For those of you that watched this game, you were a witness to history. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you were privy to:
THE WORST GAME IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLDTM.
There have been many challengers in this battle, but none in recollection were so mind-numbingly awful, so devoid of competent Offensive football. You would think that a closely-contested ballgame like this would at least have the compelling quality of righteous struggle, but this was so obviously a pathetic scuffle between two terrible teams that it really robbed the game of any interest whatsoever.
I found myself not caring who won, just as long as it didn't go to Overtime.
JUST... END... PLEASE... GOD...
I would like to apologize to the Browns Defense and Special Teams, because they played a good game and didn't deserve to be stuck in this morass of suck. But between the Bills and Browns respective Offenses, they managed to set the sport of football back 100 years. It was like watching a game between the Dayton Curbsitters and the Raleigh Camels circa 1910, coached by 2 crotchety old men that remembered the Civil War fondly and detested that "new-fangled forward pass hooey".
QB savant Derek Anderson was 2 for 17 for 23 yards and 1 pick... for THE WHOLE GAME. There was actually a part of the game after his interception that every incompletion was making his QB Rating GO UP. That's like earning money for snoring.
Rumor has it that it was windy, but it better have been a damn hurricane to end up with those numbers. Cows should've been flying around the field. Somehow, Dave Zastudil seemed to punt the ball just fine (extraordinarily, in fact). Billy Cundiff made his kicks. Trent Edwards managed to pass for 152 yards. But the apparent cyclone seemed to spook DA, who managed to make Ken Dorsey look like Peyton Manning on this fine day.
He didn't even try to go down the field. It was almost like Brady Quinn drugged him in the locker room and put on a DA mask (sold at most local Wal-Marts). And the one time Anderson did throw down the field, it clanged off Robert Royal's magic hands.
The only proof that it wasn't Quinn in disguise was that I saw Brady on the sidelines, shaking his head and screaming at Eric Mangini (a la "Troy") "This is what you left me for???!!!"
DA is not solely to blame for his... uh... "performance". No, his Receivers helped out in droves. Mo Massaquoi, upon realizing that he was - in his 2nd start ever - suddenly the # 1 WR on the team, promptly shat the bed. Royal played like he'd had his hands amputated. No one else even seemed to bother going out on routes. Maybe they just couldn't hear the snap count over the howling tornado that is Western New York.
Regardless, the Cleveland Defense took up the slack, the Bills made one more mistake than the Browns at the end, and our warriors managed to eke out a Win. And, yes, I'm happy about that. It wasn't a particularly satisfying win. They played like crap and are lucky to have been matched against an even crappier team. But a Win is still a Win - something for the players to maybe delude themselves into being psyched about and to build upon.
At the very least, at the absolute minimum, this victory ends the nationwide 0-16 speculation. So we got that goin' for us. Which is nice.
Really? Do I really want to subject you - or myself - to a recap of this game? The answer is nyet.
End 1st: Browns 0, Bills 0.
DA got his first completion with 46 seconds left. Which is about the time I started screaming at the TV.
Why? The Browns were at their own 31 with 1:32 left. That's only about 40 yards from a FG attempt, and the Bills got the ball first in the 2nd Half. And the Browns ran out the clock.
The only thing I can think of is that it was such a typhoon down there on the field that Mangini didn't trust DA not to throw a pick, but, for the love of tofu... Mr. M, PLAY TO WIN THE GAME! This playing not to lose shit is just not up my alley. Even Rush Limbaugh thought it was way too conservative.
Why not just punt on 3rd Down?
Halftime: Browns 3, Bills 0.
Midway through the Quarter, I realized that I had been so numbed that I was drooling on my shirt. Cheaper than a lobotomy.
End 3rd: Browns 3, Bills 3.
The thrilling Punt-fest continued, until, with 3:10 left, Roscoe Parrish fumbled a Zastudil punt at his own 16. Blake Costanzo recovered.
It was the best Offensive play of the day.
With 26 seconds left, Cundiff came out and knocked home the FG, sending Northeast Ohio into a state of euphoria... or something like that.
Final: Browns 6, Bills 3.
Time of Possession: Buffalo - 31:34, Cleveland - 28:26
Total Yards: Buffalo - 288, Cleveland - 193
First Downs: Buffalo - 13, Cleveland - 9
They lost all 3 categories. So how did the Browns pull out the win?
They had fewer turnovers (1 to 3) and penalties (3 to 13). That's how Eric Mangini looks to play: less mistakes = chance to win.
Personally, I'm a big fan of: way more talent = chance to win, but I guess entering the palace through the sewers works sometimes too.
