The fairytale couldn't have lasted forever, right? All good things do, in fact, come to an end. The Cleveland Browns are still processing what happened in Houston last weekend after an embarrassing AFC Wild Card showing.
Cleveland gave up 45 points, which is an issue in and of itself. But, the offense only mustered 14 points.
It was especially tough to see considering what Joe Flacco had brought to the table and how he seemed to turn the team's offensive fortunes for the last month or so of the season.
And, after the loss to Houston, one might have guessed the team would make some big-time decisions in the coming days. Fast forward a few days after the loss, and those decisions started rolling in.
The Browns have fired offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt, along with a couple of other key offensive staff members.
Cleveland let go of their offensive coordinator, Alex Van Pelt, along with running backs coach Stump Mitchell and tight ends coach TC McCartney.
It is tough to see the Browns part with some key coaches, but it seems clearer and clearer that the success this team saw in the waning weeks of the season was largely due to Flacco.
From Weeks 13-17, when Flacco was the team's starter, the Browns averaged a whopping 312 passing yards per game. Prior to Flacco taking over, Cleveland was just over 181 passing yards per game. The veteran made all the difference in the world.
Now, the Browns will focus their attention not just on replacing those coaches, but also what they plan to do at the quarterback position going forward. Obviously, Deshaun Watson is the team's starter. He should be ready to go following season-ending shoulder surgery last year.
But, with Flacco also expressing a desire to play again in 2024 and having said how much he loves Cleveland, the quarterback position could become not only interesting, but eventually a controversy, if Flacco was re-signed.