I don’t care how grizzled of a Browns fan you are nor how tightly you have your arms crossed, there is a bottom line here, and that is wins and losses. If you can’t have a moral victory, you can’t have a moral defeat. So put one in the Win column for the Brown and Orange.
Now, let’s get to the game itself.
Apparently, a Mike Pettine team cannot have any time off. The game to start the season and the game after the bye week both saw the Browns play terrible in the first half.The Tennessee Titans looked as unbeatable as any team in the NFL. They scored 21 points in the second quarter alone. Two touchdowns came from their back-up quarterback, Charlie Whitehurst, a lifetime backup who’s nickname is Clipboard Jesus. Not good.
But as they did in that season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Browns came back, except this time they won the game. The defense pitched a shutout in the second half. Just as in the Steelers game, this was a tale of two halves with two different Browns teams taking the field.
After that Steelers game I asked, “Who is this team???” That’s not happening here. I’m not confused. The Browns woke up and beat a bad team, that’s all. I’m happy they won, but they should have never been in that position to begin with. The Browns have some serious issues, win or no win.
That defense gets so lost during games. They can’t cover, they can’t tackle, and there is sure to be 2 or 3 untimely penalties against them.
Joe Haden…I don’t know what to say. Apparently the coaching staff says he’s been playing great with the exception of very few plays. Maybe that’s true, but those few plays are big ones because everyone’s noticed it. And I find it hard to believe that these were the only times he’s been beaten on. That pass interference in the first half was awful. He looked lost, as he has in previous games, and decided his only option was to shove the receiver before he had the ball.
Don’t get me started with Buster Skrine. Wow, is he exasperating. The only good thing he did today was get his helmet in the way of starting quarterback Jake Locker’s hand. That’s why Whitehurst had to finished the game. I’ve tried defending Skrine in the past because he was forced into playing the other starting corner position. I don’t care. He’s not good. Unfortunately, they can’t get a second corner. Not for lack of trying. They took one in the first round.
Justin Gilbert! I heard fans over the summer talking about Haden and Gilbert as the next Dixon and Minnefield. Well, Gilbert came into this game, third on the depth chart. Third! Please don’t tell me that he’s that far behind Buster Skrine, not when we passed on Sammy Watkins to get him. Yes, I know about Buffalo’s first round pick. I’d rather have Watkins.
On the other side of the ball, I don’t understand why the Browns pass as much as they do. This unit is way better than the defensive unit, so it’s hard to complain a whole lot. But they have three guys who can run the football. Why when it is 4 down territory and they need three yards do they not run the ball?
Brian Hoyer, let me say this. He’s Jeff Garcia light. That may not be too bad for now. He made big plays in this game. But he got away with a few today, too. He seems good for two or three headscratchers each week.I like him, I think he should be starting, but I can’t imagine he’ll ever be something more than a 6 on a scale of 1-10.
The Browns are scrappy, you have to give them that. They’re 2-2, which I think any fan would have been happy with prior to the start of the season. But they have to learn how to play well consistently. They have to stop committing so many penalties. They have to be able to field punts.
A surprised as I am that they won and as good of a thing as that is, I’m not real happy. I feel more like we got away with one. Still, in the NFL, a win is a win, even if it was an ugly one. They’re not giving it back, the same way that Pittsburgh is not giving back their ugly win in Game 1.
Speaking of the Steelers, they’re next. And the Browns need to win that one, too. They are another bad team. But they got the Browns once and the favor needs returned. This one is in Cleveland, so we will see.
Come back Tuesday and I’ll give a more analytical breakdown of what happened today. On Friday we will look ahead to that Sunday Browns game.
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