The Browns Won Today! No, Seriously!

imagesHey! Did you know that the Cleveland Browns won their game today against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 22-17?

Because, according to what I saw on Twitter today, I get the feeling that many thought the Browns lost this game.

Did you know that the Browns are 5-3 on the season? Did you know that they’ve won 4 of their last 5? Did you know that 5 wins after only half of this season is one more win than they had for the whole season in 2013? Did you know that? I get the feeling that not everyone does.

Look, nobody is ever going to claim that social media brings out the best in people, but from the time I woke up this morning, all I read was people wanting to bench quarterback Brian Hoyer. It wasn’t even unanimously in favor of Johnny Manziel. Two people wanted Connor Shaw to start! I’m not making that up! And once the game started, it got worse.

A guy tweeted to me that Hoyer “has the brains to play but no actual skill.” None. He threw for 300 yards and 2 touchdowns today, completed almost 62% of his passes, but he has no skill whatsoever. Okay.

And when the game ended, it got plain old ugly.

When tackle Joe Thomas expressed his support for Hoyer, a fan tweeted that Thomas’ opinion on anything was “garbage.”

This is what social media can do for you.

It makes me nuts. Not because people are wanting Johnny Manziel to play. I understand that, even if I disagree with it. Fantasy football has lead us all to believe that we can be general managers, we can draft, and that players can be subbed in and out with no consequences to the team. And it’s always the nature of a fan base to want the guy on the bench to play over the guy on the field.

But you can’t bench Hoyer right now. You can’t.

I’m not even disagreeing that Manziel could be a better quarterback than Brian Hoyer. (I’m also not agreeing) I’m just saying that you can’t bench Hoyer with the team winning games.

What’s making me nuts is that I would love to see Browns fans smiling and happy that the team is winning, despite that the injury to center Alex Mack has caused a major disruption to the interior line and brought the running game almost to a halt; and despite Josh Gordon being suspended. The fans have suffered so much. (Remember “Factory of Sadness”?) They deserve some happiness. But the fans are not smiling. They’re not happy.

For years this town has screamed for a team that can win some football games. And they finally are. They are .063 percentage points out of first place! And the fans are miserable!

As of the end of the Browns game – I’ll take this moment to remind everyone that the Browns WON that game – the only teams in the AFC with a better record than the Browns are the Patriots, the Bengals, and the Broncos. By the end of the night, either Pittsburgh or Baltimore, barring an unlikely tie, will join that short list, and on Monday, a Colts win would make them team #5 ahead of the Browns. You’re going to have no worse than the 6th best record in the AFC after 9 weeks.

Yet the tone on Twitter throughout the game was one of doom. People SMH-ing and groaning and talking about how the team was going to lose. They were calling for the starting quarterback of this team to be benched. This team that has lost one game since Baltimore won on a last-second field goal. Why? They say the team doesn’t score enough. (Averaging more than 3 TDs a game the last two games) Hoyer ALMOST throws a lot of interceptions. (He has 3 for the season.) They just can’t quit waiting for the worst to happen.

But then the Browns won! Rejoice, right? NO! It turned from worry to hate.

It turns out that winning isn’t good enough, either. I guess they have to dominate every game. Three weeks ago, the Browns stomped the Pittsburgh Steelers and everyone was riding high. Then they lost the next game and the fan base has been on suicide watch ever since.

I don’t get it. I mean, I really don’t get it. I’m not saying “Super Bowl.” I’m not even saying “playoffs”! Heck, I’m not even saying they’ll have a winning season! But stop telling everyone how you’re the best fans in the nation and then scream for people’s heads when your team is winning some games.

I wonder if Baltimore is this unhappy at being 5-3, prior to their Sunday night game. I wonder if they want to bench Joe Flacco, who came into the week behind Hoyer in QBR. Probably not. You know why?

Because those teams are winners and their fans know how to be happy. The Browns have been losers and all this fan base knows how to do is be miserable.

I’ve said before that the team isn’t the only ones who need to learn how to win games, that the fans do, too. Well, the team IS winning games. But the fans are still losing.

Pick up the slack, guys. Go ahead and be happy. Your team won today, and in four days are going to be playing for first place – at least for a few days – with 7 games to go. Two games after that, Josh Gordon is going to be on the field.

By all means, stand around and talk about the what-ifs, the could-ofs and should-ofs. That’s part of the fun of being a fan. Did you hear me? That’s part of the FUN. It’s not supposed to be misery.

In two months the season is over and it’s going to be eight more before they play another meaningful game. Try to enjoy it while they are winning some games.

We don’t get a lot of these around here.

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