Sunday, November 18, 2007
Phil Dawson said it best after the game, the Cleveland Browns have been waiting for 9 years to get a call and they finally did. The no good field goal that was good after hitting the left upright and then hitting the arched post that supports the goal posts before bouncing back out in front of the goal posts allowed the Browns to survive a truly awful performance and somehow escape Baltimore with a 33-30 OT win. That win puts them at 6-4 a game behind Pittsburgh who no showed and lost versus the putrid New York Jets. It was a game that the Browns have become habitually good at losing on a consistent basis, but no matter how ugly it was they won and that all that matters. It was a stunning reversal of fortune that could hopefully spring the Browns onto a path of relevance and send the hated Ravens into a long period of suck-i-tude.
The Browns were not good today. DA and Braylon look completely off today, making mental mistakes and not making many plays when needed. Braylon had a fumble which DA threw a perfect pass right to Ray Ray Lewis for a Pick 6. The O disappeared in the second half for the second game in a row. The Browns had penalty problems, especially on the offensive line, resulting in a 1st and 30 at one point. Phil Dawson missed an easy 35 yard field goal early in the game and Ryan Pontbriand had his first bad snap I can remember on a botched FG attempt. The D allowed an awful Ravens offense and Kyle Boller to come back from a 13 point deficit. But somehow the Browns overcame it and won.
There were some positives. Jamal Lewis looked like he still had a pep in his step playing against his old team. Jason Wright again had more success as a nice change of pace back. K2 continues to make big catches when needed. Sean Jones looked like the playmaker he was last year and Brodney Pool finally stepped up when he was needed. Robaire Smith provided the Browns with a pass rush they have sorely needed. Mike Adams and Brandon McDonald stepped up after Eric Wright left early with a sprained knee. Josh Cribbs continues to amaze on kick and punt returns and even forced a fumble on kick coverage. Phil Dawson shook of an early shank to give the Browns the win. Romeo Crennel even won a replay challenge.
The Browns have 6 games to go against the opponents with the weakest remaining schedule in the NFL (lowest combined winning percentage of opponents). Who would have thought the Week 11 meeting with the Texans would have playoff implications? The Browns have plenty of problems that need fixing but they finally have returned to national prominence. When is the last time they were on the front page of ESPN.com or NFL.com? They are a constant topic on all the major pre and post game shows. That hasn't been the case since left were stolen in 1995. They may very well be the feel good story of the NFL. They seem to have some karma on their side for the first time in years with a fateful bounce. Let's see if the can turn that karma into a serious playoff push and reverse the fortunes of a once proud franchise.