Dave Zastudil - You know it was a good game when your first gameball goes to the Punter. He had 7 punts inside the 20 (that's gotta be some kind of record), including one at the 4 and two at the 1.
The Defense - When your Offense gives you that kind of support and you still hold the opposition to 3 points, you have done well, my son.
Rob Ryan - For being so much cooler than your brother. Oh, and the Defense thing.
Jamal Lewis - Ran well again, making me think that his tank isn't quite empty (but the warning light is on).
Kam Wimbley - Another sack and some more QB pressure. Not many people are benefiting from the regime change, but Kam is one of them.
Alex Mack - On most of the few effective Offensive plays (runs, obviously), I saw Mack out front, pulling and leading the way. Rook is starting to look solid at Center, so at least we have like 4 positions now that aren't a huge need in the Offseason.
Mike Adams - Had a few nice pass break-ups, and his downing of the punt at the 1 (handing the ball off whilst falling into the End Zone) was brilliant.
Wall of Shame
Derek Anderson - You don't have a game like that and avoid The Wall, win or no.
Derek Anderson - I know I listed him already, but 2 completions? Seriously, man... what the hell?
Eric Barton - As with 2 weeks ago, I wrote "Terrible play, Barton. WoS!" down on my notepad this week, and I can't quite recall why. But if I took the time to single him out, then...
Mo Mass - Were those drops your "Ode to Braylon?"
Robert Royal - Is there a way we can just eliminate any plays that have him running routes? I don't want QB's to be tempted to waste a down by throwing the ball in his direction.
Aaron Goldhammer - Based on how he is now, I shiver to think how grouchy and deliberately argumentative this guy will be at 80.
Braylon Edwards - Another week of zero production for the Browns.
Whatever the reason - the wind, the DA, the lack of discernable talent at any Receiving positions - the Browns went heavy on the run. I'm not sure why they ran the ball 41 times opposed to 17 passes. The run was working OK, but it wasn't like it was so damn effective that they had no reason to pass. DA is a streaky passer, and if you don't get him going early, you get, well, 23 yards passing.
Quinn was bad enough to be yanked, yet, somehow, DA wasn't.
If there were ever a 50 foot neon sign wishing Quinn "Auf Wiedersehen", that's it.
According to a recent article, Brady Quinn's home is for sale. Foreshadowing?
The Trade Deadline is October 20 - right around the corner - and I'm sure Quinn would like to be traded. I'm certain he's sick of sitting behind a hack like DA, and he probably feels like he was royally shafted by Eric Mangini. Combine that with the exodus of the last remaining vestige of Receiving talent (Braylon Edwards) and there's absolutely no reason for Brady Quinn to want to stay.
Honestly, I can't say I blame him.
Yes, he sucked. He was awful. He made DA look good, and that's damn hard to do. And, yes, he's probably shown enough in a lot of people's eyes to cause them to feel no need to waste further time on him. I'm probably one of them. I'm about 95% sure that Quinn will never be an elite NFL QB, and I'm 99.5% sure it will never be in Cleveland.
But there's no way he got a fair shot. No matter how done he is here (and he's DONE), I really don't know how anyone can argue that he didn't get by far the least opportunity of any QB in this town since The Return. Even freakin' Charlie Frye got a whole season.
It's crazy. 1st Round pick in 2007. 2 ½ games in 2008. 2 ½ games in 2009. Done.
0 x 0 = 0.
I know I wasn't alone in endlessly cursing Braylon Edwards on Monday Night. He made me irrationally furious with a capital "FURE". Ask my girlfriend. I called him every name in the book (and some I made up) whilst threatening him with many levels of violence and death.
Why was I so angry? Because I knew it would happen. Braylon would go to New York and start trying really hard and concentrating and show exactly what he's capable of when he's not pouting and whining and acting like a gigantic enema bag. So even though his effort level in Cleveland meant he was useless to the Browns, his play in New York makes him very valuable to the Jets.
He behaved like a pampered princess, and was rewarded by getting exactly what he wanted. Argh, I want to jam a meat thermometer in his ear.
It very well may come to pass that Braylon's focus will wane and his hands will harden and his welcome will wear out and I can still enjoy his unceremonious demise.
But I really wish Mankinis didn't try to "make an example" of Braylon by sending him somewhere he was dying to go (throwing Br'er Rabbit into the thorns, if you will). I don't care if it was only for a 7th Round pick, they should've shipped his sorry ass off to Oakland.
You'd never have heard from him again.
The Roughing the Passer penalty against Corey Williams in the 4th Quarter was complete bovine excrement. The NFL has gone too far in its effort to protect QB's. It's gotten to the point where you'll get a flag for swearing at them.
