Hue Jackson might want to take some time this week and actually figure out who his quarterback is, because after seven weeks, he still seems to have no idea.
For the second time this month, Jackson benched starter DeShone Kizer in the middle of a game in favor of his backup, and for the second time this month, that strategy failed. As a matter of fact, none of Jackson's strategies have really worked since he took over as the Browns' coach before the 2016 season. In 23 games with the team, Jackson has put together a 1-22 record.
One of the reasons that the Browns got rid of Johnny Manziel is because they didn't want to deal with the circus that came with Johnny Football. Although it now looks like Manziel was just a sideshow in the never-ending circus that is the Browns. Almost fittingly, Kizer had his own Manziel-like experience Friday when he , just two days before a game.
If the Browns had won, no one would've cared, but since they lost -- and Kizer threw two interceptions -- it's starting to feel like Jackson has lost total control of the team. With the quarterback situation, it feels like we're two weeks away from Jackson picking random fans to play the position for the Browns.
Grossi: Hue admitted we may go through the rest of the season with QBs in-and-out.— ESPN Cleveland (@ESPNCleveland) October 22, 2017
The two quarterbacks who did play against Tennessee -- Kizer and Cody Kessler -- didn't do anything to prove they should be the starting quarterback going forward. The quarterbacks struggled so badly that Tennessee safety Kevin Byard was basically the Browns' second-leading receiver in the game with three catches (interceptions) for 60 (return) yards.
It's not just the quarterback situation that Jackson is struggling with; he's also making baffling on-field decisions. Against the Titans, Jackson declined a 15-yard penalty on third-and-1 that would have made it third-and-16 for Tennessee's offense from the Browns' 47-yard line. The call would've potentially knocked the Titans out of field goal range, but Jackson declined it. After that, the Titans had a fourth-and-1 that they ended up converting because the Browns jumped offsides.
This week in "That's So Browns"— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) October 22, 2017
Hue Jackson declines Taylor Lewan facemask penalty on 3rd and 1.
Titans go on fourth.
Browns are offsides.
How costly was the decsion? The Titans ended up getting a field goal on the drive in a game the Browns only lost by three points.
As if this nightmare season wasn't bad enough, the lone beacon of light on the year has now been extinguished. Offensive lineman Joe Thomas, who had played in 10,363 straight snaps dating back to 2007, finally saw his streak end on Sunday. Thomas suffered a triceps injury and .
At this point, if I were a Browns fan I'd be rooting for two or three wins just so the team doesn't get the first pick in the draft because the last thing I'd want to see in April is the Browns adding another QB to Jackson's circus.
Tennessee 12-9 (OT) over Cleveland
The Titans only played well enough to beat one team in the NFL on Sunday and lucky for them, they were playing that team. Although they were outgained by the winless Browns, Cleveland gave them gift after gift after gift in the form of three interceptions and some highly questionable playcalling. With Marcus Mariota (hamstring) still hobbling, the Titans continued to turn to their kicker to provide all their offense. Ryan Succop hit four field goals in this game (43, 23, 46, 47), which came one week after he hit five field goals in the Titans' 36-22 win over the Colts.
Although we're giving the Browns an 'F' here, we should point out that this grade does not apply to Zane Gonzalez. The Browns' kicker was the lone bright spot for the team on Sunday, hitting field goals from 31, 47, and 54 yards. The 54-yarder came with just 47 seconds left in regulation, sending the game to overtime.
L.A. Rams 33-0 over Arizona in London
After what happened in this game, the Cardinals are probably going to ask the NFL to never send them to London ever again. Not only did the Cards get embarrassed on the scoreboard, but they lost their starting quarterback to a broken arm. Carson Palmer will likely , which means we can probably go ahead and write off the Cards for the rest of the season ... unless they want to call Colin Kaepernick.
We're only seven weeks into the 2017 season and the Rams have already surpassed their win total from 2016 thanks to Sunday's shutout of the Cardinals. Not only did they hand the Cardinals their worst loss of the Bruce Arians era, but they did it by doing something that most teams can't do against Arizona: running all over them. Todd Gurley finished the game with 106 yards, marking the first time in 19 games that a back hit the 100-yard rushing mark against the Cards' defense. The Rams also shut down Adrian Peterson and proved that the old guys in Arizona were no match for Sean McVay's merry band of millennials.
