The Cleveland Browns’ season of misery rolls on and on and on. They just lost their 15th game of the season, and their 16th game overall, dating back to last season’s finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers, during which they faced such stalwarts as Landry Jones, Demarcus Ayers, and other reserves.
With the loss, the organization guaranteed for the second season in a row that they would have the first-overall selection in the following draft. They had the second-overall pick the year before, but traded it, with the selection ultimately going to draft Carson Wentz.
The Browns used their top pick in his past draft on virtual consensus top defensive player Myles Garrett, passing up Mitchell Trubisky. They also passed up opportunities to draft Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes, if they wanted either bad enough.
Instead, they have gone with their second-round draft pick, DeShone Kizer, who is creeping closer and closer to 30 total turnovers on the season. And there have been ugly reports surfacing over the organization for some time now.
We can go as far back as the botched trade for A.J. McCarron, if we wanted to, and the speculation over whether that was just sheer incompetence or active internal sabotage. But we don’t even have to go back that far. After firing Sashi Brown and on the same day hiring John Dorsey, the new general manager has made a number of comments that have raised eyebrows.
And head coach Hue Jackson has followed suit, seemingly taking credit away from his players, which had led to reports that he is losing the locker room. For a man who has only won one game in nearly two full seasons, it’s really quite a marvel how much player support he has had, truth be told.
In the meantime, the Steelers will be heading into the season finale against a Browns team that is looking to fend off a winless season, a disgrace only once visited upon an NFL franchise during a 16-game season. They only narrowly avoided that fate a year ago.
But this time, the Steelers will have something to play for. There is still hope that the Patriots could lose their final game, and in that event, if Pittsburgh wins their final two games, they would secure the top seed in the playoffs, and homefield advantage.
One player the team won’t have for that game is Antonio Brown, who is doing everything that he can to come back from a calf injury suffered in the first half of last week’s game against the Patriots. This evening will be the first of hopefully only two games they will have to play without him.
The Browns have nothing to lose by winning, and perhaps more importantly, nothing to win by losing, at this point. They are already locked into the top draft pick with yesterday’s loss. So the Steelers should expect to get their best as the team tries to avoid going 0-16.