After years - actually, decades - of watching anemic offenses struggle lamely up and down the football field, Browns fans are finally being treated to the kind of explosive attack this franchise was once famous for. What were once impossible dreams - a rock-solid offensive line, high-powered receivers, and a quarterback who can make all the throws and then some - are now constants for a team that has seemingly overnight gone from one of the most boring, lifeless teams in football, to one of the most exciting.
The white-hot start has the 2007 Browns threatening to rewrite large sections of the club's offensive record book. To wit:
The Browns are on pace to score a team-record 443 points (current record is 403, set in 1966). Their 27.7 points-per-game average, if maintained for the rest of the season, would be the highest since the team averaged over 28 points per game in 1968. They are currently fifth in the NFL in points scored. They haven't finished in the top five in this category since 1987, when they were third with 390 points in fifteen games (three of them played by strike-breakers). They're also eleventh in the NFL in total offense, a ranking that, if maintained, would be the highest since 1983, when they were tenth.
Some perspective on just how bad this team has been at moving and scoring the football- since coming back to the league in 1999, Cleveland has never scored more than 344 points in a season (that coming in the playoff year of 2002). In the same span, the Indianapolis Colts have never scored fewer than 349 points.
Derek Anderson is on pace to throw a team-record 39 touchdown passes (current record is 30, set by Brian Sipe in 1980). His current pace of 3,986 yards would be second in team history to Sipe's 4,132 in '80, and his 95.5 quarterback rating would be second in team history to Milt Plum's 110.4 and just ahead of Bernie's 95.4 in 1987. His current interception pace is 18, which is not the record and is a pretty tolerable number when you throw in what you get with the picks. It certainly looks as if I'm wrong about Derek Anderson's potential as a pro. My idiocy is delicious.
Braylon Edwards's current pace: 85 receptions, 1,529 yards, 21 touchdowns. Yes, Kumar, I am the greatest season by a receiver in franchise history.
I've been a fan of the Browns for about a quarter-century now, and Braylon's performance last week- right up until the doffed helmet and the potentially game-changing fourth-quarter drop- was the best I've ever seen by a Cleveland receiver in a single game. He was completely dominant, getting whatever he wanted, wherever he wanted on the football field. We've had some good, tough receivers around these parts- Slaughter, Brennan, Logan, Rucker- but we haven't seen a man with BE's man-among-boys quality since the days of Paul Warfield.
Kellen Winslow's current pace: 71 receptions, 1,216 yards, 7 touchdowns. The Browns have never had two 1,000-yard receivers in the same season. K2 is also averaging 17.1 yards per reception. For a wide receiver, that would be a very good number. For a tight end, it's damned near inhuman. Watching Kellen Winslow catch a football is like watching Manny Ramirez hit a baseball- you know you're witnessing something very rare and special in sport. K2 may never be fully healthy. Enjoy him while you can, because you won't see his like again.
Jamal Lewis is on pace to rush for 1,012 yards. Cleveland hasn't had a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver in the same season since Leroy Kelly (1,239) and Paul Warfield (1,067) in 1968.
Whether or not the Browns keep up this furious pace remains to be seen. But right now, this team is the most fun to watch as any we've seen since the return. Sit back, enjoy the ride, and hopefully, watch some records fall. It's been a long time coming.