I understand the NFL's desire to keep the QB's healthy. Anyone that had to watch the last 4 or 5 Browns games last season can attest to that. But they are taking it to a point where they are sacrificing the credibility of the league. How can a Pass Rusher go after the QB with all his might when there's basically a tiny "strike zone" on his target? Suddenly, he's thinking less about getting to the passer than he is about making sure he tackles him in a gentle fashion.
There has to be some compromise. It is unfair for a QB to be treated completely different than any other player (except Kickers), and yet have the freedom to act like real football players. If the rules are going to put limitations on getting to the QB, then the QB should have limitations put on him too.
My proposal is this: The QB wears a red, "limited-contact" jersey, like they already do in practice. The rules of tackling and hitting a QB remain just as they are now - the QB can be sacked. But a QB - or any player wearing the "limited-contact" jersey - cannot run beyond the line of scrimmage.
That's their limitation. You don't get to break away down field if there's a solid chance that the only reason you're still standing is because the Defender wasn't allowed to tackle you around the feet. You can scramble around as much as you want, but once you cross the line of scrimmage with the ball in your hand, it's a penalty.
That way, it gives the Defender plenty of time and opportunity to tackle the QB in a nice way.
The combined record of the 4 teams the Browns have lost to is 17-3. That's interesting. It probably doesn't mean a damn thing, but hey.
I saw a Chantix (quit smoking drug) commercial the other day. Here's a longer version of it:
Now, I've had several friends that have used Chantix, and it worked for them. They were heavy smokers that I thought had no chance in Detroit of quitting, they took the pills, and they were done. Have never started back up, either. So the pill obviously is effective.
But, at the end of the commercial came the warnings. I know they have to do that for legal reasons (like any other prescription drug), but Chantix went way above and beyond your normal warnings. It went on and on about "If you feel like killing yourself or killing others or having others kill you or convincing others to kill themselves, then you should stop taking Chantix."
At the end, you start thinking "Uh... Guess I won't be taking that."
Still, I'm not sure if 3 solid minutes of product warnings covered everything. If I might make some further (albeit, unconfirmed) suggestions:
If you're worried about blacking out for a week and waking up in Guatemala with no kidneys, Chantix may not be right for you.
Chantix may cause you to drink turpentine. If you do this, don't smoke immediately afterwards.
Chantix may give you herpes, or cause you to sleep with someone with herpes, or cause you to misspell herpes, or to think that herpes is a kind of bird.
Bleeding from the eyes happens with less than 70% of the people that use Chantix.
Ask your Doctor if taking Chantix might cause you to eat fruitcake, because that shit's nasty.
Chantix may lead to a rare disease called Deathitosis, which is like Death, only worse.
QB-O-RAMA - Version 2010!
If you believe that the Browns don't need to acquire a potential franchise QB in this upcoming draft, then I don't understand you. Your brainwaves are Swahili to me. Maybe you have a bizarre level of masochism, or maybe you hate yourself and the continued misery of the Cleveland football franchise somehow makes you feel better about your situation.
Regardless, I am of the belief that it is imperative that the Browns draft a QB in the 1st Round of the 2010 Draft. Here are the candidates and what they did this week:
Sam Bradford - Oklahoma (vs. Baylor) - 27 of 49, 389 yds, 1 TD. Nice comeback week for Mr. Heisman.
Colt McCoy - Texas (vs. Colorado) - 32 of 39, 265 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT. Word has it he didn't look all that great, but the numbers are still pretty decent.
Tim Tebow - Florida (vs. LSU) - 11 of 16, 134 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT, 38 yds Rushing. Won't be able to be a battering ram in the NFL.
Jake Locker - Washington (vs. Arizona) - 12 of 23, 140 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT, 92 yds Rushing, 1 Rushing TD. A big comeback win for Locker.
Tim Tebow has all the intangibles. He's tough, he's inspirational, he's a born leader. But, damn, he sure does throw an ugly ball.
Can he be "coached up" to produce NFL-quality passing skills? That's the million-dollar question, ain't it? If he can, then he's the choice, no doubt. But if he's yet another legendary college QB with skills that don't translate to the next level, then the Browns are better off going with one of the other three.
And I really like the other 3 QB's too.
DRAFT TRACKER - Version 2010!
The QB-O-RAMA is nothing without a Draft Tracker, because it will do us little good if the 4 QB's we are monitoring are off the board when the Browns pick. So, guess-timating the 2010 Draft due to likely finishes, here are the teams other than Cleveland likely to be in the Top 10:
St. Louis Rams - Do the Rams want a QB? They just might. Bulger is just about done, and Kyle Boller is only the answer if every other QB in the league suddenly dies.
