Going Away From Gordon
There is an old adage in coaching; "If something is working, keep doing it until the other team figures out how to stop it." Early in the second quarter, the Bolts had something working with Melvin Gordon.
On two consecutive plays on the Bolts' first drive in the 2nd quarter, Gordon ran outside to the left for 23 yards. On the next play, he ran for 7, losing his shoe in the process. He touched the ball two more times in the first half.
In the second half, Gordon touched the ball 5 times; 4 of those touches coming on 1st down runs and another on a second down pass. In what has been a rare event this season, the Browns were able to hold a RB to less than 4 YPC. For a fun comparison, Gordon's 14 touches netted the Bolts 46 yards. Cleveland's 3rd round choice touched the ball 17 times (he dropped one pass thrown at him) and turned those touches into 116 yards and a TD. Danny Woodhead touched the ball 12 times and got 138 yards.
Gordon has shown flashes of effective running, but his own coaches have not permitted him to carry the team or even demonstrate if that is possible. A running back taken in the 1st round of the draft should be touching the ball more than 14 times a game.
Succeeding With Gifts From The Opposition
The Browns committed 12 penalties for 91 yards last Sunday. 4 Charger drives were sustained by Cleveland defensive penalties; two of those drives resulted in Field Goals and 6 points for the Chargers. This included the game winner that permitted Josh Lambo to get a mulligan on a miss that would have resulted in overtime and who knows what outcome.
A team cannot rely on getting gifts in the NFL. The Chargers did some good things on Sunday, but a better team (or a more disciplined team) would have gotten a road win. It has been a long time since I have felt this ‘meh' about a Charger win.
Lambo's Case Of The Yips
The Bolts' new kicker attempted four field goals in that game, making 3 of them. The first two attempts resulted in two made field goals from 45 and 46 yards out. Tip of the hat to you young man for doing what you are paid to do...
And then there was the 3rd attempt, the money kick. The kick that gets guys paid more than the league minimum. You know the one: End of the game, clock at single or low double digits, your team is trailing by one or two or perhaps tied. If the kick goes through, YOU DA MAN (for a week). If it does not go through, the fate of Josh Scobee is possible.
In this case, Lambo blew the money kick from 39 yards out. He had to recognize that this kick was shorter than the two he made. That did not seem to matter more than the situation; good kick = Charger win, missed kick = overtime. You know the rest. The Bolts got their final gift of the day, Lambo made the redo and the Chargers win.
Perhaps it is a case of mild Post Traumatic Stress disorder from watching Kaeding lose two playoff games at home against the Jets 5 years apart, but for me this was the worst of the bad from Sunday. A kicker that has mental issues when it comes to pressure kicks is going to screw over his team at one or multiple points in a heartbreaking career.
I would have liked to see Lambo blast his shortest FG attempt of the day right down the middle and saunter off the field like it was no big deal. Hopefully, he can get his head right about pressure kicks before the Bolts play a team that won't jump offside on a FG attempt.