quarters, then got bailed out by the offense in the fourth quarter with an improbable touchdown pass from Alex Smith to Tyreek Hill with just 12 seconds left. The only thing more improbable than Smith's touchdown pass was Cairo Santos' game-winning field goal, which doinked off the left upright and then went through behind the right upright. It almost defied physics. Hill almost defied physics in this game, too. The Chiefs speedster became the first rookie since 1965 to have a receiving touchdown, rushing touchdown and return touchdown all in the same game. Justin Houston was also impressive, tallying 10 tackles and three sacks.
Gary Kubiak might be kicking himself (pun intended) after letting Brandon McManus try a 62-yard field goal in overtime. McManus' miss set up the the Chiefs' winning field goal. Of course, everyone on the Broncos' roster will probably be kicking themselves after this game. After limiting the Chiefs offense to just 145 yards through the first three quarters, the Broncos' defense gave up 128 yards and 14 points over the final three minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime (the Chiefs also got nine points in the second quarter on a safety and kickoff-return TD). Bennie Fowler will also probably be kicking himself for not taking a knee after a big catch in the fourth quarter. On a third-and-2 play, Fowler caught a Trevor Seimien pass and went 76 yards for a touchdown when the Chiefs had no timeouts. If Fowler had gone down, the Broncos likely could've milked the clock and won. You see, everyone in Denver is kicking themselves, even Von Miller, who had three of his team's six sacks.