Minnesota 24-16 over Baltimore
It's starting to look like Justin Tucker is basically the Ravens' entire offense. The Ravens have lost four of their past five games and that's been most because their offense has been sputtering. The team's offensive woes definitely didn't end in Minnesota, as the Ravens were only able to muster 208 total yards. Before a Joe Flacco touchdown pass on the final play of the game, the Ravens' only points had come from three Tucker field goals (47, 48, 57). The Ravens' offense was bad before this game, and things only got worse after they lost Mike Wallace to a concussion in the first half.
The Vikings beat the Ravens at their own game on Sunday, and that game is using defense and special teams to prop up a struggling quarterback. The Vikings' defense totals five sacks and Kai Forbath kicked six field goals in a performance that was so good it didn't matter that Case Keenum was completely erratic on the day (188 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT). The good news for the Vikings' offense is that it didn't have to depend on Keenum in the game. In his biggest game since signing with the Vikings earlier this year, Latavius Murray rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown.
Chicago 17-3 over Carolina
For the first time in team history, the Panthers lost a game where they gave up fewer than 160 yards of total offense to their opponent. Before Sunday, Carolina had been 8-0 all-time when holding an opponent to under 160 yards, but that changed due to an ugly performance from the Panthers' offense. Not only did they turn the ball over three times, but two of those turnovers -- a fumble and an interception -- were returned for touchdowns in the first half. Cam Newton faced constant pressure and was sacked a total of five times. The three points scored by the Panthers was their lowest scoring total since Newton's rookie year in 2011 when they also scored three in a loss to Tennessee.
In what might go down as the most improbable win in Chicago Bears history, the Bears won this game despite the fact that they only totaled five first downs and completed just five passes in the entire game. The Bears were able to do that because one of their defensive players almost totaled more yards than their entire offense. Safety Eddie Jackson returned a fumble 75 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter and then followed that up with a 76-yard pick-six in the second which accounted for every touchdown in the game and allowed him to personally nearly outgain his own offense: The Bears offense' put up 153 yards to Jackson's 151. The Bears were the first team since 2011 to win a game , and in a twist of fate that's almost too impossible to believe, John Fox was also the winning coach in that game (Broncos 17-10 over Chiefs). This obviously means that Mitchell Trubisky is the perfect QB for Fox. The Bears rookie has completed a total of 12 passes over the past two weeks and the Bears are 2-0 in that stretch.
Jacksonville 27-0 over Indianapolis
We might be four months away from a Super Bowl shuffle starring the Jaguars because Jacksonville's defensive is slowly morphing into the 1985 Bears. With Yannick Ngakoue and his 2.5 sacks leading the way, the Jags racked up 10 sacks against the Colts and coincidentally became the first team since the 1984 Bears to in one season. Oh, and we probably shouldn't forget about Blake Bortles. The Jaguars quarterback threw for 330 yards and helped Jacksonville hit the 500-yard mark in total offense for the first time this century. Jacksonville's 518 total yards was the third highest total in team history. At 4-3, the Jags are above .500 this late in the season for the first time since 2007.
There's a good chance that most of the players on the Colts roster don't even remember the last time that Indy got shut out, and that's because most of them weren't even alive. Before Sunday, the last time the Colts got blanked came in December 1993. The Colts defense was just as bad as their offense, giving up 518 yards to a Jaguars team that didn't even have Leonard Fournette. The 518 yards is the second most that the Colts have given up in a home game since moving to Indy in 1984. The Colts were so bad that if a lower grade than an 'F' was available to give out, we would've given it to them.
New Orleans 26-17 over Green Bay
Sometimes it's easy to forget that Ted Ginn still plays in the NFL, but he gave us our annual reminder on Sunday. The Saints receiver caught seven passes for 141 yards, which was the second highest receiving total of this 11-year career. Drew Brees got off to an ugly start in this game with interceptions on the Saints' first two drives, but he caught fire after that. Brees and the Saints scored on their first four drives of the second half, which allowed them to put the game away. On the ground, Mark Ingram clearly seems to be enjoying the fact that Adrian Peterson is no longer on the team. Ingram rushed for 105 yards, giving him two straight 100-plus yard rushing games since Peterson was traded. That's especially impressive you realize that Ingram hadn't had back-to-back 100-yard games since 2014.
