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Analyzing the Game: Browns Stage a Comeback

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So much for the fans continuously panicking, and actually believing that the Browns would go 0-16. After a grueling first half of the game (for the most part), the Browns were able to complete one of the best statistical comebacks in team history. It's a shame we couldn't get the job done against the Baltimore Ravens last week, since that would mean we'd be ahead of the Steelers right now. We have one more game before heading into the bye, so let's take a look at how the Browns beat the Raiders. Here's the breakdown of the Browns vs. Raiders game:

Strong Points(Why We Won In Game)

  1. Player of the Game: Joe Jurevicius. Although he only had three catches, all three of them were huge, including the game-winning touchdown catch in the corner of the end zone. Jurevicius was a little under-utilized earlier in the game, but he showed that he's the type of receiver the Browns have not had since returning to the league. He won't make the 50-yard touchdown catches, but he'll hang on to those big first down catches near the sideline.
  2. Welcome Home Reuben: 25 carries for 100 yards is the prototypical average for a solid rushing day, and that's exactly what happened for Droughns against the Raiders. Although the Raiders are still a team you can't brag about, their main weakness involves their offense, not their defense. His early fumble was questionable, but he should know better than to let go of the football before the play is officially over. Without a couple of his 3rd-down-and-short carries, we may have been out of the game.
  3. Kamerion Wimbley: He had a 15-yard facemask penalty called on him during Justin Fargas' big run, but he still had the speed to stay with the big-play running back. Wimbley also made his presence known on Andrew Walter, including two sacks.
  4. Game on the Line, Three Times: On three separate 4th-down situations, the Browns executed 110% - twice on offense, and once on defense. Defensively, Orpheus Roye took LaMont Jordan down in the backfield after the Raiders did not attempt to throw the challenge flag on the play before, when it appeared as if they had gotten the first down. Roye's play marks the second straight week the Browns' defense made a play on a running back like that; last week, Matt Stewart led the charge against Jamal Lewis. Offensively, we executed a 4th-and-relatively long play with a pass play to Kellen Winslow Jr., as he settled down in between zone coverage. Finally, the Browns converted a 4th-and-short on a play where the Browns seemed to have a bad spot. Charlie Frye ran the quarterback sneak on the play, something the Raiders should've considered with 6-foot-6 quarterback Andrew Walter earlier.
  5. Playcalling from Carthon: Although there were some blemishes, such as the 3rd-and-long handoff to Droughns that led to a long field goal miss, the offense ran calls to get us back in the game without needing a bomb pass from Frye. The screen passes on our final drive were the most impressive, as we ran two of them against Oakland's defense.
  6. Special Teams: I'm not kidding when I say the Browns have one of the top special teams in the league, considering I mention that in all of my game-day previews. The returns by Joshua Cribbs and Dennis Northcutt made things much easier for us offensively, even if they did get tackled by the kicker and punter, respectively. If that happened against any other team in the league, we may have a case that it was kind of pathetic. Janikowski and Lechler are massive for their position, and I've seen them make similar plays against other teams in the past. One more note - how awkward is it that the Browns only had to punt twice in that game?
  7. Daven Holley: Although he gave up the short touchdown pass to Randy Moss, he defended it as well as I can possibly imagine him defending it, considering his size. Holley stepped up big in place of Leigh Bodden, although you do have to take into consideration that Oakland's offense is leaps and bounds worse than Baltimore's, so that is really bad.
Weak Points(Why We Almost Lost The Game)
  1. Goat of the Game: Run Defense. I broke my rule of not picking an entire unit as a goat or a star, but it's harder to find an individual "bad" player after a victory. The run defense had all Browns fans shaking their heads on two particular plays - the 59-yard dash by Jordan, and the 48-yard run by Fargas. You hate to imagine stats if you "negate" big plays, but if you take those two plays away, Oakland had 3.6 yards-per-carry. Even that is unacceptable against a team like the Raiders, who have one of the league's worst running games.
  2. Dumb Penalties Early: Oakland's offense showed absolutely nothing to start the game, but our defense had several penalties that kept their drives going. Thankfully, that was not the case on special teams, because if it was, all of those amazing returns would've been called back. How funny is that - the Browns special teams unit isn't getting penalized at all - a drastic change from the past couple of years.
  3. Biggest No-No Ever: Unless you see something on film that is going to result in complete blown coverage, plays should never, ever be designed for a fullback like Terrelle Smith, which takes possible plays away from someone like Steve Heiden, with better hands. Miraculously, we threw to Smith three times. If I remember correctly, all three of those plays were stuffed immediately, shy of the first-down marker.
  4. Second Biggest No-No Ever: Maybe Frye got a little too cocky after seeing his "across-the-field" throw to Winslow work a week ago, but that was when he was wide open. When you have the lead, and it isn't even a third down play, you never force a ball in the end zone, let alone heave it across your body into double coverage. Most of Frye's interceptions this year have resulted from dropped passes or getting hit as he throws, but both of his picks against the Raiders were plays that were flat out stupid. The first one was somewhat excusable, but not the second one. I guarantee you that after that play, every Browns fan watching the game immediately thought of what happened a week ago against the Ravens. Thankfully, Oakland is horrid.
  5. Bodden's Injury: It's bad enough not having Gary Baxter, but losing Bodden would be a fatal blow, especially with the Carolina Panthers coming up next.
The Browns have one win in the books, and although it came against the worst team in the league, it made my day. For the first time after a Browns game in the past four weeks, I was actually delighted, rather than depressed after the game. Depending on Bodden's status, things could get ugly against the Panthers next week.

A couple of other notes to pass along...the Browns released OL Alonzo Ephraim, choosing not to keep him after his four-game suspension. And, the Browns released DL Babatunde Oshinowo and signed CB Jereme Perry from the practice squad. That could be a sign of Bodden's status this week, and perhaps more of a sign of our lack of faith on Antonio Perkins. And now, I leave you with one of the biggest idiots in the NFL, besides Albert Haynesworth: