Monday Night Observations

Of course I had the Browns +3.5 in a 28-point margin-of-victory game that might not have been as close as the score. Obviously, I overrated Baker Mayfield before the season, and his one good game against the Ravens was just enough to confirm my preexisting bias.

I’m starting to think Mayfield is just a guy, someone like Andy Dalton or Kirk Cousins. They struggle when the protection isn’t there, and they look good when they have time to throw and open receivers. Mayfield is small, not especially mobile, and his decision-making and accuracy have been poor this year. One of the picks — a would-be TD to Antonio Callaway that bounced off his hands — wasn’t Mayfield’s fault, and Nick Bosa was in his face all day, but great quarterbacks overcome difficult conditions. Freddie Kitchens vanilla offense (other than the first play from scrimmage where Odell Beckham got to throw the ball) isn’t doing Mayfield any favors, either.

Nick Chubb had a 37-yard run but otherwise didn’t have much room to operate and was gang-tackled in the red zone. It would have been nice to see him get more than one target, though. Another indictment of Kitchens is not throwing to Chubb, especially in the face of the rush.

Jimmy Garoppolo might also be just a guy, but he’s in an ideal situation. Kyle Shanahan is the most unpredictable play caller in the league. You never know whether it’s a run or a pass, which direction it’s coming from or even which player is getting the ball once you have the run/pass part diagnosed. The Browns were off balance all night.

Matt Breida ran a 4.37 40 at his NFL Pro Day, and he looked faster than that on his 83-yard TD run. But Tevin Coleman is nearly as fast and saw 16 carries to his 11, though Breida out-targeted him 3-0. Breida/Coleman has to be one of the fastest backfields in NFL history.

George Kittle is the only startable pass catcher for the 49ers right now. He finally caught a TD and was a tackle-breaking beast near the first-down markers.

Robbie “fools” Gould missed three field goals and looked shaky on an extra point when the 49ers had to re-kick after a 12-man-on-the-field penalty by the Browns. Odd that a penalty on the other team could have cost them a point.

Kitchens punted down 28 on 4th-and-7 with about eight minutes left. I get letting a game go and moving onto next week, but then why leave Beckham in the game to field a subsequent punt, or Nick Chubb on the field for the subsequent series?


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