3 takeaways from Browns’ Week 17 loss | Launderer report


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    Don Wright / Associated Press

    The Cleveland Browns have one more game to play in the regular season. However, it’s now a guarantee that they won’t play beyond week 18.

    While Cleveland entered Week 17 with a shot at still qualifying for the playoffs, that is no longer the case. On Monday night, the Browns fell to 7-9 with a 26-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. It wouldn’t have mattered if Cleveland had won, as he was knocked out of the playoffs a day earlier.

    It was the Browns’ third consecutive loss, and their recent struggles have led them to retire from AFC North and AFC wild-card races.

    Cleveland reduced Pittsburgh’s lead to 19-14 with one minute and 10 seconds left on Monday night, as Baker Mayfield threw a one-yard touchdown pass to Harrison Bryant. But the Steelers sealed the game just 19 seconds later when Najee Harris responded with a 37-yard touchdown.

    Here are three takeaways from the Browns’ loss in Week 17.

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    Don Wright / Associated Press

    Mayfield suffered a shoulder injury for much of the season, and it was clear that was still the case Monday night. The Browns quarterback completed just 16 of his 38 attempted passes throwing for 185 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He has also been sacked nine times.

    Following the loss, Mayfield announced that he plans to have shoulder surgery in the future so he can get back into shape for the 2022 season. However, it is not known if he will play the season finale. of Cleveland versus the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 18.

    “I kept playing the game when I wasn’t healthy and tried to fight for our guys,” Mayfield said, by ESPN’s Jake Trotter. “Right now I’m pretty darn down, to be honest with you. There’s no getting around that. I gave everything I had tonight.”

    But there’s really no reason for Mayfield to play in the Browns’ last game. There’s nothing on the line for Cleveland, and Cincinnati has already clinched the AFC North title. And with Mayfield injured, it’s possible he’ll feel even worse after another game.

    It’s been a tough season for Mayfield, and there’s nothing to be gained from him playing it. If he’s still going to be the Browns’ long-term answer to QB, then he should be healthy as soon as possible so he can come out in 2022 and prove it.

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    Gene J. Puskar / Associated press

    After missing the previous two games while on the reserve / COVID-19 roster, Jadeveon Clowney made a big impact when he returned to defense for the Browns on Monday night. He had six tackles and two sacks, bringing his season sack total to seven, his record since 2018 (nine).

    However, Clowney also made a mistake early in the game that turned out to be costly. And it was one that could have been easily avoided.

    During Pittsburgh’s opening practice in the second quarter, Clowney made a save by tackling wide receiver Chase Claypool before a first down on a 3rd and 10 at the 36-yard Cleveland line. But Claypool’s shoe came off and Clowney then threw it, earning him an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

    The move extended the Steelers’ practice, and they then scored a touchdown that gave them a 7-0 lead. Maybe things would have turned out differently if Pittsburgh hadn’t entered the end zone with that possession.

    So while Clowney continues to be a force on the Browns’ defensive front, he needs to make better decisions, as bad choices can end up seriously damaging the team.

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    Don Wright / Associated Press

    Had the Browns made the playoffs this season, it would have marked the first time they’ve reached the playoffs in consecutive years since the franchise returned in 1999. They’ve only made the playoffs twice in the past. total (2002 and 2020) during this period. .

    However, there is reason to believe that Cleveland could return to the playoffs in the 2022 season. There have been some bright spots this season as he started 3-1 and had a winning record (7- 6) at the end of Week 14. So it was still a better team than the Browns have had for much of the past two decades.

    With plenty of strong young players on both sides of the ball, Cleveland might only get better in the near future. And there’s a chance the team will take action in the next offseason to further strengthen their roster and make them a contender.

    So, while the Browns will end the 2021 season with a loss record, there should always be optimism for the future. It might not be obvious in the final against the Bengals (with nothing on the line), but things could improve a lot next season.

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