Sunday, September 12, 2010

Buccaneers 17, Browns 14
This game was up, then down. Then very down. Then depressing.

Peyton Hillis looked like he'd be getting a parade with his play early in this one.

Then, he fumbled twice.

Jake Delhomme looked sharp and was smart with the ball and moved the offense.

Then he threw an interception worse than any Derek Anderson or Brady Quinn ever made.

The defense was strong, not giving Josh Freeman anything easy and keeping an anemic Browns offense in the game.

Then it blitzed a few times too many and paid the price.

Josh Cribbs was a complete non-factor, and whenever that's the case, the Browns are in trouble.

Bad player decisions, odd coaching decisions (a 62-yard field goal with a timeout and five seconds? Three timeouts in your pocket and a rushed fourth down?)and generally sloppy play turned this game into one of the more discouraging losses in some time.

I felt going in that the Browns had to go 2-0 to have any shot at a decent season. Losing to a pathetic Tampa Bay team makes me think they may not have closed as much of the gap on the good teams in the AFC North as I thought.

A loss to Kansas City next week and the voices will start up again about Eric Mangini and his future. Mike Holmgren can see the schedule as well as we can. He has to know that more efforts like the one today will sap any momentum gained by a generally positive offseason.

Hillis' fumbles had two effects -- they killed a scoring chance and they removed him from the offense. I can't fault Mangini for benching him. But he was the Browns most consistent offensive player, and the team didn't look the same without him on the field.

Delhomme has no excuse for the Ronde Barber interception. He's falling down and just needs to hold the ball or throw it away. The pass was desperation, and there was no need for it. Cleveland was up 11, it was in Bucs' territory, it was first down and the half was almost over.

Barber's pick and the ensuing TD changed the game.

It's a bad loss to a bad team, and there are few answers that would inspire fans that today was an exception and not the norm.



At 6:43 AM , Anonymous Erik said...

The turnovers spooked the offense. It spooked Daboll for sure, who was the one who reined in the playcalling and virtually abandoned Hillis in the second half.

It's also possible that the northern team started to wilt from the heat late in the game. It really seemed like their collective concentration fell apart in the second half. Not an excuse, but it might be a fact.

I was almost hoping that Delhomme's leg injury was somewhat serious, and we'd be finding out today that he has a broken toe or something. Because in the second half, he looked every bit like the QB that Carolina couldn't wait to get rid of.

If he actually is this bad, you can pretty much take 0-8 or 1-7 to the bank right now.


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