Sunday, December 2, 2007

No Show in Arizona

In what was their worst performance of the year since the Opening Weekend debacle, the Browns fell to the lowly Arizona Cardinals, 27-21, to fall to 7-5 on the 2007 campaign. It was Christmas come early for the Cardinals as the Browns basically handed them the game from the opening series and were unable to overcome their numerous mistakes over the course of the game.

Overall, the Browns committed 4 turnover, 3 by Derek Anderson, which handed the ball to Arizona deep in Browns territory and gave they 21 points with minimal effort. The turnover fest started on the opening series as the Browns were driving into Cardinals territory were Anderson threw a gift Pick 6 TD to Roderick Hood. On the subsequent possession, DA fumbled the snap deep in Browns territory and Arizona cashed in again to make it 14-0 after 2 series. A second DA interception was rendered moot by the defense by a costly fumble on a punt return by Josh Cribbs handed the Cardinals the ball deep in the Browns end again and the Cards cashed it in for their 3rd TD off a turnover in the game.

Penalties also killed the Browns as many of them were via the stupid variety. DA was called for pass interference on the first play of the game. Leign Bodden got flagged for a personal foul for playfully kicking the football after stopping the Cardinals on 3rd down. Sean Jones got called for a Horse Collar and Brodney Pool got called on a late hit on different scoring drives. Simon Frasier was called for a personal foul on the last kick return of the game that cost the Browns 15 yards they sorely needed. Overall the Brownies were tagged for 10 penalties for 77 yards.

The Browns never looked interested or got into a groove throughout the game. DA had a great stat line but was forcing the ball into bad spots especially early in the game. He made a number of bad decisions and poor throws that he is capable of making. The defense was handed very bad situations for 21 of the 27 points but the penalties killed them. They got no pressure (and no QB sacks) on an aging Kurt Warner playing behind a below average NFL offensive line. Edgerrin James ran for 114 yards when he hadn't cracked 80 in the last 4 games. The Browns were outplayed on special teams as Arizona successfully kept the ball out of Josh Cribbs' hands by pooch kicking all afternoon while the Browns gave up quite a few big returns to Steve Breaston.

Very disappointing as Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow and Jamal Lewis all came to play big time today. Lewis looked rejuvenated again as he pounded and ran his way through the Arizona D all day. Edwards made a ton of big catches especially on 3rd down and looked focused and determined. And Kellen Winslow was simply Kellen Winslow making plays for the Browns time and time again, nearly stealing a win for the Browns on the final play of the game when he caught a pass in the end zone but was ruled out of bounds rather than forced out by the Side Judge.

It was obvious the Browns were the better more talented team throughout the day, they just could not get out of their own way long enough to make something happen. A huge step back for the team after an impressive victory over the Texans last week. Now they must travel to Jersey for another 4:15 game against the improving Jets, who beat up on win less Miami today, 40-13. The Jets, despite their 3-9 record are improving and have weapons in Kellen Clemens, Thomas Jones and Laverneus Coles. The Browns have learned to win at home, now they must learn to win on the road if they want to be a serious playoff contender. The Jets are a team that the Browns are superior to and should beat... but so were the Arizona Cardinals.

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