I was sure I had the most magnificent dream Monday night. I imagined that the Browns not only beat the New York Giants, but did so in convincing fashion. Derek Anderson had his best game of the year, throwing for over 300 yards, and Braylon Edwards returned to his Pro Bowl self. I woke up figuring it was a pipe dream for an alternate reality; that is, until I turned on ESPN in the morning, which surprisingly devoted a good deal of time to a Browns victory and not simply a Giants loss. Get what I mean? There was credit given where it was due, and the coverage that received may have rivaled the insane amount of time spent covering Tony Romo’s poor widdle pinkie finger.
You can understand how many Browns fans stood in joyous disbelief as the clock ran out on Monday night with the Browns up by 21 points. Up to that point, the season has bordered on a nightmare, another throwaway year meant to develop whatever talent the team may possess and look forward to what would most likely be another season of disappointment. You can also understand how fans may want to approach this with caution, hoping this was not just a fluke.
That being said, I simply don’t care, because it was a win. To me, this was the offense from a year ago, the prolific team that could score with anyone. And I don’t believe it was just a coincidence that Donte Stallworth has returned right when the offense started clicking. The Browns desperately needed another receiving presence opposite Edwards, and Stallworth was exactly that. He only had 2 catches for 19 yards, but it allowed Anderson to spread the ball all over the field, opening up plenty of opportunities for everyone, including a workhorse effort by Steve Heiden (5 catches for 59 yards) filling in for the sick Kellen Winslow.
That 35-14 drubbing was one of the most complete wins the Browns have had in some time. The defense was able to beat the Giants at their own game, getting pressure on Eli Manning while forcing him to commit mistakes. The secondary, besides Terry Cousin getting burned a few times, showed up to play.
Next up for the Browns is the Washington Redskins, a team coming off an embarrassing loss to the previously winless St. Louis Rams. This is not a team that is particularly scary, and Winslow will hopefully make a return to the offense. Additionally, after the Redskins game, Joe Jurevicius (remember him?) can once again think about making a return to the team.
Believe it or not, the Browns are looking to win three in a row and play for .500. The AFC is having a bit of a down year, and there are no real dominant teams besides the Tennessee Titans. All of a sudden, next week has become a huge game that the Browns need to win in order to maintain momentum and get back into the playoff picture.