Clayton Tune, Arizona Cardinals shut out in Week 9 loss to Browns

Nov 5, 2023, 2:08 PM | Updated: Nov 6, 2023, 1:48 pm

Clayton Tune looks to pass in Week 9...

Clayton Tune #15 of the Arizona Cardinals throws a pass during the third quarter of the game against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on November 05, 2023 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)

(Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)

Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon’s homecoming was far from warm and fuzzy behind a 27-0 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Behind rookie quarterback Clayton Tune’s first NFL start, the Cardinals were once again on the wrong side of the scoreboard for a sixth straight week.

“When you get beat like that, I didn’t do a good enough job of getting the team prepped for the game and that falls solely on me,” Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon told reporters postgame. “We got to do a better job.

“Give Cleveland credit but you lose the takeaway battle, you lose the explosive play battle, we get outgained by however many yards we got outgained by, you’re not going to win. It’s a good football team, but we didn’t play well enough in any phase today to win the game.”

But unlike Arizona’s previous losses on its way to a 1-8 mark, the Cardinals were held scoreless throughout the matchup. The Cardinals have now been held out of the end zone offensively three times: against the Washington Commanders in Week 1, at the Los Angeles Rams in Week 6 and then Sunday.

It was especially tough for Tune, who completed 11 of his 20 pass attempts for 58 yards and two interceptions in the matchup. He also paced Arizona’s running game with 28 yards on five carries and was sacked seven times.

“Frustrated, obviously. Disappointed. I wanted to go out and put a better showing out there and win,” Tune told reporters postgame. “Any time you lose, it’s frustrating. … You have to keep your head up and learn from it, watch the tape.”

The playbook was clearly far from open, with Tune seeing most of his work come on screens and short passes. His longest throw of the afternoon came on a 14-yard pass to Hollywood Brown.

“Every rep is an evaluation,” Gannon said of Tune. “We’ll look at the tape and figure out what we need to work on to help him out.”

The offensive issues weren’t just on Tune, either.

Arizona’s offensive line looked overmatched by Cleveland’s front seven throughout most of the matchup. The running game meanwhile averaged just two yards per carry on its way to 41 yards on 21 carries.

As a team, Arizona walked out of Cleveland with a dismal 58 yards of total offense, the fewest yards in a Cardinals game since 1955 (49) when the franchise was still in Chicago.

“We couldn’t run it, we couldn’t protect, so a lot of things to get cleaned up by the staff,” Gannon said.

On the other side, the Cardinals defense did all it could to weather the offensive drought but watched Watson and the Browns put up 27 unanswered points in the defeat.

Key injuries in the trenches

The Cardinals offensive line was unable to stay intact for the entirety of the game, with both D.J. Humphries and Will Hernandez exiting late in the loss due to injuries.

Hernandez was able to walk off under his own power with a knee injury. The same couldn’t be said for Humphries, who was carted off with an ankle injury.

If either have to miss any more time, it would be a tough blow for an offensive line that entered the matchup down guards Elijah Wilkinson and Trystan Colon, both of whom have started for Arizona in 2023.

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