The Browns seem to have their quarterback in 21 year old DeShone Kizer.
"Ya done good, kid!" That's my comment to DeShone Kizer, who exceeded my expectations. An ordinary 20 for 30 for 222 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT is actually very good for a 21 year old quarterback making his first NFL start. As I have pointed out previously, NO ONE has EVER had a good year playing quarterback in the NFL at age 21. To be sure, few players have entered the league at such a young age, but nevertheless they have all had bad first years. Bernie Kosar may have been the best 21 year old quarterback of all time, and even he went only 4-6 in 1985 with a rating of 69.3, subbing for an injured Gary Danielson, who was the much better player at that time (4-2).
DeShone made some rookie mistakes, like holding onto the ball too long, and taking a hit he didn't need to take. But the kid has a rocket arm, he's fast an athletic, and seems to have great football smarts. Mark me down as a fan, even though I don't think he is going to have a great statistical year until 2018 or 2019.
Let's talk about the seven sacks. Once again the Steelers beat up the Browns offensive line, and then stole their lunch money and wouldn't give it back. They may get Kizer killed. They didn't do much for the running game either as the running backs rushed 20 times for only 40 yards. It was so bad I started to miss Cameron Erving.
Tight ends Seth DeValve and David Njoku were in the lineup together a few times, and both had good games. Likewise, Corey Coleman looked like a viable number one receiver, with 5 catches for 53 yards and a TD. Ricardo Louis also showed some potential, getting two catches for 32 yards. Kenny Britt continued to look disinterested, with a spectacular drop at a crucial point in the fourth quarter, and only 1 catch for 13 yards. On any other team he would be benched, but on the Browns he is the second best receiver on the team. Part of the problem is that the Steelers somehow came up with a Pro Bowl cornerback who shut down the Browns wide receiver corps. That would be Joe Haden, of course.
Ask Seth DeValve whether Joe Haden is through.
Duke Johnson played in the slot most of the game. On this team, that is definitely where he is needed.
The defense played well for the most part, giving up 14 points. The other touchdown came on a special teams breakdown on the first possession. Joe Schobert impressed me by once again appearing to be much faster on the field than he is on the track. Joe was timed at a slow 4.76 seconds at the combine, but on the field he looks very fast, and was able to handle LeVeon Bell, who rushed for only 32 yards on 10 carries.
The difference maker was Antonio Brown, with 11 catches for 182 yards. Brian Boddy Calhoun and Jamar Taylor were unable to cover Brown, plus the defensive line was unable to put enough pressure on Roethlisberger to slow him down.
Special teams was a disaster, of course, with a blocked punt that resulted in a score for the Steelers. This needs to be fixed.
All in all, it wasn't a great performance, but I had prepared for much worse. Now the Browns go on the road to face the Baltimore Ravens, who whipped up on the Bengals today, 20-0. Yikes.