Monday, December 10, 2007

Survive and Advance

The Recap: Your Cleveland Browns did everything they could to try to give the New York Jets the game in the end. The good news is that after so many years if losing games like this, they have a closer Running Back to ice the game. His name is Jamal Lewis. Lewis' 31 yard TD run with just over a minute left saved the Browns from a classic Cleveland choke. He carried five tacklers with him on his way to the end zone. He finished with 118 yards on 21 carries.

The previous three minutes of game time wasn't nearly as fun. With a 17-6 lead and the game seemingly at hand, the Browns defense allowed the Kellen Clemens and company to go 69 yards in less than three minutes to cut the lead to 17-12. An onside kick attempt was recovered by the Jets. Clemens drove the Jets down to the Browns 20 before coach Eric Mangini made the curious decision to kick a Field Goal and put the hat on his defense with 1:43 left and three timeouts left. That didn't work as Lewis took over, clinching the game and putting the Browns into the drivers seat for the final AFC playoff spot.

Analysis: Derek Anderson looked shaky again. I'm a big DA guy. But take away the Texans game, and he hasn't been that great since the first half in Pittsburgh. He hasn't been crisp and is throwing balls behind receivers all game long. His first quarter interception was another bad throw he should never have made (a great break by Safety Kerry Rhodes who read DA's eyes the whole way). With all that said, he made a great throw to Braylon Edwards for a TD and sold a great play fake to Lewis on his first quarter TD reception. Again, he came away with the W and is 8-4 as a starter. he will have to be on his game next week against Buffalo in what is the biggest home game in 15 years.

The Bend, but don't break defense. The D held the Jets to just two measly Field Goals for the first 55 minutes of the game. The goal line stand in the first quarter turned out to be a huge turning point in the game. Twice Thomas Jones was stuffed trying to plunge in from the one and Sean Jones made a huge interception that saved at least three points. Kamerion Wimbley probably had his best game of the year, applying pressure on Clemons for most of the game. He had one of the Browns four sacks and forced a fumble. Brandon McDonald once again played a nice game as the nickel back, making a spectacular interception that killed a fourth quarter drive. Having D'Qwell Jackson back makes a huge difference. While he isn't the game-changing impact MLB every team wants, his presence is felt when he is out there compared to Andra Davis.

Props to Josh Cribbs. I wanted to see him out there on offense more and Offensive Coordinator Rob Chudzinski. He lined up once in the backfield and got a carry and caught a big pass over the middle and got absolutely drilled by Rhodes. I don't know he got up from the shot Rhodes delivered to his side. But he was right back out there on special teams. He is oen tough SOB. I got what I wanted, but if Cribbs is going to take shots like he did on both plays, he may have to stick to special teams. He was way too valuable to lose there.

We had a Jerome Harrison sighting! It makes no sense and I brought this up earlier in the week. When Jamal Lewis was hurt, Jerome Harrison got a crack at some carries and looked great as a change of pace back. Then he literally fell of the face of the earth, inactive for weeks. Today, he saw minimal action, but one one drive in the second half, he got back to back carries, including a 17 yard gain the first time he touched the ball. To me, its a no-brainer, he should get 4-6 carries a game, even if he is in there as a decoy, his spread is a major threat. His blocking leaves a lot to be desired, but the kid can play.

It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win. Especially with on the road. Keep in mind, the Jets beat the Steelers a few weeks back at Giants Stadium. If the Browns plan on making, winning one of their last two on the road was a must and they got the first one on the way. This game on Sunday against Buffalo is essentially a playoff game. If the Browns win, they will bury their top competition for the final wildcard spot. A loss puts them in a bind as they will be tied with Buffalo at 8-6, but the Bills would hold the tiebreaker. Its going to have an old school feel down at the Lakefront next Sunday. Cold, snowing, and meaningful. I cannot wait to be there.

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