Running Thoughts: Browns Fall to Ravens 20-10 FINAL

Check here for in-game thoughts and reactions during today’s Ravens Browns game. I’ll be watching with my buddy, codename “Clodhopper.” He used to be a punter at the University of Toledo, and he loves Reggie Hodges.

Enjoy the game and go Browns!

Pregame

  • I think Eric Manginihas been coaching to not lose his job the past few games. Like he would look worse not converting a 4th and 1 against the 2-win Bengals than he would against say, the Patriots or the Saints. You look fine running fake punts and weird, go-for-broke reverses when you play a vastly superior team like the Saints. I feel the Browns don’t play up and down to the level of their competition as much as they are coached to play more conservatively against teams they should defeat. The Browns are the underdog here, and they like that role. Look for Mangini and his staff to shoot from the hip and call some trick plays. Mangini’s on the ropes, and has nothing to lose.
  • I feel the Browns should change some things up if they intend to win, but I don’t think its in their nature to go on “gut feelings.” For one, Josh Cribbs has given you nothing in the return game all year, why not let Joe Haden take back kickoffs today? If your willing to let Cribbs return kicks, you better be ready to run some serious Wild-cat. I don’t think they will. Anything else they should switch up? I’d love for someone to step up and support Peyton Hillis, just don’t see that guy on the roster.
  • Clodhopper thinks Reggie Hodges has been the most consistent Brown all year. Count him as possibly the only Browns fan looking forward to seeing Hodge-Podge punt in this weather.

First Quarter

  • Colt McCoy finally gets burned on his trademark 1st quarter lollipop down the sideline. INT. Clodhopper says good punt, but it probably cost the Browns a field goal. 
  • We get into an argument now about McCoy reminding me of Charlie Frye. Drafted in the 3rd round, mobile, gritty, no arm. He worries me. I think the Browns should look hard at QB in the draft next year, maybe Ryan Mallet will be there?  
  • The Clodhopper points out that other than the interception, McCoy’s been perfect so far. 
  • And there’s the trick play! Mohamed Massaquoi hits Brian Robiskie on a WR reverse TD-pass. Hold-on, the Ravens jump offsides on purpose during the extra kick to give their coaches time to challenge the call. I say savvy move. Clodhopper proposes a rule change where coaches can’t challenge a call after a defensive penalty, which makes sense. Doesn’t matter baby, TD! 
  • Joe Haden on Ravens WR Anquan Boldin. Good luck, guess we’ll see just how bad Eric Wright really is…

Second Quarter

  • We’re not sold on Joe Flacco either, in fact, he reminds us of Derek Anderson. He looks, not smart, to put it nicely, like DA. Great arm, no touch, great weapons. The Ravens haven’t won a playoff game where he has played good. He’s never been the difference. Ravens took him in the first round, and started him right away as a rookie.
  • Clodhopper throws the remote. The refs let Massaquoi get tackled for just enough time for him to fumble. The ball trickles down the sideline like Chansi Stuckey’s infamous fumble against the Jets. Why don’t the Browns go for the ball like that?
  • Ravens convert the turnover into a TD. Great throw by Flacco, freakin laser beams. Goes to TJ Whosyourmama. 
  • Colt is 3 for 3 on third down so far, very un-Charlie Frye-like.
  • No Hodges sighting yet?! Clodhopper is forced to admit that Hillis is a good looking dude, as far as dudes go.
  • Second lollipop from McCoy, INT, at least they broke Ed Reed’s arm on the return. Two INT in two quarters, that’s more Fryish. Colt’s first two INT game since Pittsburgh, his first NFL start.
  • Good plays back-to-back for Joe Haden! Sure tackle on a dump-off throw to TJ Houzmanzada, and on the next play, preventing Derrick Mason from scoring on a lob into the end-zone. You go boy.
  • Cribbs converts a 3rd and 4 out of the Wild-cat. Like I said, if he’s in there, you got to use him. After a Mike Bell screen pass goes for 20, he now has more yards this game than his other Browns’ games combined. That’s two points covered in my pregame thoughts. Call me Holmgren.
  • With 20 seconds left in the half, we notice we haven’t been watching the game in HD, that’s -5 manpoints. No Reggie Hodges either (well, good hold and the final field goal), down 13-10, rough half but it could be worse.

Third Quarter

  • Mangini in the locker room at half time? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xP1-oquwoL8
  • Another trick play! On-sides kick to start the half. Ravens caught off guard but the ball goes out of bounds. Ravens get the ball in great field position as the Browns have basically declared they can’t beat them straight up.
  • Sheldon Brown commits two penalties on the same play: Pass interference and illegal hands to the face, yet Mason scores anyway. Oh boy.
  • Drop. We don’t know who #88 is, but he stinks.
  • The bright side is Reggie Hodges, the Browns best player, takes the field to punt it away. Clodhopper gives him a B+ after the fair catch is called, but I get the feeling he isn’t really impressed.
  • 43-yard pass to Robiskie called back for offensive pass interference. Holding enforced on the next play, now 3rd and 27. Nobody has that in their playbook. Reggie comes out and boots it 50 yards! Clodhopper: “Pretty freakin good. Great placement, great distance, great hang time.”
  • Joe Haden interception, BAM! Now tied for most interceptions among NFL rookies, and the guy didn’t start half the season. Browns can’t turn the possession into points though, and punt again. We worry Hodges is getting tired. 

Fourth Quarter

  • We all secretly decide we’d rather be watching the Jets-Bears game we see has changed leaders four times in the last 20 minutes. The TV announcers agree.
  • Clodhopper is alive on the Ravens’ upcoming 3rd and long (even though its only 6). Browns D get off the field with the sack! The gravy, old man Mason is injured.
  • Clodhopper genius moment after an apparent injury to Ben Watson: “Watson is our best receiver, Colt is our best quarterback, Hillis is our best player, Haden and Ward are our best guys on defense – all new dudes.” He’s right, is that good or bad?
  • Colt is having a great drive here in the fourth. Starting at his own 6, he’s moved the Browns in to scoring position here with4:55 left. His awareness in the pocket is his greatest strength, something your Brady Quinns, Derek Andersons, and even Charlie Fryes never had.  Never mind. Colt just threw his third INT of the game, second to Ed Reed. Daboll looked pretty upset on the sideline. Clodhopper, your thoughts: “Why do they still let him come to the games?”
  • Ed Reed’s jacket just caught on fire because he was too close to the sideline heaters. I swear he does is it on purpose, so the TV announcers can joke, “Reed is on fire right now!” 
  • Down 20-10, the Browns are done for the day. This is their third loss in a row. Ravens clinch their third playoff appearance in a row.
  • Bottom line: I hope Mangini doesn’t get killed for giving up a pretty decisive score when the Browns missed that on-sideskick. I wanted him to play aggressive and he did. The Massaquoi fumble was as big a negative play as that kick.
  • Mike Holmgren was in the house, and his evaluation of Colt McCoy might as well read: Can’t throw it well in a cold Cleveland climate, is exposed when he doesn’t have a dominant running game (Hillis has nothing left), has great awareness in the pocket, can feel the blitz and get out of trouble with his legs, is an accurate thrower, but  doesn’t possess the arm-strength to consistently win, would be better suited for the backup role. Sorry Browns fans, he’s not the one.

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