This live game blog trick worked out so well the last time I did it (Tribe-Red Sox Game 7) that we're giving it another run on TheClevelandFan. And really, what do we have to lose but another football game? First time ever for a 'live' event though. So hit that refresh icon and post your comments on the boards here.
710pm- I'm not saying I have low expectations for this game, but I'll be thrilled if Romeo doesn't lose a timeout challenging the coin toss.
720pm- By the way, I reserve the right to abandon this live blog idea at any time. I'm all for doing my part, but I have my limits. I'd rather chew on tin foil than subject myself to watching or writing about anything closely resembling the Cincinnati game. And that was actually the win for this team.
725pm- Ahhh, the pregame report. Michelle Tafoya on the Browns sideline reporting that the Browns offense is 'struggling'. The economy is 'sluggish' too Michelle. And you are 'plain' looking. Where the hell is Erin Andrews? I'd watch her read the phone book.
740pm- Emmit Smith looks strikingly like Michelle Tafoya. And Steve Young looks like the best option at QB for the Browns this evening.
755pm- I've determined the cost of season tickets to watch a bad football team play bad football is better than the alternative of staying home and watching NFL pre-game shows 8 times per year. The ESPN segments with Tom Jackson and Chris Mortenson just guaranteed the Browns another four figure check from me in March. Though I still think pairing Lou Holtz and Shannon Sharpe for a 1/2 hour buddy sit-com would be television gold.
805pm- Kellen Winslow officially inactive tonight. Same with Sean Jones, Shaun Smith and Kevin Shaffer. Steve Heiden gets the start at TE and Ryan Tucker starts at RT. Louis Leonard starts at DT. No truth to the rumor that Tafoya asked Winslow if he had the Juevos Grande for breakfast at Denny's this morning. Probably not the right time to ride Winslow for not sacking up either.
820pm- Tafoya reportsCrennel has told Brady Quinn to be ready to play tonight. I'm guessing 72,000 people in CBS probably mentioned something similar to Quinn as they entered the building. The Browns already lost the sideline reporter battle. Suzy Kolber is pacing the NY sidelines. She's no Erin Andrews. But she's also no Michelle Tafoya.
825pm- Tony Kornheiser is an unfunny version of Dennis Miller. And I didn't find Dennis Miller all that funny on MNF.
828pm- Cris Carter and Keyshawn Johnson took time out from worshiping the Giants long enough to criticize Braylon Edwards for his numerous drops. Good to see they found a balance in their coverage of the two clubs.
830pm- Steve Young just picked the Browns to win the ballgame. He was the only member of the 'Countdown' crew to do so. I told you he'd fit perfectly on this club. He's already concussed.
840pm- Browns win the toss. Giants offense hurriedly prepares to take the field.
845pm- Cribbs drops kick and ball goes through end zone. Then an illegal formation penalty on the first play. Right on target.
847pm- DA hits Braylon for a big play on a short throw and then JLewis rushes for 13 yards over the next two plays. Browns are in the red zone!! Checking to see if I'm watching a Tivo recording of a game from last October.
850pm- Penalty and a fumble that the Browns recovered leads to Dawson field goal. Might be the fever from this flu but I swear I saw Donte Stallworth haul in a DA pass. And I don't think he limped off afterward. 3-0 Browns lead.
Gotta see some backbone from the defense against this Giants rushing game. Take some of that away and you minimize the play-action against some inexperienced DBs.
858pm- Brandon Jacobs is big and fast. Browns LBs are a combination of old, slow and not very strong. Not a good combination for Browns fans. But Eli gets greedy and Brodney Pool picks him off at the Browns 5. There's a gleam in CBS tonight men.
859pm- Romeo tells Quinn he was 'just funnin' regarding that 'be ready to play' thing.
902pm- DA dinking and dunking. Going to have to stretch the field at some point to loosen things up for an inspired JLew. But Lewis has enough to eek out a 1st down at midfield. Following another Browns penalty DA has another short route jumped and nearly intercepted.
906pm- Heiden with a nice run after catch to keep the drive moving on 3rd and 3.
908pm- Browns pick up their 4th motion-type penalty with 47 seconds left in the 1st quarter. If only they'd had a bye week before this game to straighten that crap out.
910pm- Dawson can't convert on a 51 yarder and the drive yields nothing. Other than some frustration that is.
