Sunday was not a good day to be a Cleveland sports fan. After waking up in the morning giddy over the previous night's Buckeye destruction of "the Best Offense in the Big 10/11" (snicker), I was anticipating a respectable Browns showing (and possible "trap game" upset win), to be followed by the final nail in the coffin of the hated Yankees.
So whose right arm stunk the most? Anderson or Westbrook?
That's like choosing between Hitler or Stalin...the 1991 Indians or the 1981 Cavaliers...Strohs or Pabst Blue Ribbon...Lindsay Lohan or Britney Spears.
There are no winners here, only varying degrees of odiferous exhibitions of Stink.
At least I only had to wait 24 hours to get the sour taste out of my mouth when it came to the Indians.
How Can a 500 Pound Man Disappear?
David Copperfield must have been at work here, because I know of no one else that can make something the size of Ted Washington invisible. In any case, Ted must have snuck in to the coaches room and cleaned out Romeo's secret stash of Ho-Hos (at least 10 cases), because he found himself in the Travis Wilson Memorial Inactive Club on Sunday.
So you have several old, slow, and untalented men weighing a minimum of 300 pounds that are getting pushed off the line of scrimmage with the ease of Shaq bumping Manute Bol off the low post.
What do you do?
According to Grantham and Romeo, the answer was to go with only one or two defensive linemen on most plays, and have 260 pound Kamerion Wimbley, 270 pound Willie McGinest, and 255 pound Antwan Peek playing defensive ends in a 4 - 2 - 5 setup to counter the Patriots 3 wideout set. (McGinest also played several plays at DEFENSIVE TACKLE, with Wimbley and Peek playing DE).
The results? Zero sacks, 412 total yards by the Pats, and a 102 yard rushing game from 58 year old Sammy Morris, only his third 100 yard game in a career dating back to the Nixon Administration. One particularly embarrassing play saw Morris pile drive Leon Williams back four yards on a 3rd and 1 situation. In general, Leon did not look good on Sunday.
Tom Brady did, however, having had enough time in the pocket to leaf through his Rolodex of supermodels and actresses looking for the best candidate to shag that evening before finally finding a wide open receiver.
Which was often tight end Benjamin Watson. In four prior games, Watson had managed 11 catches for 87 yards. The Browns defense made him look like Antonio Gates, as he snagged 6 passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns...and on several occasions the Browns decided not to bother covering him at all. Other times, he was covered by Sean Jones...which is pretty much akin to not covering him at all.
Had it not been for the outstanding coverage job from formerly toasted rookie Eric Wright on superstar Randy Moss, it could have been much, much worse.
Next week, I'm anticipating a front four of Scott Player, Phil Dawson, Ken Dorsey, and Tim Carter.
Any videotaping of the Browns defensive coaches by the Patriots staff was strictly done for laughs.
A Competitive Game? From the Lowly Browns against the Greatest. Team. Ever?
The game had real live announcers with Greg GumbyDammit and Dan "I used to be a Monday Night Football Announcer" Dierdorf. It was even broadcast in HDTV!
Wow! The Browns must really be getting some respect now.
What? You say it's because of the Patriots, the only team that gets as much slobbering worship from the media than the Damn Yankees?
Despite the fact that CBS was just anticipating another exhibition of football dominance by the NFL's Premier (cheating) Franchise, the Browns actually were quite competitive, and did not embarrass themselves at all...considering the ass kicking the Patriots had laid upon their other foes this year. Quite the accomplishment considering the turnovers and injuries sustained in the game.
Jamal Lewis was hurt after one carry. Joe Jurevicius was hurt after only making one catch. NyQuill Jackson probably would have been hurt after making just one tackle behind the line of scrimmage...but we're not sure as that event happens less often than Alex Rodriguez postseason hits. Too bad Romeo wasn't carted off after his first eaten steer.
Jason Wright did OK filling in for Jamal...but given those same holes, you'd have to think that with Jamal's superior size and speed that he would have ended up with a lot more yards. And Jamal definitely wouldn't have gotten pushed out at the one yard line by a defensive back. Tim Carter also did a good job filling in for Joe J.
And what would have happened had Wright gotten hurt? With Jerome Harrison also serving as a charter member of the Travis Wilson Memorial Inactive Club, I guess all of the carries would had to have gone to Lawrence Vickers...a thought that is scarier than Joe Borowski in the ninth with a one run lead. Not that it really would have mattered. A 20 point half time deficit is usually the signal to throw the running game plan out the window.
Thank God that the Patriots decided that it was totally unnecessary to play in the third quarter. They showed about as much interest in playing football that my ex-wife used to show about having sex. (Snarky ex-wife jokes are usually the sole property of Hiko, but I'm sure he won't mind me infringing upon his gig this one time).
But any time the Browns started to look like they would come back, the Pats would wake back up and slap them back down. After both touchdowns by the Browns, the Patriots methodically moved down the field, scoring a touchdown after the Browns closed to 20 - 10, and then effectively running the clock out, taking it down to 57 seconds on the drive following Winslow's touchdown that made it 27 - 17.
And then Winslow fumbled, which was picked up and ran for a touchdown by the Pats. Good night. Drive home safely; the point spread has been covered.
The Derek Anderson Era (Error) Needs to Come to an End.
Derek Anderson may not be the winner of this week's "Of the Same Monetary Value as Mammary Glands on a Sus Scrofa Award" (that would be whichever defensive genius decided to put McGinest at defensive tackle), but he was damn close.
