Monday, November 19, 2007

Browns Link Recap

With the way the game ended, Phil Dawson's controversial game-time FG being ruled no good, then good forcing the Ravens players back onto the field to play OT, you can guess the game has been a big topic of conversation both locally and nationally. I have already let you know my feelings about Brian Billick, but the national pundits are killing him for kicking to all-world kick returner Josh Cribbs not once, but twice late in the game. Clark Judge of wrote a an excellent piece saying it wasn't Dawson's kick that killed the Ravens, it was the decision to kick to Cribbs. Nothing better to me than criticism of Billick.

Peter King, in his weekly Monday Morning QB column said
The Browns caught their first break since landing Bernie Kosar in the 1985 Supplemental Draft. While he discussed the events surrounding the kick, the replay/non-replay, and got good quotes from Dawson, he produced this juicy nugget at the tail-end: And how about this delicious possible matchup: If the season ended this morning, the Browns would make the playoffs. And they'd play a wild-card game the first weekend of January at the third-seeded team ... the Pittsburgh Steelers.'s senior writer and the man who loves to foam at the mouth on TV, John Clayton, penned a story about how these Browns are in it to the end. According to Clayton, the events of the Dawson FG went as follows: Referee Pete Morelli had announced over the public address system that he would "take a look at this play," then went to the review booth and manned the headphones to replay assistant Howard Slavin. According to league spokesman Greg Aiello, Slavin told Morelli he couldn't show him the kick because field goals are not reviewable under the rules.

Morelli proceeded to further discuss the kick with his crew. Aiello said one of the back judges, Keith Ferguson, "felt more strongly" that the ball had crossed through the goal posts. Morelli based his reversal on Ferguson's opinion. The kick was good. How an official positioned in front of the goal post could see the ball hit the curved support bar on the back of the goal post without benefit of instant replay is a topic that will be debated for days.

Referring to the initial call, Morelli told a pool reporter, "It was a ruling by one of the officials. The other official informed me that the ball hit the back of the extension of the goal post. .... We determined that was what it struck. Therefore, it made the field goal good." He insisted he didn't use instant replay.

Don Banks of says a call like this one will
put the entire replay system under the microscope yet again. Banks' issue is that this call was supposedly not reviewable, yet Morelli put the headset on anyways and was allegedly told he couldn't review the play. How do we know if whoever spoke to him didn't say "the kick was good, now go figure out a way to make it count with the rest of the officiating crew."

Then you have the local side of things. I always love to read the opposing city view of a controversial call that went against them. The Baltimore Sun had some interesting takes. Mike Preston claims
if the Ravens didn't have bad luck, they wouldn't have any luck at all, which is laughable to the MTAC staff. It isn't bad luck when your arrogant coach kicks to Josh Cribbs twice after he burned you all day. It isn't luck when the Browns defense is so bad, they allow Kyle Boller to turn into John Elway and you put 30 points on the board. Typical slanted view of things from a columnist who shouldn't cry over spilled milk. At least fellow Sun writer Rick Maese was on the right track. He says the Ravens just aren't that good and examines the reasons why.

From the Cleveland corner, the Beacon-Journal's Patrick McManamon agrees with me, allowing Cribbs to beat you when it can be avoided was
a gigantic mistake by Billick and he got burned because of it. The Plain Dealer's Bud Shaw loves the fact that the bounces are finally going the Browns way for once. In his column, Offensive Coordinator Rob Chudzinski called his team "The Kardiac Kids' little brother. No doubt about it. For the third week in a row, Phil Dawson was on the field on the last play of the game with a either tie or win the game.

In Terry Pluto's scribbles in his Browns notebook column, he correctly points out just how much fun these Browns are. Fun? I don't know if that is the word to describe them, but it works I guess. I'd probably use the term "interesting" to describe them instead. There offense can score on anyone and is loaded with playmakers. Yet the defense is the worst in the league bar none. This tells you just how far the Ravens have fallen; the Browns poor excuse for a pass rush mustered six sacks yesterday and a Brodney Pool 100 yard interception return for a TD. They allowed a Kyle Boller-lead offense score 23 second-half points and Willis McGahee to rush for over 100 yards on five yards a pop. The literally snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and had to be saved yet again by Derek Anderson and company. Had Dawson's kick not been ruled good, we'd be talking about how pathetic this defense was yet again today.

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