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Analyzing the Game: A Poor Present

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I'm not sure which I would rather have: get blown out by a hated Super Bowl caliber team at home on Christmas Eve, or get beaten by a pretty bad team at home on Christmas Eve. Although I was sorely disappointed with last year's effort against the Steelers, at least we were "owned" by the supposed "best team in football". We were favored to beat the Buccaneers, and we didn't execute. I got my hopes up too high that the Browns would actually be able to win two games in a row for once, but instead, it'll probably be the other way around.

General Thoughts(Random Tidbits on the Game)

  1. Playing Himself Out: Although I was rather impressed with what Derek Anderson did during his stretch of games, I was still advocating that I would start Charlie Frye if he were healthy. My reasoning behind that idea finally showed up against the Buccaneers. I'm not going to "diss" Tampa Bay's defense, because they did what they needed to do to win. However, at least two or three of Anderson's interceptions were solely based on him. His inability to have touch on the ball killed him several times, including on his second interception. During several other instances, he whipped the ball and allowed a defender to tip it rather than being able to float it above the defender and into our receiver's hands.
  2. Heiden Blows It: With that said about Anderson, I'm a full believer in one play changing the entire tempo of a game if it is made early enough. And, if Steve Heiden would have held on to his wide open pass on our first drive, chances are that he would've plummeted into the end zone. Ignoring the Bears game the week before, it is very difficult for the Buccaneers to establish momentum when playing from behind. And, with a lead, the Browns wouldn't have really needed to throw the ball down the field too much, something Anderson was awful at doing Sunday.
  3. Worst Special Teams: In general, I would say we played one of our worst special teams games of the season. Joshua Cribbs didn't have any substantial returns, and neither did Dennis Northcutt. Phil Dawson had one short kick blocked, and his "pooch" punt rolled into the end zone. Why Romeo Crennel decided to make that call, I have no idea. Dawson's attempted squib kick late in the game didn't get by the up man either, giving the Buccaneers good field position. Finally, Dave Zastudil had a couple of his punts sail into the end zone.
  4. Why Start Northcutt?: Wasn't Travis Wilson promoted to the third receiver this week? And isn't Cribbs supposed to be right behind him now? Well, due to the disciplinary actions involving Braylon Edwards, Northcutt got the start at wide receiver. I have no problem with Edwards being disciplined, but Northcutt's already made it clear that he won't be here next season. Romeo stuck with his philosophy of "sticking with the veterans", even if it doesn't help us whatsoever now, or for the future. Makes a lot of sense...
  5. Optimism in the Air: Sean Jones, Ted Washington, and Kamerion Wimbley. Why am I mentioning those names? Because those are basically our only defensive starters that played against the Buccaneers, while the rest would be second- or third-stringers on most teams. We are missing a ton of starters to injury, and with some help in the draft/free agency, our defense should be refreshed next season.
  6. Making Some Plays: What do I like about defensive football players? I like people who can make plays in certain roles. Gary Baxter may give up yards when he plays, but he can jump up and make those big interceptions in the game. As far as the Tampa Bay game, Wimbley, Leon Williams, Brodney Pool, and Daven Holly were the playmakers. Wimbley created two sacks and forced a fumble, Williams was all over the place, Pool came up with another fourth-down stop, and Holly showed that he knows how to run with the football (the Bears must have coached him well). I'm not saying that all of these guys should be starters, but they can make the "big plays" next season if they have a better supporting cast.
  7. Braylon's Inconsistencies: Once again, when Edwards did get into the game, it was mostly drop...drop...and drop. I don't care if his thumb was hurting, because their are nine other fingers, two palms, and a chest that Edwards could've used to compensate and make his catches.
  8. Pound Away Reuben: Just like he's done against the weaker teams this season, Reuben Droughns had a good day running the football. Still, when you look at his runs, you get the feeling that a quicker running back would've been able to do the same type of things and more. It gets tiring to see so many teams break big runs in other games because they have a quick back, while we have to rely on Droughns spinning his way to ten yards if we're lucky.
  9. Steelers Lost: At least some Browns fans could take joy in the fact that the Steelers lost to the Ravens for the second time this season. And, for some reason, the Browns have played the Ravens leaps and bounds better than Pittsburgh did this season.
  10. No Hype for Dorsey: When Anderson entered the game against the Kansas City Chiefs several weeks ago, I didn't think we'd rally to win. However, inside of me, I had a hope that "maybe, just maybe, Anderson's cannon would pull it off." That wasn't the case when Ken Dorsey entered the game late against the Buccaneers. I wasn't wrong either, as Dorsey was sacked, and then threw an awful pass on fourth down out of bounds.
  11. Lack of Penalties: I believe that the only penalty on the Browns involved Wimbley's roughing the passer call early in the game (which was another weak call). Besides that, the Browns seemed to be well disciplined for playing without so many of our starters.
  12. Hopes up for Sowells: I kind of got my hopes up after seeing that Isaac Sowells was active for the game. Unfortunately, despite Cosey Coleman having an injury during the game, Sowells didn't even get into the game. Doesn't make much sense, does it?
The Browns have won their final game of the season for the last several years now, but I'm not very optimistic with Dorsey being our quarterback. The Texans have been horribly inconsistent at times, which is just about the whole thing that could play into our favor. After the season ends, I'll start taking a look at team needs, who is available in free agency, and possibly draft prospects to help us.