First drive of the game...despite Jamal being out of the lineup, they still have a chance to tie or take the lead...until DA brain farts and tries to throw across his body into triple coverage in the end zone. Hell, the first pass he threw once it was goal-to-go should have been intercepted; a quacking duck destined for the hands of a defensive back until Joe J made a great play to slap it away at the last second.
First offensive play next time the Browns get the ball? Another INT, this one just as ugly.
I'll give him a break on the third one, as MuthaTucker, in his first game back from his suspension for being Like Barry, got beaten badly, and DA's arm was hit as he was throwing.
But Anderson has the accuracy of Joba Chamberlein with a face full of midges. The only starting QB in the league with a lower completion percentage than DA? Alex Smith...and that ain't by much (52.2% vs 51.2%). Were it not for the incredible hands of Edwards, Winslow, and Jurevicius, it would be so much lower.
Imagine what his completion percentage would be if he had to throw to Dennis Northcutt, Quincy Morgan, and Andre Davis. I'd say it would be right around the same number as Terry Bradshaw's IQ.
Additionally, he's going to get one of the Big Three hurt badly at some point due to making them always stretch out for passes, right in front of defensive backs looking to lower the boom. Harrison's hit on Winslow while reaching for a high DA pass being Exhibit A. Edwards being upended near the end zone and shaken up a few weeks ago while jumping for a pass being Exhibit B. He hits receivers in between the numbers about as often as I hit 10 foot putts.
And if you'd take either Kellen or Braylon out of this lineup, the Browns are toast. As of now, it's dangerous to try to double team one of them as the other would kill you in single coverage. Take away half of the duo, and you'd see the other get more attention than Paris Hilton in a nightclub with no underwear and a couple of grams of coke.
On his short passes, Anderson has the touch of a sledgehammer. A dump off pass is supposed to be an option to pick up a few yards when the rest of the receivers are covered...not an adventure that usually ends with an incompletion at best, a tipped ball at worse.
Brady Quinn SHOULD be starting this week. And there is no way he shouldn't be starting the first game after the bye week.
Unfortunately, I expect DA to be able to carve up a poor defense like the Dolphins, which will cause Romeo to keep Quinn on the bench awhile longer.
But I will give DA credit, he does have guts, as exemplified by standing in and taking the hit when delivering the TD pass to Winslow. And he still has a quick release, which was needed on Sunday as the Patriots showed pressure like he had not seen all year (almost all of it from up the middle...Joe Thomas had another excellent game).
In any case, the Browns are performing well on offense due to the much improved offensive line, fantastic receivers, and the big play threat of Jamal Lewis...NOT because of the exemplary play of Derek Anderson.
It would be like me taking the wheel of the Home Depot #20 car. I could make it go fast, just because it's a friggin' race car, but there is no way I could do the things in it that Tony Stewart can.
I have just made a NASCAR reference.
I think I need to shower now.
Blurbs From An ADHD Mind:
~ As I was driving back home from Charleston, SC late Saturday afternoon, I was thinking that I really need one of the emergency care bracelets. Mine would say "In case of emergency, please Tivo the Browns game".
~ Does Bill Belichick get offered clothing from homeless people?
~ What an unbelievable one-handed catch by Braylon Edwards right in front of the Patriots bench. And then Belichick challenges the play...giving us a hint as to where Romeo developed his talent for the improper use of the red flag.
~ What's with Phil Dawson's sudden improvement in leg strength this year? I'm waiting on the photos of him and Marion Jones together to come out.
~ Good bye, Scott Player, and your ugly helmet and uglier Fu Manchu. Perhaps there's an opening on "American Chopper" for you.
~ Could Gillette Stadium be any further out in the boondocks? I remember going there for the Browns/Pats game in 2001, sitting in the old stadium with its aluminum benches (and 12 inches of snow), and it struck me as odd that they put something like this right in the middle of nowhere. It was further out from civilization than even the old Richfield Coliseum. If it was any further out, you'd see Charlie Frye playing QB for the local high school team there (Willard Flashes Rule!).
~ Reggie Bush = Eric Metcalf with a better PR Agent.
~ Chip Caray = Disgusting Yankees Knob Polisher.
~ Mike Vrabel = Piece of human excrement.
~ Vinny Testeverde just signed on as the backup to David Carr for the Carolina Panthers. The average age of the entire team just went up four years.
~ Who knew that backup QBs would become so valuable? Leinart, Delhomme, and Green are all done for the year, with Losman, Alex Smith, Bulger, Tavaris Jackson, Pennington, McCown, Huard, and McNair missing time due to injuries. Maybe they should have held onto Charlie for a little while longer. Anyone seen Spergeon Wynn lately?
~ Vrabel isn't the scum-bag of the week, though. That would be Texans defensive lineman Travis Johnson, for his classless behavior after Trent Green received the Grade 3 concussion that will in all likelihood end his career. After standing over the unconscious Green and taunting him, Johnson continued his tirade in a post game interview, questioning Green's manhood.
After that, Johnson drove to a dogfight, where there were strippers performing, leading to a knife fight after he showered the hoes with thousands of dollar bills. On his way home, he first stopped to buy more alcohol to drink while he drove and to dump his used motor oil down a city drain, before wrapping his expensive sports car around a telephone pole.
Marvin Lewis has left repeated messages on Johnson's answering machine, begging him to play for the Bengals.