Sunday, September 13, 2009

Vikings 34, Browns 20
For a moment, right before the half, I allowed myself a moment of dream.

If the Browns could jump on the momentum created by Josh Cribbs. If they could continue to be this strong on defense. If Brady Quinn could keep managing the game.

"Then, we probably can beat Denver next week," I told the gathering watching the game with me.

My brother got me to snap out of it.

"This always happens," he said. "They look good in the first half and choke in the second."

The Vikings scored a touchdown on their opening second half possession, and went up, 17-13. The Browns had the makings of a good drive, until Brady Quinn threw a horrible interception that was either his fault, or Braylon Edwards'.

It was pretty much all downhill from there, as Adrian Peterson wore down the Browns' physically and mentally. His final touchdown run, where he broke five tackles, looked to me like the result of a defense with a broken spirit. So much for Eric Mangini's "finishing."

Yes, this always happens.

Week one really has never been the Browns' thing. Since they came back in 1999, this especially has been the case. For 11 years, Cleveland has opened at home. Ten of those years, they've lost.

This is the problem with another reset. Every coach comes in and needs time. So the fans have to sit in the stands and watch at home while the new coach gets a grace period from ownership to get things together.

I don't want to hear the excuses anymore. I'm tired of waiting. When Romeo Crennel was fired last year, I wanted Mangini to come in, bang his hand on the table and say "we expect a winning football team."

Instead, it's more process, mental mistakes and a quarterback situation that, if nothing else, distracted people from how bad a shape this franchise is in.

Quinn was bad today, but it hardly was his fault. Everyone, save maybe Jamal Lewis and Kamerion Wimbley, had a bad game.

That includes the playcallers. Back-to-back Wildcat from the 2? Are you kidding?

Yes, the defense was better, for a half. But it's a 60-minute game and we're all to familiar with seeing the Browns treat it like it's 30, or at best, 59.

The Vikings look like a very good team and probably would have found a way to win even if the Browns played the second half like the first.

It's almost stupid to place blame for the performance, except to say the Browns are simply not good.

It's a frustrating line that is bound to be repeated for the next 17 weeks.



At 8:35 AM , Anonymous Erik said...

It's easy to be angry after that second half. But the second half was the, at its heart, the result of a very good football team imposing its will on a not so good football team. But how the Browns reacted to Minnesota's post-halftime challenge is the most troubling item that came out of yesterday's game, IMO.

The most distressing thing I saw in the second half was a Browns team that, once again, went into psychological-defeat mode when they fell behind by two scores.

The Browns were overmatched and outclassed yesterday. They had virtually no chance to win, unless Minnesota played well below their capable level. But that's still no excuse for becoming mentally unglued -- or worse, yet, to stop competing.

Winners keep trying when they fall behind. Winners believe they're never out of a game. Losers go down by 10 and say "Here we go again." That's what I saw out of the Browns from about the midpoint of the third quarter on: "We suck, we're going to lose, what's the point? Can we go home now?"

That's the losing culture that Mangini -- or somebody -- has to eradicate. And it is going to be a bitch to eradicate. The instant things start to go wrong, this team folds up and takes the rest of the day off.

The Browns will never amount to anything so long as that's how they approach adversity.

At 11:07 AM , Blogger Mike said...

Brady Quinn sucks.

The team quit in the 2nd half. That's on the coach. We have 3 more years of losing to look forward to now.


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