Having a reliable kicker is a high priority for NFL teams. In fact, kickers can be the difference between teams winning and losing many games each season. But if your kicker is your team’s star player, you’re in trouble.
The Cleveland Browns found that out on Sunday.
Browns kicker Phil Dawson became a trending topic on Twitter during the team’s 25-15 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday while going 5-for-5 on field goal attempts. Though it’s great that Dawson — who has made all 12 of his attempts this season — is doing what he can to help the team, Cleveland’s inability to get the ball in the end zone is a major problem.
The Browns put together 290 yards of offense against the Ravens. They had 174 passing yards and 116 rushing yards in the game, and they slightly out-gained the Ravens. But their drives stalled at the 11-yard line twice, the 14, the 15 and the 23.
It’s a good sign that the offense — led by rookie Brandon Weeden — was able to score on three straight drives, but they need to finish them with touchdowns, not field goals. Baltimore is without linebacker Ray Lewis and cornerback Lardardius Webb. They still have some good playmakers on defense, but if Cleveland wants to ascend in the division, it has to take that next step.
Phil Dawson is a good kicker, but he’s not a name Browns fans want to keep seeing in the box score.