Reports of the Cleveland Browns demise were greatly exaggerated
The Cleveland Browns answered their critics emphatically on Sunday. The Browns left M&T Bank Stadium with a resounding win and are now sitting atop first place in the AFC North.
One week ago today, the mainstream media claimed the sky was falling in Cleveland. The proverbial plane had hit the mountain, and this “experiment” was a failure. Luckily for the Browns, the mainstream media does not wear orange and brown.
Following the Cleveland Browns loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the national pundits were out in full force. They all had their hot takes loaded and couldn’t wait to fire their verbal bullets at the Browns and their fanbase. It was a shooting gallery.
These “takes” ran the gambit from “Baker Mayfield is overrated as hell” to “Freddie Kitchens is in over his head and needs to give up play-calling duties”. Then came the prevailing talking point of the week, the 2019 Cleveland Browns are all hype and no substance.
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Well, as it turns out, the sky was not falling after all. The plane had experienced some turbulence but was nowhere close to hitting the mountain. All that it took was a statement win on the road against the perceived divisional favorite to, at least for this week, right the ship.
The Browns didn’t just beat the Ravens on Sunday, they punched them in the mouth. They took the lead and never gave it back. The game was tied on two occasions, but the Browns answered every Baltimore blow with a counterpunch of their own. One of those counterpunches was a knockout uppercut delivered by an 88-yard touchdown run by Nick Chubb that completely took the breath out of the raucous crowd at M&T Bank Stadium.
In what will be one of the most difficult environments the Browns will play in all season, they went in and made themselves at home. With five minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Ravens fans all hit the exits and tried to beat the traffic. You could even hear the barks from “here we go Brownies, here we go” on your television. For a Browns fan, that is the definition of complete domination.
What was even more impressive than the win was the even keel manner in which the Browns gave their postgame speeches. As excited as you know they had to have been, they remained stoic in their answers. Even though the noise on the outside was loud and constant, inside the Browns locker room they were able to stay the course. They expected to win.
At the end of the day, the Browns ran the football and played solid defense. They picked up third downs through the air and executed on special teams. That is how you play sustainable winning football.
Be aware that overreaction Monday will be in full effect. The same talking heads that were slamming the Browns last week will be right back to hyping them up. But as Baker Mayfield said in his postgame speech, “I hope everybody keeps the same energy, they threw us in the trash…we won’t forget it”.