So that was in interesting Browns game yesterday. Let’s take a look at it step-by-step and highlight some points throughout.
The first half of the game was as boring as the Redskins-Bears game from Thursday night. The Browns looked awful and the Jets looked like the Jets.
Great goal line stand by the Browns that ended with a Sean Jones interception after two stuffs of Thomas Jones runs. Very nice to see.
Derek Anderson should never throw a ball to Braylon Edwards chest. As has been the case since college, he drops so many easy balls but will make incredible diving, leaping, one-handed with a blind fold on and a fans throwing AA batteries at him catches all the time. A great fade pattern and catch for his franchise record 13th TD catch of the year.
When the Jets punted with 6:30ish left in the game on a 4th-and-4 from their own thirty, I thought the game was over. They were down 17-6 and couldn’t do anything offensively. But the Browns were even worse. A run for minus one yard, and two incompletions. Jets get the ball back 49 seconds later. Not the way to close out the game Cleveland. Even if you run it all three downs and don’t get a first, you take at least two minutes off the clock or force New York to take timeouts. Good teams take advantage of that and the Browns didn’t. Thankfully, it didn’t come back and cost us.
So what happens, the defense that had been so good all game, giving up only 6 points, allows the Jets to march down the field and score a touchdown. Worst part of the drive was the touchdown run. After Jones ran to the one-yard line, the Browns didn’t even get set on defense. I don’t know what they thought was going on but there was only one down lineman and a bunch of linebackers looking around at each other. That equaled an easy QB sneak for Kellen Clemens. How do the Browns not know to stack the middle of the line right then? Great play by Leon Williams to break up the 2-point conversion though. That play is overshadowed by Jamal Lewis’s run, but it basically won the game. More on why in a minute.
The Jets then recover the onside kick and drive to the 20 yard line. Fourth down and 10 yards to go, game on the line, you need a touchdown to win. What do you do? I guess you kick a field goal. That’s what Eric “not genius” Mangini decided to do. I see his reasoning but it’s horrible reasoning. He figured with three timeouts, he can get the ball back and when he does he only needs a field goal to win. However, if you have a chance to win the game, and touchdown would have won the game, you have to take that chance. Too many things have to go right for the field goal scenario to work out. Even if you don’t pick up the first down, you still have three timeout to get the ball back and score. When they lined up for the field goal, everyone I was with said, “Thank you Eric.” You can’t assume the onside kick. The chances of a team recovery one has to be like 10% and the Jets already had one. Should have played for the win.
Had Leon Williams not broken up that two-point conversion, that field goal would have tied the game. That’s why Williams’s play was just as important, if not more important, than Lewis’s run. I don’t know why no one else is talking about that.
The onside kick after the field goal was recovered by Joe Jurevicius and returned to the 31 yard line but I don’t think he ever stepped out of bounds. This time, the Browns did what the should have done at the 6-minute mark and they ran the ball three times. Of course, the third one is the one that will go down as the game winner – Lewis’s rumbling, stumbling, no one is going to stop me get out of my before I run you over 31-yard touchdown run. It was a fantastic run that won the game and symbolizes the season. It symbolizes the season because, all the Browns wanted on that run was three yards to set up a field goal. But Lewis wanted more. He could not be stopped as he broke no less than five tackles and took it to the house. This season the Browns, and the fans, just wanted them to be competitive, not get embarrassed and win a few games. But the players wanted more. They have played impressive in some games and just adequate enough in others but the bottom line is the are 8-5 and in position to make it to the playoffs.
One more field goal and one more onside kick recovery and the game was over.
One more note: what a horrible effort by Leon Washington and Josh Cribbs. They are the two best return men in the AFC but if you watch this game you would have never known it. Very disappointing.
A strange, nerve racking game that shouldn’t have been. If the Browns want to be a serious threat in the playoffs, they are going to have to play better than they have the last two weeks. They can’t get off to the slow starts they have and they have to step on their opponents throat when they are on the ground. The bottom line though is they are learning to win and they’ve won 8 times this year. I think 10 wins gets the wild card. A huge game with Buffalo next week but the Browns control their own destiny thanks to Leon Williams, Jamal Lewis and Eric Mangini.