When Brady Quinn went down to injury, the Cleveland Browns' 2008-2009 season came to an end. And, the slim chance of Romeo Crennel keeping his job was lost once Derek Anderson went down one game later, because Ken Dorsey played so bad that I wouldn't want to dedicate a roster spot to him next season.
Now, there is one week left in this miserable season. After being blown out against the Tennessee Titans and the Philadelphia Eagles, and then getting shut out by a 2-11-1 Cincinnati Bengals team last week at home, the Browns will travel to Heinz Field to take one final beating from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
This being the NFL, if you're looking for reasons to believe the Browns have at defeating the Steelers for the first time in the Crennel era, then here they are:
- While his odds of playing aren't great, Kellen Winslow has not been ruled out yet for this week's game. If he doesn't play, then why wouldn't we have just placed him on the injured reserve earlier in the week?
- Bruce Gradkowski will make his first start at quarterback after being with the team for about a month (with our luck, we'll see Bartel in the game before its over). Although we didn't see it as a problem during camp, this is why it hurts to have not at least brought in a fourth quarterback during training camp. Last week, Gradkowski didn't have success but he at least got rid of the ball down the field to give our players a better chance at making a play on the football.
- The Steelers will probably rest their starters after a series or two. Only five games in Week 17 do not have any meaning in terms of playoff hopes, and our game is one of them. With Ben Roethlisberger already banged up heading into the playoffs, it makes perfect sense to give Byron Leftwich -- a player who might be looking for a starting role next season elsewhere -- three quarters worth of action in case he is needed in the postseason.
- In recent years, the Browns have typically played well in Week 17 contests, whether we have a good team or not.
A Browns' win would not make the front page headlines Sunday, and it wouldn't shake the Steelers' confidence. They already have a first-round bye locked up. Besides -- with how unmotivated our team seems under Crennel, and with how much deeper the Steelers are all-around than the Browns, it's probably safe to say the a good percentage of the Steelers' second-string is superior to the Browns' first-string.
A win over the Steelers wouldn't mean much. The real victory will come in the fact that the final whistle has blown in the Romeo Crennel era -- we hope.