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Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Oakland at Cleveland: 3 Things We Learned

Oakland Raiders' rookie quarterback Derek Carr played a solid game Sunday, throwing for 328 yards, despite being pressured by Cleveland's defense for most of the game.  Carr completed 34 of 54 pass attempts, in addition to thowing a touchdown pass, while not tossing an interception in the game.  The Raiders elected to bring Matt Schaub in for a fake field goal play, which saw him fumble the ball, recover it, and then threw an interception to Browns safety Tashaun Gipson.

The biggest downside for the Raiders was committing three turnovers in the game, one of which resulted in a Cleveland touchdown late in the 4th quarter that sealed the game for the Browns.  Cleveland is now 4-3 and in last place in the AFC North, but only a half game out of first place.  Clevland has already had their bye week, while the remaining three teams in the AFC North haven't had their week off yet.

One fact that must be covered about this game, is how the Browns' offense remained efficient depite their running game being non-existent Sunday.  Cleveland's leading rusher in the game was veteran Ben Tate, who rushed for only 26 yards on 15 carries for a putrid 1.7 average per carry.  Rookie running back Terrence West couldn't get it going either, rushing for only 11 yards on 7 carries for a 1.6 average per carry.

If not for the three turnovers by Oakland, the Cleveland Browns might have given another winless team their first victory of the season.  A win is a win, but when you struggle for two straight weeks against winless opponents, it doesn't bode well for the Browns, who still have four tough home games coming up against the Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Cleveland's road schedule looks worse over the second half of the season, playing the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, and the Cincinnati Bengals.  If they intend to compete for the AFC North title, they must elevate their level of play to a point greater than what they showcased during the last two games against cupcake teams at this level.


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