913pm- Giants take one play to get the ball to the Browns 35 and the first quarter is history.
Browns 3 Giants 0
918pm- Brandon Jacobs caps off a Giants TD drive by running over everyone except Big Dawg for a 5 yard TD run. Way too easy on the ground. The Giants would be foolish to throw the ball at this rate.
First token camera shot of the drunks in the bleachers. The streets of Cleveland could be paved in gold if they set up BAC tests after Browns games.
925pm- Beautiful throw from DA to Braylon for a 70 yard gain down to the Giants 4 yard line. Great move, great throw and BE held on. Which is followed immediately by a timeout when the Browns offense is in disarray. What? No celebration penalty too? They actually look like an NFL team at times folks. But the confusion and inability to maintain any discipline is sickening.
928pm- JLew goes in untouched from the 4yd line to give the Browns a 10-7 lead. Eliminate the mistakes and this lead is larger. Brandon Jacobs licks his chops during the TV timeout. The 'D' needs a stop in a bad way.
932pm- On 2nd & 10 from their 30yd line Eli apparently is getting signals from the Browns coaching staff and has to burn a timeout. The first 'Manning Face' of the evening. I made the same face regularly this weekend while battling the flu.
936pm- Eli makes use of the timeout and hits Plaxico Burress for 32 yards, part of which is nullified by a block in the back on the Giants. But it's still good for the 1st down.
940pm- Brandon McDonald makes a terrifc play to break up a deep sideline throw from Manning to Burress. The Browns hold on 3rd and 16 and the defense gets their stop. 84 yr-old Jeff Feagles is wheeled out onto the field to punt and the Browns have the ball back at about their own 25. Feagles is wheeled off and immediately lies down for a nap.
942pm- False start penalty on the Browns. Followed by the requisite timeout. I wouldn't let Romeo manage a car wash.
944pm- Braylon catches a ball in traffic to extend the drive. Go ahead, read it again. It happened. Good mix of run and pass thus far from the Browns tonight. Also nice that they now just count on the random timeouts and penalties as part of their 'offensive flow'.
949pm- Syndric Steptoe extends the drive on a 3rd and 7 reception for 20 yards. And I can't believe I'm writing this next sentence, but Darnell Dinkins just got loose for a 23yd TD catch on a perfect throw from DA. A quick look outside shows nothing is is going on to explain it. Nothing glowing or on fire. I did have to add 'Darnell Dinkins' to the spellcheck dictionary. Even the computer thought it was a mistake. 17-7 Browns.
Two Minute warning after Dawson kicks the ball out of the end zone and the Giants run a play.
1000pm- Browns have a Manning fumble and Cleveland recovery nullified by their 34th penalty of the half. That followed a terrific play from Eric Wright to break up a potential TD pass and nearly pick off Manning to kill the Giants scoring chance. Holding NY to 3 would be a super idea here.
1006pm- Not experiencing prosperity would typically make it tough to handle. So it is with the Browns as Burress catches a fade over the Jamey Carroll-sized Terry Cousin for a Giant TD.
17-14 Browns at the half.
I will now go clean out the cat box rather than listen to Chris Berman.
1018pm- I truly believe that when Romoe is at home baking cookies or pies (and you know he is) and managing the kitchen timer, that his pies and cookies come out either raw as hell or burnt to a crisp. But I digress. The football team has played some inspired football in the first half. I shall bide my time and hope the other shoe does not drop.
Giants ball to start the 3rd quarter.
1024pm- Not for long. Manning goes for broke and comes up a cropper when he's picked off by Brandon McDonald on the first play from scrimmage in the 3rd quarter. Browns get the ball at midfield after the return.
1030pm- HUGE run from Jerome Harrison on a well-executed reverse. Browns inside the red zone again. Rob Chudzinski is shooting all the bullets tonight. The drive stalls and the Browns have to settle for three when Donte Stallworth trips over all the extra athletic tape and band-aids he wears and has a well thrown fade slide though his hands. 20-14 Browns.
1040pm- Alex Hall sacks Manning on a 3rd down attempt and the Browns take over after Ebeneezer Feagles kicks it away. Is anyone else alarmed that Alex Hall is clearly the Browns best pass rushing linebacker? No? Never mind then.
Browns line up in the shadow of their own goal line and commit a false start. They're right where they need to be in that 'flow' thing. Oddly, no timeout followed the penalty. Progress.
