“Just win baby!” The famous words of deceased Raiders head honcho Al Davis rang so very true in Oakland today as the Browns faced the silver and black. It wasn’t a pretty game. The rain held off, but the field was mucky just the same. The Browns had some big plays including long passes to Mohamed Massaquoi and a 44-yard TD to Josh Gordon. The Browns also turned the ball over via two ugly, early rising fastballs from Brandon Weeden who was wild early. On the Raiders side, I couldn’t tell you how many balls were dropped by Raider receivers, but it was a noticeably high amount. In the end, the Browns had what felt like one of their better offensive games of the season as they won 20-17.
The Browns ended an ugly 12-game road losing streak. Phil Dawson also ended a not-so-ugly streak as he couldn’t escape the ugly Oakland turf. His impressive consecutive field goal streak was ended at 29. Rather than bemoan the end of the streak, it’s much more important to realize just how impressive Dawson has been. The field goal attempt that ultimately missed was a high snap on bad turf and was ultimately blocked as well. Even in missing his first out of thirty attempts, Dawson didn’t go down easily with a common shank.
The game wasn’t even really as close as the final three point margin. The Raiders had one big play to score a touchdown for 64-yards to Rob Streater over Buster Skrine. The Raiders added a 17-yarder to tight end Brandon Meyers with one second on the game clock, but it was already pretty much over, although not before some tense moments.
The Browns had a miniscule 13-10 fourth quarter lead and were driving near mid-field on the Oakland 45. On third and inches the Browns snuck the ball up the middle and received a horrendous spot and it was called fourth down and inches. After thinking about it, Pat Shurmur elected to use his last timeout rather than challenging the play. The Browns came out and went for it on fourth down and converted, but this is a logic mistake, I believe. The Browns used a timeout rather than just challenging the play. If they won the challenge they could have kept their timeout. If they lost the challenge, they still could have lined up and gone for the first down.
Thankfully for the Browns and Pat Shurmur they converted on fourth and inches and eventually ended the drive with a Trent Richardson rushing TD to make it 20-10. The Raiders got the ball back with 3:27 left and the Browns forced them to bleed the clock before allowing the TD with one second left.
So the Browns won. The Browns won the game from wire to wire even if it wasn’t a blowout. The Browns still seemed to be a bit pass-heavy. They started the game off being careless with the ball. They were fortunate to have the Raiders drop lots of passes. Still, they closed out a game on the road against another power rankings bottom dweller. There are still lots of questions facing Joe Banner and Jimmy Haslam as we get closer and closer to passing judgement on this team as it exists today, but it’s also a lot more fun when the team eeks out an ugly win as opposed to an ugly loss.
“Just win, baby!” Indeed.
(AP Photo / Tony Avelar)