As losses mount, Gordon gives Browns ray of future hope

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

BEREA, Ohio -- Bright spots for the Cleveland Browns this season have been few, but one of them is clearly wide receiver Josh Gordon, who set a franchise record for receiving yards in Sunday's 27-26 loss at the New England Patriots.
Gordon had 151 receiving yards in the loss and now has 1,400 for the season. Former Browns single-season record holder Braylon Edwards had 1,289 receiving yards in 16 games in 2007. Gordon has done it in 11 games. His 774 yards over the past four games is the most in NFL history in a four-game span.
"He's playing at a high level, no question about it," Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said on Monday. "Consistency is the thing that we'll be looking for and I'll be looking for as he continues to improve and get better.
"He has a lot of things he can get better at, but he's great example of a player that you see developing and that's getting better. His best days, like our best days, are ahead of us and him."
Gordon had 237 receiving yards in the Pittsburgh game and 261 yards last week against Jacksonville to become the only player in league history to have back-to-back 200-yard receiving games.
The Browns lost all four games in which Gordon excelled, so for him the personal success is hollow. Edwards enjoyed his best year when the Browns finished 10-6 - their best record since 1994.
"It means nothing to me if we can't win as a team while doing it," Gordon said. ""It would mean a lot more (if the Browns were winning) because the records could be broken by anybody at any given time. So it's really just personal."
Gordon's name constantly came up in the days before the trading deadline, mainly because the Browns showed they were thinking of the future when they traded running back Trent Richardson to the Colts for a 2014 first-round draft choice.
Gordon is one substance abuse violation from an indefinite suspension of no less than a year. How much that affected any offers the Browns got for Gordon before the trading deadline isn't known, but Cleveland obviously did not trade him and now they have something to build on for next year.
"Obviously, he's proven he can be an elite receiver in this league in terms of production because he's already doing that in terms of 1,200 yards in the number of games he's played," Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner said. "I always tell guys, I've been around a lot of guys that had a great game. I've been around some guys that had a great year.
"The great ones do it week to week to week and then they do it two years in a row and three years in a row and four years in a row."
Gordon has scored a team high eight touchdowns this season. He scored five as a rookie last year.
--RB Willis McGahee suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter. His status will be updated Wednesday.
--G John Greco suffered a sprained knee. His status will be updated Wednesday.
PASS OFFENSE: A - Jason Campbell shook off a concussion from two weeks ago to pass for a career-best 391 yards. He threw three touchdown passes and continued his success with wide receiver Josh Gordon, who has 775 receiving yards the past four games. Nine players caught at least one pass. Tight end Jordan Cameron caught nine passes for a season-high 121 yards and a touchdown. Campbell never forced a pass and if no one was open wisely threw the ball away.
RUN OFFENSE: C - Gordon broke out on a 34-yard run on an end around and Campbell ran for 21 yards on a scramble. Those two plays accounted for more than half the Browns' yardage on the ground - 25 carries for 108 yards. It could be even worse against the Bears next Sunday because starting running back Willis McGahee left the game in the fourth quarter with a concussion. The Browns just do not have a consistent outside running threat.
PASS DEFENSE: D+ - The Browns sacked Tom Brady four times, forced a fumble and intercepted a pass. But all the good they did was erased by an 82-yard drive Brady engineered, capping it off with a touchdown pass to Julian Edelman with 1:01 to play. The touchdown cut the Browns' lead to 26-21. Brady passed for 118 yards and two touchdowns in the final 1:01. Closing out games has been a problem all season for the defense.
RUN DEFENSE: B- The Browns have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher this season. They did have problems stopping LeGarrette Blount (eight carries, 42 yards) once he got rolling. The Browns don't strip the ball from running backs well. The fumble they did recover Sunday was knocked loose from Brady.
SPECIAL TEAMS: D - The Browns failed to recover an onside kick that would have preserved a 26-21 victory. Billy Cundiff was short on a 58-yard field-goal attempt on the final play. He hit the ball as well as he could, but the kick, especially in cold weather, was beyond his range. Punter Spencer Lanning was steady again, finishing with a 42-yard net while nestling five of six punts inside the 20. The Browns have been hurting at punt returner since Travis Benjamin suffered a season-ending knee injury on Oct. 27.
COACHING: B - The Browns lost three straight heading in to Foxborough, yet Rob Chudzinski had his team ready to play. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner continues to come up with plays to get Josh Gordon open. The Browns had another end of game meltdown, but at one point the game falls on the players.

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