Coaching rumors abound; Gordon wins receiving title despite loss
The season ended as it has for several years for the Browns.
With a loss against their AFC North rival Steelers–and turmoil.
The Browns lost 20-7 to finish the 2013 season with seven-straight losses and finish one game worse than 2012 with a 4-12 record.
It is the fourth-straight season the Browns have played in the season finale and lost. They didn’t end the season against the Steelers in 2009, but did so in 2008 and lost 31-0 to the Steelers at Heinz Field.
The Browns finished that season 4-12 and Romeo Crennel was fired after the game.
However, despite the loss, there was a lot of speculation swirling as the game went on from national reporters regarding the future of Rob Chudzinski. Although, he just finished his first season, reports began surfacing that Chudzinski’s job might be in jeopardy.
ESPN’s John Clayton tweeted "Like everyone else, I am hearing Rob Chudzinski could be in trouble after only one season."
The team did not deny reports, but issued a statement during the fourth quarter.
"Our focus is on the game today. We will not discuss any evaluation of the season until this upcoming week."
Chudzinski said after the game that he hasn’t discussed his future with the front office.
"We haven’t had nay of those types of discussions," he said. "I feel our future is bright and I look forward to it."
Chudzinski said speculation is part of the NFL.
"It comes with the territory."
The Browns lost their final seven games after starting the season 3-2. The Browns last win was 24-18 at FirstEnergy Stadium to improve them to 4-5 before dropping the final seven.
The Steelers were 8-4 after starting the season 0-4 and still had a chance to make the playoffs as the final day of the season wound down.
Gordon Wins Receiving Title : WR Josh Gordon won the NFL receiving title with 1,646 receiving yards on 87 receptions and nine touchdowns. Gordon finished the season with seven receptions for 82 yards against the Steelers.
Gordon came into the game with 1,564 yards, followed by Calvin Johnson (1,492) and Antonio Brown (1,412). Johnson was the closest receiver to Gordon to start the final week, 72 yards behind him with 1,492 yards but was inactive. Brown, who was third had 1,412 coming in. and caught nine passes for 87 yards against the Browns to finish second with 1,499 yards receiving.
Gordon also had the most all-purpose yards for the Browns since 1999 as he finished with 1,732 yards (1,546 receiving/88 rushing). Gordon caught one pass for 11 yards in the first half to pass former Browns RB Peyton Hillis with 1,663 all-purpose yards. Hillis had 1,654 all-purpose yards
Gordon’s 87 receptions fell just two short of tying the Browns franchise record of 89 receptions in a season that is held by Ozzie Newsome and Kellen Winslow.
Cameron Back: TE Jordan Cameron, who just was named to the Pro Bowl was active, but didn’t start the game. He was used early, but finished with five receptions for 69 yards. Cameron finished the season with 80 receptions 917 and seven touchdowns.
Bad Jason: QB Jason Campbell wanted to finish the season on a positive note and try to show that he should return to the Browns. He didn’t play well in the first half and was just 8-of-13 for 53 yards with a sack and a lost fumble. His second half wasn’t much better, although he did hook up with RB Fozzy Whittaker for a 35-yard touchdown to avert the shut out. Campbell finished 23-of-41 for 240 yards with a touchdown, an interception and a fumble lost.
Gipson Leads: LB Craig Robertson intercepted QB Ben Roethlisberger following a sack and fumble by QB Jason Campbell. It was Robertson’s first interception of the season. S Tashaun Gipson intercepted Roethlisberger in the fourth quarter for his team-leading fifth interception.
I feel our future is bright and I look forward to it.
Winn Baby: DL Billy Winn overpowered LT Marcus Gilbert for a sack in the first quarter on third-and-2 to force a punt. Winn’s sack was the first for the Browns in two weeks after not having a sack against the Jets last week. It was the Browns only sack of the game and the Browns finished with 40, just two over last year’s mark.
Sparty’s Abound: Both starting running backs played at Michigan State. RB Edwin Baker started for the Browns and RB Le’Veon Bell started for the Steelers. Baker had a 20- yard run in the second series. He had nine carries for 41 yards in the first half and caught two passes for minus one yard. Baker finished with 18 carries for 69 yards. Bell rushed for 90 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown.
No Joe: CB Joe Haden, who was named to the Pro Bowl Friday was inactive with a hip pointer. Rookie CB Leon McFadden started in place of Haden. CB Buster Skrine left the game with a shoulder injury trying to tackle RB Le’Veon Bell in the second quarter.
Changing of the Guard: OL Shawn Lauvao (thigh) and OL Jason Pinkston (concussion) were both inactive. Rookie OL Garrett Gilkey made his first NFL start at left guard and OL John Greco returned and played right guard. Greco was the starter at left guard before his knee injury, but it appears the coaches felt putting the rookie Gilkey between Pro Bowl LT Joe Thomas and C Alex Mack would be the better option. Greco re-injured his knee and OL Oniel Cousins replaced Greco before Greco returned.
Browns in Top Five: The Browns draft status will be determined on strength of schedule. The Texans locked up the first pick at 2-14 and the Rams (via Redskins) the second pick with a 3-13 record. The Browns are tied at 4-12 with the Jaguars and Falcons. The Buccaneers and Raiders would finish also at 4-12 if they both lose their late games Sunday.