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Analyzing the Game: Division Owns Us

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After his third game of action, I am still impressed with Derek Anderson, and even our offense in general. What I am getting more and more disgusted with as the season moves on is our defensive effort, although I do understand the fact that we're missing about half of our starters now. I'm not going to do the "weak points" and "strong points" review for this game, because every week I feel as if I'm talking about the same thing. Our run blocking is always a week point, and so is the fact that we can't get pressure. So, rather than repeating myself, I'll put everything together into the "General Thoughts" section.

General Thoughts(Random Tidbits on the Game)

  1. Respectable: Overall, I feel the Browns gave a respectable effort against the Ravens. The effort level was tremendously higher than when we played our two prior division games against the Bengals and the Steelers. We've actually played the Ravens the tougher than we have our other division rivals this year, but of course that isn't saying much since the Browns were 0-for-6.
  2. Thoughts on Derek: After getting sacked just once in six quarters, Anderson was sacked five times against the Ravens. However, what I've still noticed about him is that he really isn't taking monster hits yet. I think this is another sign of his awareness, because if he knows something bad is about to happen, he will eat it. Of course, the fact that he recovered his own fumble down near the goal line helps. During the two-minute drill and the stretch in which he completed 13 passes in a row, he was on top of his game. After that nice string though, he was a little too inconsistent, which was the reason we didn't score any more points. Despite was Romeo Crennel says though, I feel this was another step forward for Mr. Anderson.
  3. Screw the Run: I enjoyed our philosophy in using the passing game to set up the run. Even though we passed several times on third-and-one, failing to convert any of them, I was less frustrated because I almost know for a fact that we would've been stuffed had we tried to run the ball. And, once Anderson started to pick apart the Ravens pass defense, Reuben Droughns and Jason Wright were actually able to get some solid runs in.
  4. Bow Down to Wilson: Let's all bow down to Travis Wilson, the only receiver on the Browns this year that catches the ball 100% of the time. Hopefully we'll be able to see some more of him during our next two games.
  5. Linebacker Duo: Maybe it was just a rarity, but I was more excited to see Leon Williams and Chaun Thompson play linebacker than I was Andra Davis and D'Qwell Jackson. I've been scratching my head all season long as to why Thompson wasn't playing more, but I understood why Williams wasn't in there as much. Jackson has had some pretty good games this year, but they've mostly been "quiet" type of games. Williams was more of a playmaker against the Ravens, and that's something you need in the NFL. I'd like to cite his forced fumble and his big third-down stop on Todd Heap as big contributions.
  6. Give Him Credit: With our secondary beat up so much, I'm sure Leigh Bodden could just tell the coaching staff that he's done for the year if he wanted to. At only "75%" in terms of his ankle though, he started the game again against Baltimore, and even had an interception.
  7. Throwing the Ball Deep: When Brian Russell leaves the secondary, it seems like we have been more likely to give up the big play, something that never happened earlier this season. I like Brodney Pool, but so far in his second year, I think he's shown that he's better as a "utility" man rather than a starter. Hopefully we either re-sign Russell in the offseason, or find a free agent safety that is just as good or better.
  8. Knocking Them Through: Don't ask me why, but I have more faith in Phil Dawson to connect from 50+ yards than I do from the 45- to 49-yard range.
  9. Playing Physical: I'm not sure if it's something that our players are doing, but it always seems like players suffer a lot of injures against us when they play us. During the Ravens game, I must have seen about eight cases of players being attended to by the medical staff. Unfortunately, while the Browns may only have one case of that per game, it's our guy that will always end up on the injured reserve (see Jason Wright).
  10. Challenges: Romeo, please win at least one challenge this year. No, ignore that. Romeo, at least challenge one play that makes sense this year. Instead of challenging Mark Clayton's catch late in the game, he should've challenged Todd Heap's catch at the end of the first quarter.
  11. Winslow's Momentum: I certainly hope that Kellen Winslow is able to "start up" better next season. Numerous times this season, he has made a catch while standing still in the flat, and then takes forever to get his momentum started up again. By that time, two guys are already tackling him to the ground.
  12. McNair or Boller: No one is doubting that Steve McNair is better than Kyle Boller. However, before McNair left the game with an injury, he was 0-for-4 and looking a little rusty. Boller didn't do great, but he did throw the deep ball rather well, something that killed us three times. I have to wonder that if McNair had remained in the game, would we have had a better shot at coming back later in the game?
The Browns haven't won two straight games for a long time, but realistically, we have a great chance to end the season on a high note. Besides the Oakland game, Tampa Bay and Houston will be the two "easiest" opponents we will have faced this season. Both teams have more quarterback issues than we do, and their defenses have been suspect. I wouldn't read too much into what Tampa Bay's offense did this past Sunday against the Chicago Bears, because before that, they hadn't scored a touchdown since Thanksgiving.