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A Lackluster Finish To The Pre-Season
A Lackluster Finish To The Pre-Season
Missing an opportunity to carry the momentum of two promising wins into the regular season, the Browns looked uninspired and uninterested last night in losing to the Bears 20-7 in the pre-season finale. I've got all the grisly details in my morning wrap-up.
The final pre-season game for an NFL franchise is widely heraled as one of the most meaningless professional sporting events known to man. Teams use the third pre-season tilt as their dress rehearsal, and are simply looking to avoid injuries and evaluate the bottom feeders on the roster in the final contest.
That said, you would have liked to have seen a little better effort from the Browns last night.
Missing a chance to carry some real momentum into the regular season after two promising wins in their second and third pre-season affairs, the Browns came out and laid an egg last night, looking uninspired and disinterested in the process.
Let's start with the positives in last nights 20-7 loss to Bears, because there weren't many.
Browns first round pick Kamerion Wimbley continued to shine, wreaking havoc on a consistent basis for the fourth straight game. Flying all over the field, Wimbley caused several hurried throws, delivering a crushing hit to Bears starter Rex Grossman on one of them. Wimbley appears to be the real deal, and the type of difference making defensive talent the Browns have sorely lacked since Jamir Miller suffered a career ending injury in the pre-season five years ago.
The Browns avoided injuries, which really makes up for an otherwise awful performance. In addition, the team had just four penalties. Right tackle Ryan Tucker made his first appearance of the pre-season, and appears poised to be ready to start the season. And Derek Anderson led his third straight two minute drill scoring drive. And that does it for the positives.
As for the negatives, we'll start with the first team offense, who looked like they didn't want to be out there. In two three and outs, the team gained a grand total of eight yards. Charlie Frye was just 1-4, and under a constant blitzkrieg from a Bears defense that was resting many of their key starters. The first team offensive line yielded no holes in the running game, and no time for Browns quarterbacks to throw.
Suprisingly, neither William Green or Lee Suggs got a carry, as the team let Jerome Harrison and Jason Wright do the bulk of the running. Harrison had 7 carries for 32 yards, but 19 of those came on one run. The Browns offense had just 63 yards rushing on the night, completed just 14-33 passes, punted the ball 9 times, and were dominated two to one in the time of possession battle.
Neither of the backup quarterback candidates looked too impressive either. As mentioned previously, Derek Anderson did lead the team to a touchdown strike just before halftime, completing six straight passes in the final minute of the half, and finsihing it off with a 5 yard TD pass to Frisman Jackson, who caught 4 balls on the night. However, for the rest of the game Anderson was just 5-17, with an INT, and a multitude of tipped passes and awkward moments. Ken Dorsey was no better, completing jusy 2-7 [asses for 18 yards.
As for the game itself, the Bears got out to an early 7-0 lead, marching right down the field on the Browns first team offense. Teh Bears got the ball back, and drove right back down the field before the Browns defense tightened up in the red zone, holding the Bears to a field goal that made the game 10-0. The Browns then got the score before the half to close the gap to 10-7. The second half was dominated by two sustained Bears scoring drives. Chicago went 70 yards in 7:26 for a third quarter field goal that made the game 13-7, then sewed up the contest with a 7:07 fourth quarter drive that ended in a P.J. Pope touchdown run, providing the final count of 20-7.
The Browns now have nine days to rest before the pre-season opener at home versus the New Orleans Saints one week from this Sunday at 1:00 PM. The Browns are roughly 3 point favorites over the Saints, who are sporting new offensive weapons in quarterback Drew Brees and all purpose phenom Reggie Bush.
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