Revisiting the Cleveland Browns' 30-12 loss at Houston:
The reason the Browns have struggled to run the ball has been injuries. Cleveland's run defense, well, is just battered.
Texans running backs Arian Foster (124 yards rushing) and Ben Tate (115 yards) zipped through huge running lanes opened up by Houston's zone blocking and broke through Cleveland's sloppy tackling. Former Browns fullback Lawrence Vickers crushed Browns linebackers, and Cleveland's secondary missed the physical play of T.J. Ward (who left the stadium in a walking boot).
How bad was this effort? It was the first time that the Browns allowed two 100-yard rushers in a game since 1956, when Lenny Moore (120) and Alan Ameche (108) accomplished that for the Baltimore Colts (point of reference: gas cost 23 cents per gallon in 1956).
"I’ve had my [butt] kicked before," Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita said, "but that was one of those that’s going to take a few days to get over.”
Stopping the run hasn't been a strength this year for the Browns, who have now given up 100 yards to six running backs in eight games. Cleveland, which had been ranked 26th against the run, surrendered 261 yards rushing -- which doubles its average rushing yards allowed this season (127.3).
STAT THAT STICKS: 6 -- Phil Dawson's field goals of 50 yards or more this season, which is tied for third all-time in a single season. Dawson has an entire second half of the season to surpass Morten Andersen and Jason Hanson, who each kicked eight.
OVERHEARD: "I don't want to say we're at a crossroads, but this is a point where you can go one of two ways -- pack it in and fold or keep trying to get better. And defensively we can't afford to take a step back." Fujita after Cleveland fell to 3-5.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Browns (3-5) return home to play the last-place St. Louis Rams (1-7), who have lost six straight on the road (dating back to last season).