Browns: Frustration After Third Straight Defeat
Through seven games, this season has gone nothing like the Browns anticipated. They fell to 2-5 after losing their third straight game Sunday, 27-13, to the unbeaten New England Patriots.
It was another loss in which Cleveland was hurt by mental and physical errors. During one first-half sequence, the Browns turned the ball over on three consecutive plays, including this weird one where Baker Mayfield tossed the ball straight into Lawrence Guy's face.
The Browns committed 13 penalties. Mayfield threw another interception, his 12th, and is tied with Jameis Winston for the league lead in that category. Star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. only has one touchdown catch, as he and Mayfield have struggled to find consistent chemistry.
At his postgame press conference, Mayfield shouldered the blame for not playing well enough to help the Browns win.
"It's just non-disciplined, guys not being focused on doing their job," Mayfield said via NFL.com. "It starts first and foremost with me, to be a leader every single down."
First-year Head Coach Freddie Kitchens also faced post-game questions about his decision-making. Trailing by 13 points, he sent the punt team out on fourth-and-11 in the fourth quarter and instructed them to take a false start to save a time out. After the penalty made it fourth-and-16, he sent the offense back onto the field and Mayfield was sacked, giving the ball back to New England.
"I didn't want to use the timeout and I wanted to go for it," Kitchens said via the team’s website. "We had half our guys running off, half our guys running on and I wasn't giving up right then and punting the ball to them."
On paper, the Browns' schedule the rest of the way looks less challenging than their first seven games. However, Cleveland needs a win badly heading into next Sunday's game in Denver against the Broncos. Kitchens said the Browns need to cut back on turnovers and penalties to turn around their season.
"We expect more out of ourselves," Kitchens said. "Everybody in the locker room understands what needs to change. Everybody's got to make that commitment to changing."
Bengals: Not Expected to Be Active at Trade Deadline
The Bengals are 0-8, their worst start since 2008, but may not make any trades prior to Tuesday's deadline.
Multiple teams reportedly have interest in Bengals veterans like wide receiver A.J. Green, defensive linemen Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and tight end Tyler Eifert. However, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS, Bengals owner Mike Brown has been opposed to making a trade.
After dropping a 24-10 decision to the Los Angeles Rams in London on Sunday, the Bengals have a bye this weekend before hosting the Ravens on Nov. 10. Green hasn't played all season following ankle surgery, but it's possible he could return after the bye.
Steelers: Wary of Fitzpatrick Heading Into Monday Night
Pittsburgh (2-4) can move into second place in the division with a victory over the winless Miami Dolphins (0-6) on Monday Night Football.
However, the Steelers aren't taking the game for granted, especially since the Dolphins have given the starting quarterback job back to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season, Fitzpatrick nearly beat the Steelers, rallying from a 30-10 deficit to lose 30-27.
Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Keith Butler says his team's defense will be tested.
"I have a lot of respect for Ryan Fitzpatrick," Butler said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "There is a reason he gets hired all the time."
Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph will be back in the lineup, playing his first game since suffering a concussion against the Ravens. Rudolph doesn't think the Steelers are out of the playoff picture. If the Steelers beat the Dolphins, they will have won three of their last four games.
"We're really starting to jell well as an offense," Rudolph said, via USA Today. "I think this is a special group and we're right back in this hunt. I think we're going to start making a run."