Guess what? The NFL played its All-Star Game on Sunday! The only reason I stuck it out for the entire game was because six Browns had a chance to represent Cleveland in the best possible way. Unfortunately, the NFC defeated the AFC, 42-30. That didn’t stop left tackle Joe Thomas or heaven-sent kick returner Joshua Cribbs from having particularly strong games. Thomas had to play right tackle the entire game because no right tackles were selected to the Pro Bowl and Cribbs did his usually thing, averaging 26.5 yards per return.
Here are a few notes on the game:
- I don’t know about you, but I was fairly proud to see the NFC not kick to Cribbs on the opening kickoff. When was the last time a Browns player commanded that kind of respect? It may seem like a little victory, but hey, this is the Pro Bowl we’re talking about.
- Braylon Edwards started out his day with a 31-yard gain on a Peyton Manning pass. He then proceeded to drop an easy one, committing the cardinal sin of receivers by taking his eyes off the ball. How is it that he makes the most impossible catches with such ease and pulls a “D’oh!” moment on the easiest ones?
- Thomas looked good the entire game, even while playing on the right side.
- Did anyone else notice that one of the helmet logos was upside down on one of Derek Anderson’s sleeves? Maybe he did that himself to indicate that he believes it won’t work out in Cleveland…
- In the second quarter, when Ben Roethlisberger threw a touchdown pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh to make it 23-7, one of the announcers said, “It’s amazing how quarterbacks and wide receivers develop chemistry in just a few days together.” You know, they really are just throwing a ball to each other. They aren’t dismantling bombs or performing a high-wire act that would result in one’s death if performed poorly.
- Cribbs made it into a few plays as a receiver and, unlike with the Browns, he was an intended receiver to boot. I would love to see him in more offensive sets next season. I know the argument against it will be that you don’t want to tire him out, but his big-play ability should be unleashed on opposing defenses as well. Not too many more offensive plays; the Browns wouldn’t be asking him to play quarterback and defensive lineman in addition to returning kicks. But if he could do all of that at a Pro Bowl-level, that would be fine too.
- I know this was just the Pro Bowl, but Derek Anderson sure did look rusty, overthrowing many of his receivers. The receivers weren’t doing him any favors either by consistently dropping some easy passes.
Derek Anderson: 10-26, 103 yards (38.5%), 1 interception
Braylon Edwards: 2 rec, 40 yards
Kellen Winslow: 1 rec, 11 yards
Joshua Cribbs: 6 returns, 159 yards (26.5 avg)
Joe Thomas: strong blocking all game
Ryan Pontbriand: yeah…well…he was there! Every snap was crisp and he was usually around the action on special teams coverage.
Thanks to these six guys, I had one more Sunday to devote to football. Now, until baseball season starts, I won’t know what to do with all the free time I’ll start accumulating on Sundays.