Thursday, September 22, 2022

Cleveland Browns Week 3 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2022 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Below you will find a Week 3 roundup for the Cleveland Browns in our consensus 2022 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 17

Biggest early adjustment: Eliminate coverage breakdowns

Through two games, the Browns rank 27th in defensive efficiency. The quarterbacks they've faced? Baker Mayfield and 37-year-old Joe Flacco. Still, the Browns have collapsed in coverage, too often inexplicably turning opposing receivers loose -- especially in the fourth quarter -- leading to wide-open touchdowns. That's primarily why Cleveland blew a 13-point lead in the final two minutes Sunday -- and why the Browns needed a 58-yard field goal to avoid squandering another late lead in Carolina. The Browns don't have good answers for why this is happening. They better figure it out quickly, or this season will begin to spiral. -- Rank: 22

When Nick Chubb rumbled into the end zone for his second touchdown on Sunday (take a knee, hoss!), the Browns led the Jets by 13 points with less than two minutes to play. New York had zero timeouts, and Cleveland had a 99.7 percent win probability. But 99.7 is not 100. A missed Cade York PAT was followed by a long Joe Flacco touchdown pass, a Jets onside kick recovery, another Flacco scoring toss and, finally, a Jacoby Brissett interception that sealed a 31-30 Browns loss, one of the worst in team history. "This league is funny," Brissett said after the stunning collapse. "This one was tough. It just shows you can't take anything in this league for granted." Indeed.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 17

Losing the way they did to the Jets is a bad look. If they take a knee late, they win. It's that simple.

USA Today -- Rank: 24

They've surrendered 48 points in the past five quarters and won't have DE Jadeveon Clowney (ankle) on Thursday against Pittsburgh. Not a promising trend for a team trying to weather QB Deshaun Watson's suspension.

The Athletic -- Rank: 21

There was chatter in the aftermath of the Browns' unlikely collapse that Nick Chubb could have ended the game had he slid instead of scoring the 12-yard touchdown that gave the Browns a 30-17 lead with 1:55 remaining. That's not really true. Yes, the Jets were out of timeouts, but that play was the final one before the two-minute warning, so the clock was guaranteed to stop at least one more time. If Chubb had been able to go down inbounds after securing the first down at the 2-yard line, then yes, they would have been able to run out the clock. But that wasn't really practical.

Does this pedantry distract from the pain of that collapse in any way? No? Just don't blame Chubb, blame whatever happened when Corey Davis was left all alone for a 66-yard touchdown two plays after the Chubb score. Or blame Kareem Hunt for running out of bounds on the play before Chubb's touchdown. Or focus on the failed onside kick recovery and the prevent defense that allowed Joe Flacco to go 53 yards for the winning touchdown in the game's final minute.

If you are looking for good news, the Browns' offense put up 1.98 EPA per drive, per TruMedia, the second-best performance of the entire week.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 13

Jacoby Brissett was actually pretty good for Cleveland on Sunday. He was 22-of-27 for 229 yards. His only interception came in the final seconds when the Browns had to press for yardage to get in field-goal range. It's not Brissett's fault the Browns defense gave up two touchdowns in the last two minutes, or that the special teams couldn't recover an onside kick. Brissett won't be great but Cleveland will take it if he keeps playing like he did Sunday.

PFT -- Rank: 22

If Jets-Browns had been played in prime time, Kevin Stefanski would have been getting the Nathaniel Hackett treatment all week long for the late-game clock management.

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