The Cleveland Browns were supposed to be a different team. They had a new coach, a new direction and had finally figured out their mess at quarterback. Oh, and they added an elite playmaker in Odell Beckham Jr. Then they actually played a football game and it all fell apart.
In Week 1, the new Browns looked a heck of a lot like the old Browns as they got hammered at home by the Tennessee Titans, losing 43-13.
Baker Mayfield showed up after a ton of offseason hype and looked less like the franchise’s savior and more like the latest in a long line of high-profile quarterback failures. He finished the game completing 25-of-38 passes for 285 yards, with one touchdown and three interceptions. All of those picks were terrible too. He made bad reads all over the field and hurt the offense more than he helped it.
New head coach Freddie Kitchens directed an offense that put up just 346 yards despite having a wealth of talent. Beckham caught seven passes for 71 yards and failed to make any truly big plays. Nick Chubb was the only offensive bright spot for the Browns, as he rushed for 74 yards on 16 carries.
Meanwhile, Cleveland was about as disciplined as Tristan Thompson around an Instagram model. They racked up 18 penalties for (wait for it…) 182 yards. Yes, 182 freaking yards in penalties!
It was a disaster from start to finish. The Titans looked like world-beaters, while the Browns looked destined to return to the bottom of the AFC North. It was horrible for anyone who placed faith in a Cleveland franchise that badly needed to maintain momentum. The Browns have gotten nothing but good press since finishing last season on a 5-2 run and adding key pieces in the offseason.
Obviously the Browns can turn this all around. But other than a few sacks from Myles Garrett, what do they have to hang their hat on from this week? We’ll find out what they’re made of in Week 2 when they face the New York Jets on Monday Night Football.
Mayfield and company were one of the NFL’s most-hyped teams this offseason, in Week 1 they looked utterly incapable of living up to those expectations.