Maybe Brady Quinn shouldn't have played after all against the Houston Texans. After the game, it was revealed that due to playing and practicing with a fractured finger, his injury had worsened to the point where he will miss the remainder of the season.
Even with Quinn's injury, it wasn't a legitimate excuse for the egg the Browns laid against the Texans. For the first time this season, I didn't feel depressed after the game -- I just felt empty. That's a telling sign when you know the season is over.
Let's get started with the goats of the game for Week 12, and there was one player who was especially deserving of one...
Goats of the Game (Hang Your Head)
Braylon Edwards: This was perhaps the worst of them all. He has been dropping passes in every game this season, but the problem was really dangled in front of our eyes Sunday when Rob Chudzinski called for every pass play to go his way. I believe the official statistic stated that he was targeted 17 or 18 times, with about 3 or 4 drops. It was worse than just those drops though -- a poor effort on Brady Quinn's second interception, and a possible momentum-changing jump ball touchdown dropped, just to name a few.
Jamal Lewis: With Quinn having an injury to his finger, I blame Chudzinski for not giving Lewis more touches. However, Lewis lost two fumbles against the Texans (Anderson was credited with the second one, officially). It has been a long time since Lewis has put the ball on the ground, but his turnovers certainly didn't swing the momentum our direction.
Awarding Game Balls (Solid in Defeat)
Shaun Rogers: Consistently neglected in the game ball section this year, it's time for Rogers to receive another one. He has been the most consistent player on the 53-man roster, with another high-impact game against the Texans. He blocked his second field goal of the season, and although he didn't record a tackle, his presence was felt regularly.
Brodney Pool: The defense didn't look "great", but they kept fighting. Pool intercepted Sage Rosenfels early in the third quarter to set the Browns up with great field position. It was negated two plays later though, when Quinn threw his first interception.
General Thoughts (Random Tidbits on the Game)
Thomas' Lowlights: In round two, Mario Williams had the edge on Joe Thomas. It wasn't the typical shutdown game for Thomas, who allowed Williams to knock down our quarterback several times.
- Quinn the Starter? We'll See: Exactly why was Brady Quinn named the team's starting quarterback or 2009 already? Don't get me wrong -- I have no problem with the "decision". However, after Romeo Crennel benched Quinn in an attempt to get a "spark" from someone else, how can he justifiably act like this was "all part of the plan"?
Poor Performance: There are some things I liked about Quinn's game, but it really kills me that he didn't get more opportunities to prove himself this season. In the end, Quinn didn't do enough to show that he can immediately take charge of the offense next season. Sure, the fans might be behind him, but the same may not be true for whoever our head coach is.
Anderson Slinging: Prior to the game, I said we shouldn't be surprised if we saw Derek Anderson (not on the sidelines, but in the game). His entrance came under unexpected circumstances, but he played nonetheless. I thought he actually did provide a spark with several nice throws to Braylon Edwards.
J. Wright is Bad Luck: If I'm Anderson, I never want to throw the ball to Jason Wright again. The last two times that Anderson has attempted a pass to Wright, it has been intercepted. Not that it is necessarily his fault, but I'm just tired of Wright being involved in the offense -- I wouldn't mind dumping him in the offseason.
Dawson's Shank: All kickers have them every now and then, as Phil Dawson shanked a chip shot field goal in the fourth quarter that would've drawn the Browns to within one possession.
- Tackling Pays Off: We played back a little more. We were a little tentative in taking risks. The reason? We were focused on tackling. This was without question the best game this season our defense had from a tackling sense, as everybody, including Terry Cousin, made fundamentally sound tackles. Maybe next season, we can be like every other defense in the league and not look like we're learning how to play the game of football on the fly.
Secondary Affected: Our cornerbacks were affected the most by the tackling aspect, as Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter pretty much shredded Brandon McDonald and Eric Wright. Credit Sage Rosenfels on the first and only touchdown of the game though, as he threw a perfect pass to Walter in the corner of the end zone.
Harrison Involved More: This may sound greedy, but even though Jerome Harrison had a season-high eight touches, I wanted more. Not just from Harrison, but from Jamal Lewis too. As I explained earlier in the goats section, it made little sense to throw it 32 times and run it 20 times when we were never even behind by more than ten points.
- Welcome Back, Vickers: One player who had a quiet, but nice, game in return was fullback Lawrence Vickers. I thought he really opened up the holes well for the few times Lewis did carry the ball early in the game.
- Winslow's Pass Interference: This has got to change too. We've already missed Joe Jurevicius' presence on third downs this season, so when we do execute them, it's a relief...that is, until you see a yellow flag down with the officials calling offensive pass interference on Kellen Winslow.
- Really Got Under My Skin: This one really made me irate, so here goes a rant: in the fourth quarter, Joshua Cribbs received the ball and rolled out to the right. He suddenly pulled up ready to throw the ball, but quickly saw that nothing was there and tucked it for a short gain on the ground. Are you kidding me? We have been waiting for Cribbs to throw the football for about two years, but the play has never been called. Cribbs throwing the ball should be the "dagger" type of play when we are up by ten points, or the "shock" type of play in the second or third quarter when we are down by three. Why would you run the play late in the fourth quarter when we are down by two possessions? That is the best time Chudzinski could think of to call a Cribbs pass? Not against the Steelers? or Ravens? Sickening.
- Wimbley's Pursuit: Although he was "let free" on the play, I'd credit Kamerion Wimbley's sack on Rosenfels as his best one of the season. The Browns need to do a lot more of what happened on that play -- spread Wimbley out further so that someone else occupies the left tackle.
Brownies: It was a frustrating game defensively if you were watching on television, but you couldn't tell based on the box score...we held Steve Slaton to 3.5 yards a run, intercepted Rosenfels twice, and held the Texans to just 16 points, their third-lowest total of the season.
The game was a dud, plain and simple. I tried to avoid talking too much about Romeo Crennel's decisions in this game, because it's obvious that what he did was just as bad as what Andy Reid did with Donovan McNabb against the Baltimore Ravens.
Against Indianapolis, we'll be facing one of the hottest teams in the AFC. We've only won one game at home this year, but it's not time to throw the towel in. We defeated Peyton Manning's brother, Eli Manning, and the New York Giants earlier this year, proving that wonders can happen on any given Sunday (unless you're the Detroit Lions). Also, I haven't forgotten about last season. And neither should you have. What needs to be in store this Sunday for the Browns?