With one Aaron down (Rodgers), the Packers found another Aaron to step up (Jones). Aaron Jones rushed for 131 yards and a touchdown to help the Packers stay in this game. Unfortunately for Green Bay, Jones doesn't play quarterback, and that's the position that hurt Green Bay the most against New Orleans. In his first career start, Brett Hundley did show off his mobility (three rushes, 44 yards, 1 TD), but he didn't show off much else. The Packers quarterback was an ugly 12 of 25 for 87 yards in the game.
Miami 31-28 over N.Y. Jets
There's a reason that Josh McCown has been an NFL quarterback since 2004, and that reason was on display during the first 59 minutes of this game. In that span, McCown looked like Joe Namath, completing 16 of 26 passes for 205 yards and three touchdowns. Of course, there's also a reason why McCown is a journeyman quarterback who can't seem to earn a permanent starting spot anywhere in the NFL and that part of his game was also on display against Miami. With just 47 seconds left in a 28-28 game, McCown threw one of the ugliest interceptions you'll ever see.
That pick set up the game-winning field for the Dolphins and cost the Jets the game. Of course, you can't completely blame McCown because he was the only reason the Jets were even in the game. The Jets didn't have much of a running game (92 yards) and their defense got torched for 357 yards by the Dolphins, which is basically the equivalent of giving up 700 yards to a normal team. The yardage total was the Dolphins' highest of the season and marked only the second time they've even cracked 300 yards on the year.
The Dolphins might have a quarterback controversy on their hands after this win. After Jay Cutler went down with a chest injury, Matt Moore came in and led the Dolphins back from a 28-14 deficit. Moore led the Dolphins to 17 points in the game's final 11:21 to help Miami pick up the win. This game marks the second week in a row that the Dolphins were trailing by 14 or more in the second half and still won. Maybe the Dolphins should just spot the Ravens two touchdowns in Week 8. This was really a banner day for the Dolphins: Not only did they win, but they scored their first touchdown in the first half all season. They also scored in the second quarter for the first time all season.
Buffalo 30-27 over Tampa Bay
If you turn the ball over three times during a game in the NFL, there's a good chance you're going to lose, and that's exactly what the Bucs did on Sunday. Of the three turnovers, the ugliest one came from Adam Humphries, who fumbled the ball away to the Bills with under three minutes left to play in a game that was tied at 27. Humphries' fumble set up the Bills' game-winning field goal. Teams that turn the ball over three or more times are now 3-34 in the NFL this season. The one encouraging thing in this game for the Bucs is that Jameis Winston looked healthy, despite playing with an injured shoulder. Winston threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns. The yardage total was the second highest of his career.
There's only one AFC team that's still undefeated at home, and that team is the Bills. It's fitting that the win came in Buffalo because the Bills' running game looked like a buffalo stampede against the Bucs. The Bills rushed for 173 yards as a team, with 91 yards and two touchdowns coming from LeSean McCoy. The Bills also got a big game from a player they literally signed this week: Deonte Thompson. Thompson learned just enough of the playbook to catch four passes for 107 yards, a total that led all receivers in the game.
Dallas 40-10 over San Francisco
The Cowboys offense put up a lot of big numbers last season, but one thing they didn't do was rack up 500 total yards. Well, Dak Precott can finally check that goal off his career bucket list. Prescott threw for 234 yards and three touchdowns as the Cowboys rolled to 501 yards of total offense. Prescott also rushed for 26 yards and a touchdown. Despite those numbers, he might not have even been the most impressive player in the game. That honor probably belongs to Ezekiel Elliott, who totaled 219 yards and three touchdowns against a 49ers defense that couldn't figure out how to tackle him.
After six weeks of losing with Brian Hoyer at quarterback, the 49ers decided they would rather lose with rookie C.J. Beathard under center, which led to the team's ugliest game of the season. After setting an NFL record by playing in five straight games where they lost by three or less points, the 49ers got blown out of this one in a game that was never close. A rookie quarterback starting for a winless team is basically a recipe for disaster and that's exactly what the 49ers got in this game. Beathard lost two fumbles and the 49ers defense had no answers for the high-powered Cowboys offense.
