Sunday, December 02, 2007

Cardinals 27, Browns 21
Derek Anderson was intercepted twice and fumbled a snap. Joshua Cribbs fumbled a punt. Leigh Bodden kicked a ball after a Browns defensive stop, resulting in a Cardinals first down. Simon Frasier was flagged for a personal foul just before the Browns started what we hoped would be a game-winning drive.

When it started, you hoped the game would be the like the one against the Rams. Down 14-0, the Browns would rally and win. Instead, the game was like week 3 against the Raiders, where the Browns did everything to give the game away, but still had a chance to win on the final play.

The true lesson of this game is that the Browns are still capable of playing bad, still capable of losing to teams that are not as good as they are.

It happens in the NFL. Ask the Steelers about the Jets, the Colts about the Chargers and even the Cardinals about the 49ers.

The truth is, no matter how dire the circumstances are in a game, you can't turn off the television. The Cardinals are up by three and have a second and goal at the Browns 2 with two minutes left. Somehow, the Browns force a field goal and give themselves a chance.

Anderson may have played his worst game this season (though he had 304 passing yards and two TDs), but he led the Browns down the field with time running out, and threw a brilliant pass to Kellen Winslow in the left corner of the end zone as time expired.

Winslow caught the ball -- he catches everything. But he was pushed out of bounds by Cardinal defenders. The tight end was pushed out of bounds. But the question was, could he have come down in bounds if he wasn't pushed? I don't know. I'm thinking Cleveland fans are sure he could have.

But it's a judgement call, and in the official's mind, Winslow would not have come down with two feet in.

But you can't pin the loss on the referees. The Browns had chances, but didn't do enough.

Hopefully this was a one-week deal and it's out of the team's system next week. Again, the Browns will play a late game against an opponent that -- on paper -- looks inferior.

But nothing ever comes easy for the Browns, and I doubt it will be easy against the 3-9 Jets.

The upside is that after week one, nothing has come easy for the Browns' opponents.



At 9:09 AM , Anonymous Erik said...

I pin this loss primarily on Derek Anderson. Perhaps, after his performance against Houston, DA started to really think he could throw the ball anytime into any coverage and find his receiver.

Two interceptions on horrible throws and a fumble on a botched snap was the equivalent of a serving of humble pie. Unfortunately, it was also a serving of 21 points to the Cardinals. That obviously was what lost the game.

Three of the Browns' four turnovers were of the inexcusable variety. The Cribbs fumble was just "wrong place, wrong time."

An assist also goes to Phil Savage for failing to sign an extra D-lineman. How can you go into a game with just four D-linemen dressed? Even if the Browns took a fourth-quarter lead, what are the odds the Browns defense can protect it?

For crying out loud, Shaun Smith was down on all fours between snaps on the Cards' final drive, just so he wouldn't have to expend energy to get down into a crouch. He was that winded.

That was terrible mismanagement of the roster by Romeo and Savage. The mere fact that the Browns almost won despite dressing four D-linemen, despite four turnovers and despite 10 penalties shows that this team is capable of much more than even what they've shown.

I still think the leadership on this team needs to improve. There are still way too many mental blunders (Leigh Bodden) for this team to seriously contend.


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