Last Sunday, the Browns built a two-game winning streak for the first time in four years. While it took a mid-season stretch of facing two winless teams in order to accomplish that, it has gotten the city of Cleveland excited and has gotten the team to believe in themselves. No longer is there a quarterback controversy, attitude-ridden receivers, or a head coach to worry about. The defense is still forcing gray hairs, but it's better to have flaws on one side of the ball rather than on both sides.
Due to a busy schedule during the week, I'll only be able to touch on a few points here in order to catch up and be ready for tomorrow's game against the Seattle Seahawks...
General Thoughts (Random Tidbits on the Game)
- Player of the Game: Braylon Edwards. Ignoring two flaws closer to the end of the game, Edwards had his best day in the NFL in my opinion. His highlights included an amazing toe-drag deep down the left sideline, an unbelievable turnaround catch down near the red zone, and a pair of touchdown receptions when there wasn't a lot of open space. Derek Anderson put those balls exactly where they needed to be too, but the Edwards of last year may have only made half of those "Superstar-like" catches.
- Goat of the Game: Offensive line. Leigh Bodden was a close second, but for the amount of penalties the offensive line had against the Rams, there is no way we should've come away with a victory. Thanks to a certain someone though, we were bailed out a few times...
- Jumping for Jurevicius: Just like I felt Edwards had the best game of his career, I believe the same can be said for Joe Jurevicius. He came away with two clutch receptions on third down in situations that were about twenty yards away from the first down. Jurevicius is a third-down receiver, unlike the infamous Kevin Johnson, whose third-down receptions always left us a yard short.
- First DL Sack: When Ethan Kelley bull-rushed the Rams' center and sacked Marc Bulger, it marked the first sack for the defensive line this season. It's a shame how a sack only shines more light on the line's weaknesses.
- Veteran Approval: After seeing Willie McGinest bat down two of Bulger's passes in a row, it makes it more disappointing that Gary Baxter wasn't able to come back to help the secondary this year. The veteran players may not be there all game, but a couple of plays here and there and suddenly force a team to punt.
- Harrison Roles On: After all of the weeks we've called for Jerome Harrison to receive some playing time, the Browns are 2-for-2 in victories since he's starting carrying the ball. Coincidence? Chudzinski's offense has been brilliant, and I think they see they've found another nifty toy to play with the rest of the season.
- Lewis in Fine Form: Despite the fact that he wasn't as dominating as I'd hoped for at the end of the game, Lewis had several punishing carries in the second- and third-quarters. It's amazing that he's only cracked the 100+ yard mark once this season, but this is a pass-first team. It's working 100% for us, so I'm pretty sure Lewis doesn't mind much.
- Dawson is GOOD: Or is it Foley that is good? Never mind that; Dawson has quietly been silencing his critics by hitting all of his field goals from just beyond the 40-yard mark. Still, it's a little surprising that the Browns haven't even really been in position to attempt a 50+ yard field goal this year.
- Stopping the Run: For the first time this season, the Browns held the opposing team's top rusher to below 100 yards rushing. On top of that, we held the Rams to only 79 yards rushing, with a 3.3 yards-per-carry average. While a healthy Steven Jackson probably would've changed the overall number, it's an accomplishment nonetheless.
- Cribbs' Tuning Up: I said it last year, and it didn't happen. I'll say it again this year though: are the Browns not using a Cribbs pass play so that they can break it out against the Pittsburgh Steelers? I was very pleased to see two trick plays against the Rams: a double fake reverse screen pass to Jason Wright, and then a nice wide receiver reverse to Joshua Cribbs.
- Bodden's Pick: It seems like a down season coverage-wise overall for Bodden, but chalk up another big-time game-ending interception for Leigh Bodden. Perhaps this shows that if our guys up front could actually place pressure on a quarterback, the guys in the secondary could have more freedom.
- Brownies: I was frightened when Lennie Friedman tried to run a kickoff back just before halftime. Kellen Winslow had a quiet, yet still effective two-catch game. Our defense didn't deliver turnover wise, but two fourth-down stuffs on Brian Leonard proved to be the difference.