April 17, 2014

Browns “Winn!” Top Bengals 34-24

Victory Formation!

The biggest heroes of the game for me were Emmanuel Stephens and Sheldon Brown. Sheldon Brown pick-sixed Andy Dalton with a 27-17 Browns lead to make the score 34-17. The Bengals scored on a long drive to bring it to 34-24 and were driving again when Emmanuel Stephens strip-sacked Dalton. Billy Winn took a fat-boy-jog with the ball into Bengals territory. The Browns couldn’t decisively put the game away, but after a punt and some prevent, the Browns finally came out on top 34-24. If there are no moral victories, there are no moral losses either. It wasn’t all pretty, but the Browns faced the odds and came out on top for the first time this season (and in a very long time in general.)

The Browns led for the entire fourth quarter after scoring on the first play on a Montario Hardesty run for one yard to make it 20-14. The fourth quarter also featured the drive of the game, and probably the season so far.

Six plays, 63 yards and with the game very much in doubt, Brandon Weeden and Montario Hardesty drove the Browns. Hardesty was replacing a nicked Trent Richardson who hurt his “flank” (most likely ribs?) earlier in the game. Weeden found Josh Gordon for 14 yards. Hardesty ran for 23 yards on three gains including a 14-yarder. Weeden found Jordan Cameron for a 23 yard gain that was exceptional by Cameron because he fell down and hustled his butt across the field to get open. The Browns used a jumbo run fake and Weeden found a wide (WIDE) open Ben Watson in the end zone for a three yard score. Drive of the year.

There were other nice notes, of course. The Browns ran the ball 34 times compared to throwing 29 times. Josh Gordon made an exceptional catch to score on a 71-yard strike in the first half. Three TDs in two games and two very big plays is nothing to sneeze at. Josh Cribbs had a very good day returning. He had a 44 yard kick return and a 60 yard punt return that really helped the Browns break some bad streaks of offensive doldrums. And how about Josh Cooper showing a little bit with two catches and 39 yards including a 28-yard first down on third and long? A whole paragraph of extra good things is fun to write.

The first half was a bit scary though as it appeared like we were going to get the same old Browns.

The Browns took a 14-7 deficit into halftime, but it could have been worse. The Browns got the ball back after a Bengal TD with about a minute and a half left. The Browns failed to execute and nearly gave up a half-ending field goal. The Bengals ran out of time1 luckily for the Browns.

The big problem was the three and out from the Browns. There was an incompletion on dueling three yard outs to both sides. Weeden threw incomplete left. There was a running back draw that got stood up after two yards. Trent Richardson nearly ran for a first down on 3rd and seven or eight, but he came up a yard short and the Browns punted giving the Bengals 1:21 after taking over with 1:54. Whether it was a lack of execution or bad play-calling, the end result is some bad clock management to end the half.

Regardless, the Browns found a way to win, and that erases a lot of mistakes. We don’t have to dwell on the fact that the Browns faced another two-point conversion scenario and kicked the extra point to go up six. We don’t have to dwell on the third down failure that saw Trent Richardson miss a key block and ended up in a sack. We don’t have to talk about the batted up interception that Weeden threw in the first half when squarely in Phil Dawson’s territory. We don’t have to talk about Owen Marecic’s rock-hard hands. I’m guessing we’ll get to a lot of these things, but the conversation should be a lot more constructive with the backdrop of a Cleveland Browns victory!

The Browns won a game. A division game. They did it at home. They end an ugly 11-loss streak. They mark the end of the Lerner ownership and ring in the Haslam one. Honestly, it isn’t about those billionaires today. The fans who have suffered through 11 straight losses spanning an off-season are the real beneficiaries today. So enjoy it.

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Footnotes:

  1. although there were questions about whether there should have been a second remaining or not. Thanks hometown clock dude! []

  • Ritz

    It’s Dalton, not Daulton

    With that out of the way, good win for the Browns. Weeden continues to improve but the playcalling continues to be poor at best.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    Yep. Got it. Thanks.

