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Analyzing the Game: Davidson Pays Off

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Overall, the victory over the New York Jets was satisfying. The Jets were 4-3, but had beaten teams with losing records. Nonetheless, the Browns still defeated a team that had a solid quarterback in Chad Pennington, and pitched a well-rounded offensive attack under new coordinator Jeff Davidson. Overall, our defense was a tad better than it has been, our offensive approach saw significant changes in the right direction, and our special teams almost cost us the game. Let's get to the breakdown of the game, starting with the "Strong Points" section for just the second time this season:

Strong Points(Why We Won The Game)

  1. Player of the Game: Sean Jones. With the progress the Browns made offensively against the Jets, it would seem to make sense that an offensive player would win this award. However, Jones was made several game-changing plays on defense, a big reason he was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week. When you look at players like Daven Holly and Ralph Brown, they always seem close to getting interceptions, but they don't execute. Jones is starting to prove that more times than not, he is going to make a quarterback pay for a mistake.
  2. Corner Blitzes: Credit defensive coordinator Todd Grantham for being aggressive with calling the corner blitz several times. The first time it was called, it paid off right away - Leigh Bodden deflected the pass to allow Sean Jones to step up and make a big play.
  3. Making Adjustments: On the Jets first drive of the game, there were obvious concerns that the Jets would be able to run long, sustained drives all game long. The defense made their adjustments quickly though, and forced Pennington into one of his worst games ever.
  4. Kelly Butler/Lennie Friedman: If you ignore the fact that the Browns faced one of the league's worst defensive lines, both Kelly Butler and Lennie Friedman appeared to play better than the tandem of Ryan Tucker and Joseph Andruzzi. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait until this Sunday against the San Diego Chargers to determine whether or not Butler truly does make a difference. The line shouldn't feel as much pressure, considering the Chargers will be without their top two blitzers. Anyway, the line blocked well enough for Reuben Droughns and Charlie Frye for three quarters.
  5. Kellen Winslow: If a player proclaims that a change is needed, the production level needs to be increased when that change occurs. Winslow was managed very well by Davidson, and he executed everything that he needed to. It's a shame that he couldn't fall backwards for the first down during the fourth quarter after was sandwiched between two defenders.
  6. Thompson's Playing Time: There is no doubt in my mind that the Browns need to at least attempt to increase the playing time of Chaun Thompson. Granted, I've had my issues with him in the past and wanted his playing time to be cut down, but he seems to rarely be in the game. The past two weeks, he's made huge plays on the opponent's kick return to start the game. Against the Jets, he also came up with a big sack on Chad Pennington. Speaking of linebackers, doesn't it seem like Matt Stewart's playing time is almost nonexistent now?
  7. Letting Frye be Frye: Part of it came from facing a weaker defense, but a lot of it came from Frye having more freedom from Davidson to make a play. Frye was able to roll out of the pocket and run at the appropriate times, and even had a wild pass back over the middle of the field to Brayon Edwards. And, even though some of us hated it, Frye was toned down on purpose during the fourth quarter to ensure that no mistakes were made when we already had the lead.
  8. Kamerion Wimbley: The rookie continues to show potential after recovering a fumble down near the goal line against the Jets. His arms are so long that he'll be the type of guy that starts forcing fumbles once he continues to mature at the NFL level.
Weak Points(Why We Could Have Lost The Game)
  1. Goat of the Game: Justin Hamilton. This is one of those cases where Hamilton is being picked on for an entire group of special teams. For the first time this season, the special teams unit was downright awful. However, if Hamilton was in better position on Justin Miller's 99-yard kick return, a touchdown would've been prevented.
  2. Not Finished Yet: I'm not finished with the special teams just yet. The special teams unit actually started very well, getting a big stuff from Chaun Thompson on the opening kickoff and an early 47-yard field goal from Phil Dawson. It was downhill after that though: Cribbs muffed a punt, Dawson shanked the shortest field goal miss of his career, the Browns allowed two large kickoff returns, and Cribbs had no gain on a long punt attempt on a play where he had a lot of room to run.
  3. Hank Fraley: When the Browns have a lead in the 4th quarter of a game, something we've wanted all season, we can't have Hank Fraley committing a 15-yard penalty. It made it much more difficult for the Browns to punt the ball, and gave the Jets tremendous field position to make their comeback.
  4. Conservative Playcalling: Although I don't completely disagree with Davidson's conservative play calling in the fourth quarter, at least he had a set gameplan, something we didn't see from Maurice Carthon. Nonetheless, the Browns need to be able to trust Frye to make a play in the fourth quarter. What would the perfect play call have been in that situation? A screen play to someone like Jerome Harrison, who was not active on gameday.
  5. Second Half Burst: I'm pretty sure most Browns fans wanted to shoot themselves after seeing the first offensive play the team ran in the second half - a pass to the fullback Terrelle Smith in the flat that almost led to an interception. That is the call I absolutely hate the most, and was not what I wanted to see after a what our offense did in the first half. Honestly, do the Browns expect to actually pick up yards on that play?
  6. Needing a Spark: For the past three games, Braylon Edwards was almost non-existent. On top of that, Joe Jurevicius did not have a single catch against the Jets. These are our top two receivers, and against a secondary that isn't rated very high, Frye needs to be able to get them the football more often. We were able to win against the Jets without them being involved much, but there's no way that can happen if we want to beat a team like the Chargers.
The return of Leigh Bodden gave us a boost overall, and the pleasure of having Maurice Carthon fired was capped off nicely with a well-deserved victory over the New York Jets. We almost let the game slip away, but the fact is that we have a "W" on the board, and have the same record as the Pittsburgh Steelers. When we face the Steelers in a few weeks, it could very well determine which team is ahead of the other in the standings.