The Cleveland Browns are 4-4 and officially in last place in the AFC North.
This team dropped a 15-10 home game against divisional rival Pittsburgh when they had the more talented and complete roster.
Drops, penalties, stale play calls, busted coverages. Things have not been great today. #Browns
— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) October 31, 2021
Browns fans feel like they are living the same script on different Sundays as the Browns drop games to playoff-caliber teams that they had in their hands and could have won with strong fourth quarter showings.
Here are three reasons the Browns fans can officially panic.
3. AFC North Competition Is Tough
The Cleveland #Browns are last in the AFC North (and that’s honestly where they deserve to be at the season’s halfway point)
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) October 31, 2021
The AFC North is a tough division.
The playoff picture never resembles the 2020 NFC East where subpar and below .500 teams have viable playoff chances.
Thus far, the Baltimore Ravens are running away with the division.
However, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh are staying in the thick of things.
Last season, the Steelers, Ravens, and Browns earned playoff spots with their records; however, the competition in the AFC North and the rest of the AFC seems to point to, at most, two teams from this division making the playoffs; a division winner and Wild Card team.
The Browns’ propensity to drop big games against AFC playoff caliber teams like the Los Angeles Chargers and Steelers does not help their cause in trying to grab a playoff spot.
#Browns have to be the most disappointing team in the NFL this year!!! No doubt in my mind…. 🤷🏽♂️
— A. Duggal, MD (@DocDuggal) October 31, 2021
The seemingly endless parade of injuries to key players is a recurring theme in 2021.
It is baffling as to what is causing it.
Is there something in or missing from the strength and conditioning program that needs to be addressed?
#Browns rookie CB Greg Newsome II walks off with injury.
— Tom Withers (@twithersAP) October 31, 2021
— Cleveland Sports Talk (@CLEsportsTalk) October 31, 2021
Then, there is the most baffling of all and one that has not really been explained.
That is the groin injury of wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones which happened in a pregame warm-up against the Denver Broncos in Week 7.
It was so severe that he also missed Week 8.
1. Sloppy Play
Speaking of recurring themes, sloppy play is what is killing the Browns most.
Being out of position, not tackling properly, and giving up big plays are just a few of the examples.
Another infuriating by-product of sloppy play is the gross amount of penalties the Browns have.
We are not talking about the subjective pass interference and roughing the passer penalties in this instance.
It is the illegal formation, false start, holding, and other costly penalties that either kill their offensive drives or keep the other team’s offense on the field even longer by giving them free yards.
The Browns aren’t even fun to watch this year.
What a let down.
— bri (@breezyCLE) October 31, 2021
All three of these reasons are valid for Browns fans to start the panic party.
Most troubling is that these things have happened since Week 1.
The Browns keep shooting themselves in the foot with the same issues and yet they are not fixed.
What conclusions can be drawn?
Kevin Stefanski came as Freddie Kitchens for Halloween 👻
— Joy (@joycalhio) October 31, 2021
#Browns Kevin Stefanski isn’t the problem. Execution is the problem.
— Cody Suek (@CodySuek) October 31, 2021
Either this team is poorly coached, undisciplined, or not nearly as talented as many believed in the preseason.
The remaining weeks of the season could be long and hard to watch if the Browns continue to drop games as they have been in the first half.