1048pm- Don't look now, but the Browns are starting to exert their will in their running game. They're geting a push and beating the Giants up front. On the same night Darnell Dinkins caught a TD pass (and has dropped two catchable balls since).
Hey, a false start penalty after the second Dinkins drop. Cooking with gas on those.
1052pm- I was arguing with a friend that Steve Heiden was dead. I'm big enough to admit when I'm wrong. Two straight catches followed by a Heiden holding penalty as he gets into the penalty fun too. Does Romeo sleep under a tree during practice when they are supposed to be working on these things?
Give it up for DA. He keeps making throws despite the penalties to sustain a drive. Right up until Braylon drops his first ball of the night. Now it's a Browns game.
1056pm- Let's throw a delay of game penalty into the mix. Just for kicks and giggles. But DA hits Harrison to get a few back. That's immediately followed by another false start penalty. I'm not making this up. There should be Looney Toons music playing and some banana peels on the ground.
But DA gets it right back AGAIN. 3rd quarter ends with the Browns already over 400+ yards in offense and knocking on the door to the Giants end zone.
20-14 Browns after 3 quarters.
1101pm- First play in the 4th quarter and DA threads the needle on a TD pass to Edwards. This is nuts. It's like the Globetrotters breaking out the bucket of confetti trick before scoring on an alley-oop dunk. And it's not much incentive to stop making the silly mistakes. Thank God it's just the Giants tonight. 27-14 Browns 10 seconds into the 4th quarter.
1107pm- Too much to ask for one more stop? My stomach is still a bit nervous and it's not the virus.
Giants joining in the game of "anything you can screw up we can screw up worse" with a couple penalties. Too bad they don't have DA to bail them out with some keen throws. No, seriously, it's too bad they don't have him.
1113pm- Giants are just running at will on this drive. Into Cleveland territory at the 10yd line and showing no signs of meeting any resistance.
1115pm- Shoulda kept to the run fellas. Eric Wright just took the 3rd Eli Manning interception 90 yards the other way for a Cleveland TD with 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter. THAT was a game changing moment if it withstands a replay and he stayed in bounds. How could I have been so dumb as to sell my seats for face value? I'll make it back on the playoff games, rest assured.
Hold it. No replay challenge. Romeo actually called a timeout to determine whether to go for the PAT or the two-point try. The Browns go for 2 and get it on a DA pass to Edwards. Not sure I call the TO or go for two there but hell, it's Christmas. Joy to the world. 35-14 Browns.
Eli Manning looks like a walleye that's been clubbed before being tossed into the cooler. I love the 'Manning Face'.
1123pm- The Giants quickly pin Eli's arms to his chest rendering him incapable of throwing. They proceed to run exclusively all the way back down to the Browns 13 yard line. And they do so quickly. Right before the drive continues he apparently hears Romeo's voice whispering "delay of game" and "just use a timeout Eli" and Manning burns a TO as the play clock winds down.
1128pm- With 3:58 to play Manning misses on a 4th and 2 throw from the Cleveland 6yd line (shoulda run it boys) and the Browns can squeeze the air out of this one. Don't fluff the pillows yet but you're probably safe to let the dogs out one last time tonight.
1132pm- Browns fans break out the innovative "overrated" chant. No one can hear me but I'm chanting "BAC-BAC-BAC". Hopefully the absenteeism tomorrow at companies all over NE Ohio is offset by the strong beer sales.
1134pm- JLew is loving the 'grind the clock' phase of this one. He's punishing people and moving the chains. 2:00 warning. Fluff your pillows Cleveland (and that's not a metaphor or a shot at Winslow). Actually, 'fluff your pillows' might gain steam around here as a chant when the ballgame is secured.
By the way, Steve Young is a genius.
1136pm- Lewis gains a few more yards and another set of downs and it's 'V' formation time. Time for one last false start?
1138pm- It's all over folks. The Browns outplayed the Giants in most areas and won easily and convincingly despite a flurry of mistakes and penalties. Certainly tastes better than losing or the win at Cincinnati. Edwards with a TD and 150+ yards, DA with over 300 and no interceptions. Whether it's a highlight in a rotten year or a stepping stone will be determined starting next week. But we'll take it tonight.
Thanks for taking the time. And let us know if you like the format.
Final Score Browns 35 Giants 14