Tuesday, November 25

A football game in name only

In early 2007, I got together with some friends in Albany, NY, and watched the AFC Championship Game, won by the Indianapolis Colts over the New England Patriots. That was an awesome game - it was well-played, dramatic, and relentlessly exciting. A few weeks ago, in the 2008 season, Dallas and Philadelphia got together for a shoot-out that also reminded me of the high quality of play of that AFC title game, and more generally of why the NFL is such an excellent product.

Why do I bring up these games? To prove that yesterday's mind-numbing Browns game somehow did not dislodge all of my recollections of quality football from my memory, despite its finest efforts. The 16-6 loss to the Houston Texans, attended by Nick, John, and I, was about as poorly-played a professional football game as one can imagine. Uninspired, sloppy, filled with mental mistakes and physical ineptitude - I haven't seen this level of ineptitude since the Miami-Cleveland game from back in the Terry Robiskie Era. Ugly stuff. A few notes from the game:

- I was at Browns-Giants. The Browns-Giants crowd was a friend of mine. You, sir, are no Browns-Giants crowd. Seriously, the stadium was totally lifeless from start to finish, as if to validate fully Bill Simmons' excellent article about teams playing badly in their new, sterile stadia over the past decade. Of course, regardless of the venue, watching a team fall to 1-5 at home on the season doesn't do much for fan enthusiasm.

- I feel bad for the woman who has to go on the field and tell everyone what the weather is like early in the game, when we're all already sitting outside in it. It's awkward. I also felt bad for the PA announcer who had to try to make Texan 3rd-and-longs sound exciting. I felt bad for almost everyone in the stadium, including myself, but possibly not Braylon Edwards.

- Brady Quinn was super-bad yesterday, but unless he had injury problems, taking him out was the wrong decision. I'm saying this not because Anderson also performed poorly - even had he led the Browns back to whatever that thing is called where the Browns outscore the other team...uh, the Cavs do it a lot...right, win - this would not have been a good decision. On the other hand, who on Earth was that first Quinn interception intended for? Wow.

- This week on Browns' Practice Insider: Cleveland's tight ends coach explains the push-off rule to Kellen Winslow!

- Braylon Edwards has reclaimed the title of my least favorite Browns player, a mantle he first earned in 2006. Seriously, dude, drop some more passes. And another false start? Please. He's embarrassing. Poor attitude, poor performance. We should never, ever, draft a Michigan player again. Also, have you noticed that any time a Browns QB throws a pass incomplete and it's clear that he and the wideout weren't on the same page, it's always #17 who's closest to the ball?

If we had anything resembling a receiver on the bench I'd be calling for him to sit. As it stands, a Stallworth-Steptoe corps doesn't really strike fear into the hearts of defenses. Oh, that Cleveland Brown roster.

- I know you make your own luck, but all five fumbles on the day went into the arms of Texans. Eh.

- According to the stat sheet, the Browns racked up 86 tackles on the day to Houston's 46. I'm not sure I know what this means, but it seems regrettable. Seven of those tackles were recorded by Andra Davis, who for an NFL linebacker is quite slow these days.

- The game really came down to the Browns' follies in the Red Zone. The Browns made four trips there (fine, I'm counting the 22-yard-line as one) and came away with these results:
Missed FG

There are five games left in this season. I hope the boys show some life over the next month, because that team playing indoors down the street with the orange ball is a hell of a lot more fun right about now.


Ernest said...

So now I hear talk of a possible vision/depth perception problem afflicting Braylon. Seriously. Can you imagine if this was actually the case and all BE needed to start catching everything was Lou Brown's clunky glasses? If only it were that simple.

Interestingly, D'Qwell Jackson leads the league in tackles with 108. Andra Davis, meanwhile, has 57. I think Phil Dawson is probably faster than Davis.

Andy said...

Ernest, have you been talking with crazy Andra Davis-hating guy at the Firkin and Fox again?

Ernest said...

By "crazy" do you mean "absolutely correct"?

On a completely unrelated note, I recently confirmed the fact that the last Ohio school to beat Ohio State in football is my undergrad alma mater, Oberlin College!! They beat the Buckeyes 7-6 in 1921. Shortly thereafter, they heavily de-emphasized athletics and became a Division III football dormat. Nonetheless, I think they could have still beaten Michigan this year.

Andy said...

By "crazy" do you mean "absolutely correct"?

That dude was both.