As I was walking from Cleveland Browns Stadium after the game yesterday, I reflected on what I found to be most noteworthy, aside from the obvious – a wrenching overtime loss to the Bengals 23-20, with just a few seconds left on the clock.
1. Shaun Rogers and Josh Cribbs are simply incredible. Those two guys come to play. They are talented gamebreakers.
Rogers blocked a field goal early in the game. Then he blocked the extra point when the Bengals scored a touchdown to tie the contest at 20. Rogers gave us a chance to win. Just take a moment and watch that man on the field. He moves like someone who weighs 250 pounds. He encroached on Palmer’s space several times and was instrumental in our one sack of the game. And on the sidelines, he is one of the first players to rally the troops. I saw him pumping our receivers up several times, including draftee Massaquoi. Big Baby is a beast – we are very lucky to have him on the Team.
What can you say about Josh Cribbs? He had several long kick/punt returns which gave us good field position. He would have scored twice if he had better blocking down the field. His energy and enthusiasm is infectious among his teammates.
2. Derek Anderson won the starting job for good this season. The guy could not hit the broad side of a barn, but he clearly showed that he can move the Team down the field; he can get first downs; and he can actually throw the ball more than 5 yards. I was a strong proponent of starting Brady Quinn this season, including yesterday, but I am a Browns fan first, and I will support DA. He gave the offense a spark that was completely absent the first three weeks of the season. He made some mistakes, like the interception in the end zone and missing some easy targets very late in the fourth quarter and in overtime, but we finally got the sense that we can score some points!
3. Our offense is still the weakest link on this Team. Our defense played very well yesterday. We forced several short series for the Bengals. We stopped them all day long except when we really had to in the fourth quarter when we allowed Palmer to put up 6 points to tie the game. Ryan is a psycho on the sidelines – I love it. That guy is intense. Our defense deserves some praise for yesterday’s effort – it shows that we can play solid D when our guys are not out there all bloody game.
4. A diamond came out of the ruff yesterday – Massaquoi. Our WR draftee played very well. He caught several passes and showed great speed and sticky hands – a lot stickier than Braylon who dropped another pass right on target in the first quarter. Great job Mohammed.
5. The biggest improvement yesterday came with our O-line. We protected Anderson. DA had lots of time to settle in the pocket and throw the football down the field. We also created a few holes for Harrison – better than in the first three weeks. That improvement needs to continue if we want to beat the lowly Bills next week.
We lost the game yesterday, and I was pissed. But at least we were not embarassed. At least we scored some touchdowns! We were in the game. We showed guts rallying from being down 14 points. I had my head a little higher afterwards.