Well, it took 6 weeks but the Browns can finally call themselves winners. (at least for now) The recipe for a Browns win? Just schedule a free-fall jump from outerspace on gameday and the rest just happens automagically.
I couldn’t bring myself to write about the game until today. I really just wanted to enjoy the moment without breaking down what I thought were the key moments. I also didn’t want to ‘over-hype’ the game either while riding high on my immediate emotions. After all… we are still 1-5 and in last place of the division. HOWEVER, I won’t sit here and undermine the importance of this win for the fans, the team, Pat Shurmur, the Lerner family, and the Haslem family. This was exactly the medicine this franchise needed so badly.
What I liked…
- Brandon Weeden looked decisive the entire game. He wasn’t staring down receivers which helped to open some things up in the passing game.
- Montario Hardesty. Speaking of decisive, he was finding the hole and hitting it hard. This is actually an area I believe Richardson can improve. No I’m not saying Hardesty is the better back (far from it actually) but I would like to see Richardson take his first look a little more often.
- Josh Gordon is getting open and when he’s not being targeted, he’s still dragging defenders with him which is opening up plays for others.
- Josh Cooper, Weeden’s frat-boy buddy made a couple of really nice catches. The one that I recall was on 3rd down on an out-route where he hauled in a laser beam with his fingertips. Not only did he make a hell of a catch, he kept his feet in bounds, and turned up field to pick up the first down. Weeden needs a guy he can trust on 3rd down and Cooper may be that guy.
- The Joe Haden effect. Just Haden’s presence on defense seemed to change the state of the secondary quite a bit. The drop off from Haden to Skrine is huge. The drop off from Haden to Sheldon Brown not as much. This showed the entire game.
- The TEAM found a way to win. When they took the lead you could see they were playing loose/free and forced that Dalton interception to Sheldon Brown. A game like this is huge for a young team. Now they understand what it takes to close a game out.
- The fans. From what I could hear on TV, the fans really got into the game late which I believe was exactly the energy the team needed to get over ‘the hump’. Props to anyone who was down there on Sunday making noise!!
- Craig Robertson is awesome. I can’t believe this guy went undrafted! Props to Heckert and Co for this one. Same goes for Billy Winn who came to us late in the 6th round. Can you say diamonds in the rough?
What I didn’t like...
- Owen Marecic, Marachic, Macimick,… whatever his last name. It should be Molasses cause he’s about as slow as they come. He is terrible and I refuse to Google and remember his real last name until he does something, anything notable on the football field. Why is he still on this team? Did someone say Smelley?
- Weeden needs to learn the pump fake. 2 or 3 passes were knocked down at the line. 1 resulted in an interception early in the game that killed our momentum and resulted in 7 points for the Bengals. The Browns aren’t good enough yet to overcome points off of turnovers. They must be kept to bare minimum.
- Josh Cribbs has muffed a punt in 3 straight games. I like Cribbs on kick-off returns but think the punt returns should be handled by someone else. (ideally a healthy Travis Benjamin)
- TJ Ward. Remember when he was good? Yes, he’s playing with a cast on his hand. However, that shouldn’t prevent him from being in the right position on the field. Perhaps he should start attending the walk-throughs instead of skipping practice to hang out in Joe Haden’s basement while posting pictures of himself on Instagram with his boo.
Looking at the Browns upcoming schedule, it's not impossible that they could be 3-5. We'll face the Colts in Indy next week and the Chargers at home. Let's home the Browns can get Trent Richardson back from that injured steak by next week's game!