I know we are all still stinging from the loss the Browns handed themselves in week one. That’s why I decided to abandon the doom and gloom for a moment by bringing back the doom and gloom of a year ago to make us all feel better. Nothing like the theory of relativity to make you think your dungeon is a bit brighter than the dungeon you used to inhabit. The Browns squandered opportunities on Sunday and shot themselves in the foot with turnovers and a lack of offensive execution. Still, they scored two offensive touchdowns which, believe it or not, is worth celebrating to some extent.
Last year in the first game against Minnesota the Browns carried a 13-10 lead into halftime against Minnesota. The Browns got two Phil Dawson field goals and a Josh Cribbs return TD to make up the scoring. If you remember correctly, that game was 34-13 and the Browns scored a gimme touchdown with 0:28 seconds to go in the game to lose by two touchdowns. So, if you don’t count that one, the Browns only really had a special teams touchdown in the first week.***
Over the next two weeks against Denver and Baltimore the Browns scored 9 points in total thanks to Phil Dawson. Peyton Hillis did score a touchdown in the Denver game… for the Broncos on a two yard run.
The Browns finally scored two offensive touchdowns in a single game in the 4th week overtime loss to the Bengals. Derek Anderson threw a 1-yard passing touchdown to Steve Heiden and ran a ball in from one yard out. To even get close, The browns relied on a Josh Cribbs return to the Cincy 38 yard line for the short field. The TD that Derek Anderson ran in from the one was a legit drive. The Browns drove the field from their own 23 yard line for 10 plays and the eventual score.
And that was in the fourth week of the season a year ago after Brady Quinn was yanked in favor of Derek Anderson. The Browns offense is obviously still a work in progress, but it could be argued that at least a little bit of progress has already been made. The Browns had two scoring drives over 60 yards against the Buccaneers. They should have had another one if Peyton Hillis hadn’t fumbled after 68 yards.
Gone are Braylon Edwards, Jamal Lewis, Brady Quinn, and Derek Anderson. Gone is the need to experiment endlessly to figure out how to get anything going. The Browns have, in one week, shown they can get it going on occasion. Granted it was against one of the lesser teams in the NFL, but based on a season ago, it could be argued that the Browns are already ahead of schedule. Now if they could just come up with a win before week 5 like they had a year ago in an ugly-fest against Buffalo…
*** I don’t mean to undervalue special teams scores, but they are a bit of a double-edged sword sometimes. They keep you in games and sometimes help you win them, but sometimes they feel like a wash. Unless it is at the beginning of the game or the beginning of a half, your defense presumably just gave up a score. Now, after converting on a special teams play by Josh Cribbs, the Browns defense has to trot back out with very little rest or chance to regroup.