Cleveland Browns Learning to Win the Ugly Games


I think it’s safe to say that the Browns don’t look beautiful right now. They are not the poster children for textbook football, but this hasn’t resulted in the typical apocalyptic outcome of recent Browns’ seasons. Sure, the Browns are getting themselves into some pretty ugly football games, but, lo and behold, they’re winning.

Saying “a win’s a win” is not something Browns fans are used to, due to the lack of any kind of winning, but I think it’s something we can all get used to.

Take the last two games for example. The Carolina Panthers and Miami Dolphins, as they stand now, should not have been such ugly affairs. The Browns were primed and ready to bury the Panthers and push them further into oblivion, but turnovers and poor tackling kept Carolina in the game, and the Browns were just barely able to squeak out the win.

Then you look at Sunday’s game against the Dolphins. The Browns were shut down offensively, partly because quarterback Jake Delhomme was reduced to Captain Checkdown, but also because they could never truly get anything going. As for the Dolphins, Chad Henne threw three interceptions, with one going to Joe Haden (his fourth interception in as many weeks). Overall, it was a slow, disjointed, and mistake-prone game, but somehow, the Browns managed to win.

The last two weeks have been anything but pretty, but the thing to take away from these games is that the Browns are finally figuring out the different ways to win in the NFL. You can call it playing down to the opponent, but few teams have ever blown out teams each and every week (think the Patriots of 2007, and even they didn’t win the Super Bowl), so some games will be ugly. There will be days when it’s obvious that just one break could decide the game for either team.

For once, it’s the Browns who are catching those breaks.