Browns clock management was weak. With a 17-6 lead with less than four minutes left, the Browns for some reason came out throwing. Three and out, all on runs. Then the D allowed an easy TD drive to make the score 17-12. Once again, strangely, the run was thrown to the side. Another three and out, two on pass plays. It only took 49 seconds off the clock. I know Rob Chudzinski was being aggressive, but in a downpour with Jamal Lewis still fresh, why throw?
The onside kick coverage was shaky at best. One onside kick was recovered by the Jets. Another time, the Jets botched their kick, but Leon Williams was flagged for being offsides, allowing a second try. Blowing this game because of special teams blunders would have been so Cleveland-esque.
How about that Jets crowd? There couldn't have been more than 2,000 people left in the stands with five minutes left. I guess that's what happens when your team blows, its pouring rain, and you aren't in Cleveland.
More on the NFL: Was there anything better than watching the Steelers get absolutely abused by the Patriots yesterday? Not only did Anthony Smith not backup his guarantee, but he was smoked several times by Brady, Moss, and company, including twice for long TD's. I loved that Brady got right in his face after the first TD. There is nobody cooler than that guy. Meanwhile, the next two weeks, the Pats have the Jets and the Dolphins. Is there any doubt they go into the Meadowlands that last week of the season at 15-0?
Classic Lions. I thought I was watching the Browns yesterday when the Lions choked on there big lead and eventually lost to the Cowboys 28-27. There automatic kicker Jason Hanson missed a 35 yarder, then with no timeouts left and less than two minutes left, Cowboys QB Tony Romo was hit from behind and fumbled. The ball bounced right to Lions LB Paris Lenon, who instead of falling on it which would have ended the game, he tried to run with it. He kicked the ball and it ended up in the arms of a Cowboys lineman. That was something only the Browns would have done. Question for Jon Kitna, how's that 10 win season coming?
Brody Croyle is a joke. Let me ask you this, since when did Brody Croyle become an NFL caliber QB? He wasn't any good at Alabama, yet because of a good Senior Bowl week, he shot up to second round draft pick material and became the Chiefs starter this year. The kid had a five cent head, makes poor decisions, and has no feel for the game. The Broncos abused him yesterday to the tune of a 41-7 loss. 15-29 for 132 yards isn't exactly setting the world on fire. If you watched HBO's Hard Knocks, you know the only redeeming quality he has is that smokin hot fiancee of his, Kelly. I feel sorry for Herm Edwards.
Bring on the 49ers. There wasn't a team that was more overhyped this preseason than the San Francisco 49ers. Yesterday's 27-7 home loss to the Vikings showed once again they are really devoid of talent outside of Frank Gore. QB Alex Smith has been a major disappointment and then got hurt. Trent Dilfer is still Trent Dilfer. Now they are on to Shawn Hill. Thank goodness the Browns get the Niners at home the last week of the season. Talk about guaranteed win day. Its also a good thing the NFL Network has put them on their National Game this Saturday night against the 5-8 Cincinnati. They are 3-10, losers of nine of 10. Over/under on how many people watch that game is 10.
How did the Browns lose to the Cardinals last week? They were abused by Seattle 42-21 in a game that wasn't even this close. Matt Hasselbeck torched the banged up Cardinals secondary for four TD passes. Kurt Warner through five picks. Showed you that if the Browns had a halfway decent pass rush, they win that game with ease. The worst is that Arizona is a playoff contender still at 6-7. The NFC is pathetic.
Lewis is the Raging Storm the Browns Need - Bill Livingston, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Browns Turning Fans into Playoff Believers - Terry Pluto, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Win is Nice, but Browns Need to Finish - Patrick McManamon, Akron Beacon-Journal
Empty Feeling for 3-10 Jets - Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post
Jets Thicken Plot, but the Ending is the Same old Story - Greg Bishop, New York Times
Monday Morning QB - Peter King, SI.com
The Fine Fifteen: 13. Cleveland (8-5). I wish the Browns, just once, would put away a team they should put away. But as NBC stat maven Elliott Kalb pointed out last night, we're getting to Jamal Lewis season, when he can ground out a couple of wins in 13-degree wind chill and swirling flurries and get the Browns into the playoffs.
Lewis looks like he's got a lot left. Watching his Sunday highlights with Bettis, particularly the play where Lewis partially carried three Jets before breaking free for a touchdown, it was interesting to see Bettis' enthusiastic reaction. "Wow!'' he said. "I know that feeling. [Jamal] has really energized that team.''
Last year, I'd look at Lewis' numbers and see a 3.2-yard average. Now, with healthy ankles, his yards-per-carry against the Jets was 5.6.
I think this is what I didn't like about Week 14: Didn't like Eric Mangini -- at all -- going for the field goal while down 17-12 with 1:48 left in the game against Cleveland. Even with three timeouts left, I'd have gone for it on fourth-and-10 from the Cleveland 20, and, had I failed, used my three timeouts to save the clock 'til I could get the ball back. Then I would have tried again to score a touchdown.