A picture (or two) is worth 1,000 words.
The Browns played the juggernaut that is the New England Patriots close but committed four costly turnovers in a 34-17 loss in Foxboro, MA this afternoon. The Indians followed suit later in the evening, failing to eliminate the New York Yankees in Game 3 of the ALDS after taking a 3-0 lead off Roger Clemens. The Tribe ended up on the wrong end of a 8-4 score that included poor defense a bad outing by Jake Westbrook and an inability to mount a comeback.
The Browns started off well by holding the Patriots to a FG on their opening drive and drove the ball down the length of the field when they got the ball back. The faced a 3rd and Goal at the1 when Derek Anderson rolled right and instead of throwing the ball out of the end zone he trying to force on into Steve Heiden and it was deflected and intercepted. His first pass on the next drive suffered the same fate as before you know it the Pats were up 20-0.
But give the Browns credit, the defense played tough and they got back to 20-10 before trading scores back and forth. Another DA interception (#3 on the day) and a K2 fumble that was returned for a TD sealed the Browns fate. Good news, the Browns fought hard all game, despite their turnovers, and did not roll over. Bad news, some of the same problems that have plagued them all season were still present. DA's inconsistency, the lack of a pass rush and poor safety play all were exposed again this afternoon.
The Browns also suffered some injuries as Jamal Lewis was injured on his first carry of the day. Joe Jurevicius left at half time with a leg injury and Brodney Pool left the game in the second half and was replaced by Mike Adams. Jason Wright filled in admirably for Lewis and Tim Carter actually made a couple play after coming in for Joe J.
Not a lot of positives for the Brownies today but the task at had was difficult. If anything, they played the Pats a lot tougher that the teams New England has played so far. It was also nice to see a Browns team that go down early not roll over and play dead a la the Steelers debacle on opening day. The play a horrible Miami team next week that lost their starting QB today. Hopefully they will be motivated after being slapped around by the Pats and don;t get caught in a trap like they did in Oakland.
The Indians added to today's pain by falling to the Yankees, 8-4 to narrow whir lead int he Best of 5 ALDS to 2-1. The Indians scored a run in each of the first 3 innings to go up 3-0. Jake Westbrook worked out of trouble in the 3rd with a 3-1 lead but then lost it in the 5th giving up 4 runs and the lead and then came out for the 6th for one batter. He was replaced by Aaron Fultz who did nothing to keep the game close as the Yankees plated 3 more runs to make it 8-3. The Tribe managed to mount a rally in the 8th but could only plate 1 run. Final score, Yankees 8 Indians 4.
Paul Byrd throws tomorrow and his history against the Yankees is as bad as Westbrook's is. A fly ball pitcher in Yankee Stadium with the predominantly left-handed New York line-up in not a good formula for success. If the Tribe wants to make more noise in the playoffs they need to get over the stigma of Yankees Stadium and just play baseball. They could do nothing against the young Yankees pitchers Phil Hughes of Joba Chamberlain who replaced and awful Roger Clemens. The need to seize back momentum in the series and strike the final blow tomorrow.
If they do not, they seed of doubt will be planted in their mind and that is never a good proposition.