Okay, Cleveland Browns fans, let’s get after this.
The Browns beat the hated Pittsburgh Steelers in a game that was close for one quarter. The Browns came out flat and you couldn’t help but think, “Here we go again.” Two three-and-outs for Cleveland, and the Steelers were one mishandled snap from being up two field goals.
That first quarter ended and the fan in me was upset about the game. Yes, it was a game against our rivals; yes, it was an important divisional game; but there was another reason I was bothered by it. Before the game began, I was listening to the local pregame shows, and my mind was on the upcoming contest. I was thinking of what I wrote on Friday, that this would be a close, high-scoring game. But then I asked myself, “What would you think if you weren’t a battered Browns fan?” What if you looked at this game from afar, what would you think?
My answer: I think the Browns would win this easily, maybe 24-10. Why?
The Steelers are in a bad way this season. Their offense managed 10 points against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week. Though they got 24 points on the also-terrible Tampa Bay Buccaneers the week before, they managed only one touchdown in the second half and lost that game.
So when the Browns came out flat, I was upset on many levels.
At halftime, with the score 21-3, I had the slightest smile. After all, I am still a battered Browns fan and you know that nothing is over until it’s over. Something else: The Browns were getting beat well at halftime in the first game, not as badly as Pittsburgh was being beat in this game, and they came back. Why couldn’t Pittsburgh. Then something gave me a little bit of hope.
At halftime, Mike Pettine was asked about the 21-3 lead and he repeated what I was thinking, that they saw a big lead vanish in the first game, so now was not the time to let up. God, I love that guy.
When the 3rd quarter ended, the Browns now up 24-3, I said to my friend, “The Steelers aren’t going to score 21 points in one quarter.” See, I was back in that “what would you think if you weren’t a Browns fan” mode. Again, the Steelers only scored 10 points in an entire game against the awful Jaguars. As soon as I said it, I heard my friend gasp, and for one quick second, I worried that she was on her way to delivering a punch to my face.
Thank you, past Browns regimes, thank you for scarring us and not allowing us to relax and enjoy a big lead.
As we know, the Steelers did not score 21 points. They managed a touchdown in garbage time, but by then the Browns had added another touchdown as well and won by a final score of 31-10.
I am very happy, and it’s not just because the Browns beat the Steelers. It’s because they are 3-2. It’s because they have some winnable games right in front of them. The next three are Jacksonville, Oakland, and Tampa Bay, three bad teams. Say the Browns win 2 of those 3; they will be 5-3 at the midway point. (I can’t stand to even dream that they could be 6-2!) I predicted they’d have 4 or 5 wins for the entire season.
Still, there is one more thing that makes me happy.
The Browns of the past probably would have choked a 21-3 lead away. The Browns of the past may have never had a 21-3 lead to begin with. And, as Steve Orbanek pointed out on Saturday in his weekly column “10 Orbservations“, (If you’re not reading this column every week, you’re missing out. It’s always a wonderful read that I highly recommend) the Browns of the past would have never come back from that huge deficit last week against the Tennessee Titans.
Good win, Cleveland fans, good win. It did come at a cost, though. We may have lost Alex Mack for the season. We’ll find out. I hope not; he’s a top-tier NFL center. But for now, let’s enjoy this one.
I’ll be back on Tuesday to recap the game. Come on back. As a matter of fact, bookmark Everybody Hates Cleveland and come back every day! You’ll find Cleveland sports, WWE wrestling, and movie/music/TV reviews!