In case you were wondering, I am being slightly facetious with the titles of these posts. I don’t actually think that they are particularly witty. It is all part my philosophy that blogs should provide something different from traditional news media even if we sometimes long for their access to teams and editing quality.
Anyway, on to the Browns game which was the perfect example of the Browns, really. My wife moved to Cleveland from Chicago but grew up in Indianapolis, so she is a Colts fan. It has taken her quite a while to understand that that game felt like a loss up until the moment that final pass hit the ground. As Browns fans with a 6 point lead and the other team throwing into the end zone, we kind of just assume the Browns are going to lose. It is strange to her because victory isn’t glorious for Browns fans until the next day. On Sundays if the Browns win it is relief, mostly. But yesterday, the Browns did come out on top. On with the bullets.
- After the Browns first drive where Vickers and DA collided to miss on 3rd and short, I was cursing my TV and wondering just how long this day was going to be. Come on. Did anyone out there think anything good could follow a miscue between the two guys who played hand slap games on the field last week?
- Jamal Lewis has got to be the MVP of this team so far this season. Well, maybe other than Phil Dawson. Anyway, Lewis didn’t have a spectacular day by looking at the box score. 20 carries for 80 yards seems pretty pedestrian at first glance. On top of that, Lewis dropped one of DA’s screen passes. Still, having watched the game we know just how amazing Jamal Lewis was. Jamal Lewis scored a touchdown and also had runs of 19 yards, 12 yards, and then had three runs of 6, 5 and 11 yards on the Phil Dawson field goal drive.
- Speaking of that drive, Syndric Steptoe made a play like we saw him do in the pre-season. He caught the ball across the middle, stayed elusive and broke it out for 53 yards. It was a heck of a play by Steptoe and a good pass by Derek Anderson.
- Yes, the Browns were unable to score a touchdown after being 1st and goal from the 1 yard line. If it had been John Madden football, I totally would have kept that clock running and then punched it in on 3rd down, but this isn’t video game football. I thought the Browns’ play selection was actually pretty good and gutsy. The Browns didn’t execute, but other than scoring a touchdown it is a lose/lose proposition for the offensive coordinator. If he runs it three times and they miss, then people ask, “Why didn’t you run play action?” Then if you run once and pass twice people say, “You were on the 1. Punch it in!” In this case he tried to punch it in and then gave DA, Braylon Edwards and Charles Ali chances to put it in. They just didn’t execute.
- Another big play was Steve Heiden’s catch. On 4th and 1 the Browns ran play action and let their big tight end leak out and he made the Jags pay with a 51 yard reception. The pass was a little high, but actually had pretty good touch and Heiden pulled it in rather easily before getting caught from behind at the Jax 2 yard line. Heiden finished the day as Cleveland’s receiving yards leader with 73.
- Holy cow. I haven’t talked defense yet. Rushing defense was really good yesterday. Consider that Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor were a combined 20 carries for 53 yards.
- Garrard snuck out of the backfield for 59 yards on the other hand. That wasn’t so good.
- The Browns’ new M.O. is that they don’t get to the QB until he is all vulnerable after the pass has left his hand. I wonder if any team makes the QB pay the way the Browns do the split second after the ball is delivered? I hope the Browns don’t get a rep in league circles, because those flags will start to fly at alarming rates as ref crews will start to focus on that with the Browns.
- Terry Cousin gives up plays every time he is on the field. I don’t think I have noticed a single nice play that he has made all year. I know he is just an emergency pickup type of player, but is he really the best option? He kills the Browns whenever he touches the field. The Browns need to find a new scheme or any other player to try.
- The Browns stopping Greg Jones on 4th and 1 was the biggest play of the day for the Browns’ defense, other than the last play of the game. It set up the field goal that allowed the Browns to go up 17-7 at halftime. It also allowed the Browns to put two scores together unanswered. Those are huge confidence and momentum builders, obviously.
- Oh wait. That wasn’t the biggest defensive play of the game. (See, I tricked you.) The biggest defensive play of the game was Big Shaun Rogers blocking a Josh Scobee field goal and then recovering it. I don’t want to jinx it, but who is the Shaun Rogers with the rep for quitting and not trying hard?
- Josh Cribbs and the special teams unit should be commended for forcing that fumble and coming up with the ball. The Browns didn’t move the ball much after that, but it still set up Dawson’s 42 yarder which ended up being HUGE. If the Browns are only up by three at the end, they wouldn’t have been able to just hang in the endzone to swat the ball down.
Alright, I am sure that isn’t a complete rundown, but it is all I thought of for right now. After a week of negativity involving Kellen Winslow, the Browns go out and pull out a tough victory over Jacksonville. Again, in Winslow’s absence the Browns tight ends were a big part of the storyline in a good way. And while we are very divided on the Kellen Winslow saga, one thing we can say for sure. The Browns are truly bigger than one player. Unless that one player is Derek Anderson and he is killing them. Luckily for the Browns on Sunday, the helpful not harmful Derek Anderson showed up to deliver the ball relatively efficiently and accurately.
Which DA shows up next week is anyone’s guess. If Kellen Winslow is there next week and, coincidentally, the bad DA shows up against Baltimore, will your eyebrows go up? I never used to believe in “addition by subtraction” very much, but I might have to change my position.