John McClain’s Texans vs. Browns report card



Lovie Smith’s team has lost seven consecutive games and doesn’t appear capable of winning another one.

Another putrid performance by an offense that didn’t score a touchdown until the fourth quarter, long after the outcome had been decided. The defense deserved a better fate. It didn’t allow a touchdown. The Browns were ripe to be beaten, and the Texans still lost by 13.

Grade: F-minus

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Kyle Allen threw two interceptions, including a pick-six, and had a fumble returned for a touchdown. He finished with 201 yards, including 133 before the last drive in which he threw his only touchdown pass. He wasn’t sacked, and he was hit only two times, but overall, Allen was terrible.

Grade: F-minus

Running backs

Dameon Pierce ran for 66 yards on nine carries in the first quarter and 18 yards on nine carries over the last three quarters. He and Dare Ogunbowale combined for five catches and 35 yards. The Browns’ defense made adjustments to shut down the running game after the first quarter, and the Texans couldn’t counter.

Grade: C

Wide receivers

Nico Collins scored the only touchdown on a 6-yard catch on the last series. Collins, Chris Moore and Phillip Dorsett combined for eight catches and 99 yards. It’s not their fault Kyle Allen was so bad he couldn’t consistently get the ball to them.

Grade: C

Tight ends

Brevin Jordan got more opportunities than Jordan Akins. Jordan caught four passes for 46 yards, including a 20-yard reception. Akins finished with three catches for 21 yards. Overall, the tight ends weren’t a factor. A big part of that was Kyle Allen’s inability to get them the ball.

Grade: C-minus

Offensive line

The run blocking was terrific in the first quarter and mediocre to miserable the rest of the way, but the pass protection was splendid the entire game. Kyle Allen wasn’t sacked. He was hit two times. Myles Garrett entered the game with 10 sacks. He had one hit on Allen and one tackle for loss. Jadeveon Clowney had two tackles but no sacks, hits on the quarterback or tackles for loss.

Grade: B-minus

Defensive line

Ogbo Okoronkwo had the only sack. The Texans had five tackles for loss, including a safety by Roy Lopez when he plastered Nick Chubb in the end zone. Michael Dwumfour was the only lineman to hit Deshaun Watson. The run blocking was good in the first half but bad in the second. The Browns finished with 174 yards rushing.

Grade: B


The Christians – Kirksey and Harris – combined for 13 tackles, including seven unassisted. They played well in coverage. They did a solid job against the run in the first half. They helped keep Nick Chubb out of the end zone.

Grade: B-minus


Jalen Pitre was in on a game-high 16 tackles. He led both teams with nine unassisted tackles. He also had an end zone reception.

Tavierre Thomas forced a fumble that Desmond King II recovered and returned to set up a field goal. They did a good job in coverage, including limiting Amari Cooper to four catches and 40 yards.

Grade: B

Special teams

The usually reliable special teams allowed Donovan Peoples-Jones to return a punt 76 yards for a touchdown that gave the Browns their first score and a 7-5 lead they never relinquished. Ka’imi Fairbairn kicked two field goals. Desmond King II had a 50-yard kickoff return and averaged 14.2 yards on punt returns but also fumbled a punt return. Cam Johnston had a 50-yard average on seven punts, but his net ended up at 35.4 yards because of the touchdown.

Grade: C-minus


Lovie Smith’s defense played well enough to win. Pep Hamilton’s offense, especially the passing game, continues to be an abomination – three points in the first half of the last three games. Frank Ross’ special teams surrendered a touchdown. Smith is the head coach, so the abysmal performance of his team is his responsibility.

Grade: F-minus

John McClain can be heard Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday on SportsRadio 610 and Monday and Thursday on Texans Radio. He writes three times a week and does three Houtopia Podcasts a week for SportsRadio610. He also can be read four times a week on

Featured Image Photo Credit: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images