Kansas City - And we thought it was bad in Ohio. Poor Missou. But, as far as we're concerned, we're happy to see KC up here, since they just shelled out beaux coup bucks for Matt Cassell, and will certainly give him another year before calling it a lost cause.
Oakland - The Raiders need a QB, but Al Davis is insane. I'm sure that he'll continue to insist that JaMarcus Russell is a "great" QB and that everyone should "get over it". So he'll pick a really fast Kicker.
Tampa Bay - Seeing as they just drafted Josh Freeman in the 1st Round this year, I highly doubt they're gonna spring for another one in '10. Chucky ain't there anymore.
Carolina - Oh, hells yeah. You know the Panthers will be going QB in the 1st Round this year. Jake Delhomme is on his last legs, and they'll have a new coach who will want to make his mark.
Detroit - Uh, nope. Detroit won't be taking a QB.
Tennessee - It's so hard to imagine the Titans being this bad all year, but they're getting pretty close to waving the white flag (putting Vince Young back in), so they might amass a fairly shitty record. And, if they do, they may indeed be looking QB at this spot.
Washington - You better believe your sweet ass they'll be looking QB.
Buffalo - It's really hard to say. Jauron's gone - that's for sure. Maybe the new coach wants to go his own way, especially since Trent Edwards hasn't exactly lit it up lately. But a lot of the woes can be laid at the feet of the Offensive Coordinator situation for the Bills, and any new guy will likely give Edwards one more year to prove himself.
Of those other 9 teams, boys and girls, as many as 4 might be looking to go QB in this juicy crop. It's hard to imagine the Browns ending with a better record than all 4 of those teams (STL, CAR, TEN, WAS), and it's hard to imagine all 4 taking a QB, but stranger things have happened.
From Andy Doe, Lima: "I'd like you to add another QB to your list, Dan LeFevour from Central Michigan. He's a four-year starter with stats superior to both Tebow and Locker in pretty much every respect, and coming from the bastion of QB development that is the MAC. Honestly, I'd rather have LeFevour than any of the other options on the table, not least of which because he'd likely only cost a 3rd round pick."
You know, I like LeFevour. I do. And if the Browns pass on a QB early in the 1st Round, then it's imperative they pick up LeFevour. But here are the 2 reasons I want the Browns to take the QB right away:
1. If you wait to pick up LeFevour in the 3rd, there's no guarantee he'll be there. It's easy to say "Let's get Player X in Round Y", but that plan is dependent on the rest of the league playing along. If some other team likes LeFevour as much as you do, then he might not be there in Round 2 or 3 when you expect him to be. And then you are SCREWED, likely scrambling and settling for the next best option. Which is no way to be drafting a Franchise QB.
2. I want the Browns' future to be tied up in the guy they draft. I want them to take a QB so high and have to pay him so much that they will be FORCED to give the guy every opportunity to succeed. The guy has to be the Future of the FranchiseTM. I want him to have every chance to start right off the bat. Plenty of guys have had success as rookies recently.
If the Browns draft a QB in the 3rd Round, then he's not the unquestioned Future of the FranchiseTM. He'll sit a year or two, probably behind someone like Derek Anderson, and then someday come in and be on a shorter leash than a Future of the FranchiseTM should be, and the second he starts to look weak, his bandwagon will be emptier than a midnight showing of Gigli.
Yes, there's a lot of danger in going for broke that high in the hopes of getting a Peyton Manning. But the odds are much lower that they'll luck into a Tom Brady in Round 6, and what the hell do the Browns have to lose?
This team will never be great as long as they keep helplessly flailing about at the cornerstone position of any NFL Franchise.
The Fixburgh Steelers
When first writing this, I went off on a tangent about how much I hate the Steelers and notated all the horrible things I wanted to happen them, including something about a bus driven by Braylon Edwards and the Grand Canyon. But such random anger at our one-time rival is wasted energy in this day and age.
This is not a rivalry. The Steelers are better than the Browns at pretty much every position, and they haven't lost to Cleveland since Nixon was in office. Don't go looking for a bucking of the trend here. The Browns O will continue to struggle now that the Human Bedpan is in NY, and the Defense will not be able to hold Fixburgh to 3.
I do, however, feel the Browns will make this closer than many might imagine. This Steelers team is not the world-beater it used to be, especially without Troy Polamalu. The combined record of the teams they've beaten is 3-11. The line is around 14, I've heard, and although this game will never be necessarily "close", I don't think the final margin will go over that.
Steelers 24, Browns 10.