Writer: Mike Lukas
Hoo wee, the Cleveland Browns’ bandwagon sure is losing its riders these days. Good riddance, fair-weather fans.
No offense, but if you’ve given up on the Browns after a 1-2 start, you’re obviously not a true fan after all.
LOL No way you would’ve endured the 2-6-1 start from last season. Or the 0-16 start from 2017 or the 0-14 start from the year before.
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Seasons like those and like 2019 (so far) tend to thin the Browns herd like a stomach virus. Granted, it’s not easy backing a struggling NFL franchise, which the Browns definitely have been and still are (for now), despite their incredible paper roster.
But that’s what being a Browns fan is – backing the orange and brown regardless of the record. We tried to tell that to all the looky-loos before the season got started, but Browns-fan-wannabes saw Baker and OBJ and Chubb and Myles in the Cleveland locker room and figured they’d found themselves a quick, surefire winner to glom onto.
Eventually, the Browns will be just that, surefire winners, but it most likely won’t happen the way casual come-lately fans were hoping it would. Take this matchup with the 2-1 Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, for instance.
A Browns win at the M&T Bank Stadium would be nice (and critical, in fact), but during that preseason prediction period (others call it ‘August’), most experts figured Week 4 would be a loss for Cleveland. Why? Mostly because the Browns haven’t beaten the Ravens in Baltimore since…anyone?
The year was 2015 (a season the Browns began with a 1-3 record, interestingly enough) when, in Week 5, Cleveland earned their second win by beating the Ravens in Baltimore with a hard-fought 33-20 victory in overtime. Will they be able to do that again this Sunday?
For a Week 4 win to happen, the Browns’ offense must start firing on all cylinders – from better playcalling by Freddie Kitchens to quicker decision making from Baker Mayfield to better protection from the offensive line.
And a lot less penalties from everyone wouldn’t hurt the cause at all. Cleveland’s banged-up, throat-stomping defense will keep them in the game – they’re incredible like that – but that’s asking a lot of Myles’ men if every potential Browns touchdown keeps turning into a field goal. (How on earth did the Browns go from 6th best in the red zone last season to 23rd best right now and with better players?)
Of course, as a fan, I’m predicting a Cleveland Browns victory on Sunday – they are entirely capable of neutralizing Mark Ingram and his clever running pal Lamar Jackson. And at some point, Baker Mayfield will go back to being dangerous Baker Mayfield and then Dorsey help our opponents when that happens.
But if they don’t win on Sunday, I’ll still be a Browns fan on Monday, because even when the team’s 1-3 (or 0-16), that’s what Browns fans do.
We also harshly critique and make outlandish suggestions (Antonio Brown? Really???) but when all the orange and brown dust settles, true Browns fans keep the faith and gear up for the next one. And the next one. Something bandwagon fans have no interest in doing.
Prediction: Cleveland 20, Baltimore 13