  • TJ

    womp womp. Buzz Killington.

  • MrCleaveland

    Craig, you made an outstanding choice of accompanying photo. It is nice to see that formation again.

  • The Other Tim

    Brown Winn

  • Steve_Not_Chad

    “Name’s Dalton” -Jeff Healy

  • dan

    The extra “N” stands for “It’s Been A Long Time Since The Last One, And Might Be A Long Time Til The Next One, So You Better Enjoy It While It Lasts.”

  • Dee P

    I disagree…been saying for weeks how this team needs one big victory to get on a roll. In my opinion, this is it. We will get 2 in a row after we beat Indy.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    Billy Winn

  • Ritz

    Got a problem with correcting the misspelling of the Bengals starting QB? Its something that distracted from the story.

  • Harv 21

    I agree, feel like making positive comments only this evening:
    - Josh Gordon, the speed, routes and sticky hands. Worried about his maturity level but he has come far since mid-summer when he was out of shape and looked clueless. Gentlemen, this is a second round pick.
    - Little: no drops. Not like a champagne popping occasion, more like a toothache that finally goes away for a while.
    - Winn. All game. With a splash of Hughes. And Sheard, finally beating his man again. D-line very solid even without Rubin.
    - This was a Weeden game we knew he’d have, electric moments that trump the “oh-nooo’s. He made some big throws, and I can’t imagine Colt making any of them.
    - JMJ was MIA, but Robertson impacted passing downs again. If he can learn to play the run a little we may have something there.
    - Haden, provided a jolt of energy and confidence for the defense. Nice job overall on Green.
    - The joyous look on Montario’s face talking with Watson and after his first down run which he ended by bowling over a LB. Like a hostage unexpectedly freed.
    Dinner tastes better tonight.

  • Clown Baby

    I for one will NEVER pass up a chance to bag on Marecic. He’s the worst. And go Browns.

  • dan

    I still have a hard time seeing this team as anything other than the 4 or 5 win team it has been for the past four years. But we’ll see.

  • porckchopexpress

    I agree, I’d call him a steaming pile of poo, but the last time I did a steaming pile of poo protested by self-emolating in a brown paper bag on my door step.
    So to stay with the postive tone today I’ll just say I’m postive Marecic is the least talented player of professional football currently on a roster.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Congratulations Pat Shurmur on your first divisional win in over two years! My only question is who gets the game ball Pat or maybe Randy Lerner for going out with a win he so much deserved in his last game as owner?

  • MrCleaveland

    I think TJ’s comment pertained to your complaining about play-calling, not spelling.

    For the record, no possible variation of the spelling of the Bengals QB could distract me from the fact that we won.

  • http://patrick.veverka.net/ Patrick Veverka

    I, for one, was convinced that we would get a flag for illegal formation given that we had never run that play.

  • BenRM

    So you’re the guy who brings up national divorce rates at a wedding reception, eh?

  • BenRM

    Was it a perfect game? Hell no. Am I going to complain? Nope!

    (except about Marecic…Man that guy is bad).

  • SDA

    This was a fun game to watch
    pros
    1) we didn’t give up on the run!!
    2) corner back play was excellent even with all of the offensive pushing ( why don’t our receivers do the same?)
    3) Offensive line FTW
    4) Receivers caught the ball
    cons
    Marecic…..nuff said!!

  • Derek

    Anyone know where I can watch the game? I work on Sundays. Unfortunately Time Warner’s DVR does not.

  • tehe

    firstrowsports.eu

  • http://www.facebook.com/aarondbrowning Aaron Browning

    Really, we score 27 points on offense and you are complaining about play calling? Weak sauce. We scored 27 points = play calling worked = your comment is not based on reality = you are a whiny pants

  • Ritz

    Right, because a victory and a certain number of points scored means the playcalling was spectacular

  • http://www.facebook.com/aarondbrowning Aaron Browning

    Good, we agree. When the team scores points it is because the plays worked, which means that the play calling was good. I thought you would never get it!