Pittsburgh 29-14 over Cincinnati
Almost every week, Andy Dalton throws at least five passes that leave Bengals fans completely scratching their head and that definitely happened in this game. Not only did Dalton throw two interceptions, but he threw away a pass on FOURTH DOWN in the fourth quarter in a situation where you didn't need to throw it away because an interception wouldn't have mattered. Of course, Dalton was only a small part of the problem against the Steelers. The bigger problem for the Bengals is that new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor possibly called the worst game of the season in Cincinnati, which is saying a lot because this is a team that has fired an offensive coordinator already. After putting Joe Mixon in a position to run wild in the first half (seven carries, 48 yards), the Bengals gave him the ball zero times in the second half. A.J. Green also didn't have a catch in the second. Really, no one did anything for the Bengals in the second half because they only totaled 19 yards.
It looks Le'Veon Bell has finally worked all the rust off. After struggling through the first three weeks of the season, Bell hit the 130-yard rushing mark for the second week in a row. After racking up 179 yards against the Chiefs in Week 6, Bell followed that up with 134 yards against the Bengals. Believe it or not, this is the first time in his career that Bell has gone over 130 yards in back-to-back games. The suddenly-hot Steelers are starting to look like they might be the best team in the AFC.
L.A. Chargers 21-0 over Denver
One of the most impressive scoring streaks in NFL history came crashing to an end in this game. With zero points, the Broncos were shut out for the first time in 25 years. The Broncos might want to start avoiding L.A. in the future because the city seems to be bad luck. Before Sunday, the team's last shutout also came against an L.A. team (Raiders) back in November 1992. The only reason the Broncos didn't get a failing grade is because their defense was actually somewhat impressive, holding the Chargers to under 250 total yards (242).
If someone in L.A. is looking for a new reality show idea, they should do the "Travis Benjamin Show" because the Chargers receiver put on a huge show against the Broncos. Not only did he catch a 41-yard touchdown pass in the game, but he also returned a punt 65-yards for another score. The Chargers defense then did the rest: Joey Bosa and Chris McCain each racked up two sacks for an L.A. defense that sacked Trevor Siemian five times.
Seattle 24-7 over N.Y. Giants
If the secret to beating the Seahawks is making Russell Wilson throw the ball, then the rest of the NFL might need to come up with a new secret because the old one might not be working anymore. Wilson had one of the best games of his career, finished 27 of 39 for 334 yards and three touchdowns. Of course, Wilson also got some help from a Seahawks' defense that held the Giants to just 177 total yards, which is pretty much a magic number for Seattle. Since Pete Carroll was hired in 2010, the Seahawks are 15-0 when holding an opponent under 200 yards.
After shocking the Broncos in Week 6, the Giants came crashing back to earth on Sunday with one of their worst games of the season, and that's saying a lot for a one-win team that's had a lot of bad games. The Giants didn't even hit the 50-yard mark on the ground and Eli Manning couldn't complete a pass to save his life. Manning's completion percentage of 48.7 (19 of 39) was his lowest since 2013. This game was actually must closer than the score indicated. The Giants had a chance to tie things up at 10 in the fourth quarter, but kicker Aldrick Rosas missed a 47-yard field goal. The Giants had an ugly fourth quarter that included a lost fumble, a punt, a turnover on downs and the missed field goal.
New England 23-7 over Atlanta
The Falcons might want to call Kyle Shanahan and see if he's interested in returning because whatever Steve Sarkisian is doing with the Falcons offense doesn't seem to be working. Matt Ryan was only able to throw for 233 yards against a Patriots defense that had surrendered 300 or more yards to every quarterback it had faced before Sunday. The Falcons also inexplicably gave up on the run even though Devonta Freeman averaged six yards per carry in the game (12 carries, 72 yards). Of course, maybe it's just the AFC East. The Falcons are 3-0 against NFC teams this year and 0-3 against the AFC East. If that's the case, the nightmare stretch isn't quite over for Atlanta yet because they play the Jets next week.
The Patriots don't get the ground game going often, but when they do, they're basically unbeatable. Including Sunday night's win, the Patriots are now 29-0 when they rush for 160 or more yards in a game. The Patriots rushed for 162 against the Falcons by using nearly everyone in their stable of running backs: Dion Lewis (76), Mike Gillislee (31), Rex Burkhead (31) and James White (19) all contributed to the cause. When the run game gets going, that opens things up for Tom Brady, who efficiently shredded the Falcons for 229 yards and two touchdowns. This game had slightly less drama than the last game between these two teams, but that's probably the way Bill Belichick likes it.