What a role reversal. The Baltimore Ravens came into Cleveland and got pushed around a little for the first time since the Browns returned to the league. Perhaps most ironic was that former Ravens were doing the pushing. Jamal Lewis and Derek Anderson had good days for the Browns, getting a little revenge against their former team. The Browns opened the game with a great kick return by Cribbs, then a methodical drive down the field that ate clock, and culminated on a touchdown catch by Joe Jurevicius. That set the tone for the game. We will not be pushed around today.
The defense came through when Leigh Bodden intercepted a McNair pass, setting up a beautiful 78 yard TD throw to Braylon Edwards, who got his man to bite on an inside route, but ran the fly. Suddenly it was 14-0, and the Ravens were in trouble.
The Browns seemed to employ the bend-but-don’t-break defensive strategy that Ohio State has been winning with under Tressel. On a day when the rowdy Brown’s crowd chanted O-H-I-O, maybe it was appropriate. They gave up over 400 yards to the Ravens, but managed to keep them out of the end zone for the most part. The Ravens in fact never punted. They turned the ball over on downs twice, missed 2 field goals, and had the interception, and a fumble on a kick-off.
It would have been nice to see the Browns put the game away in the fourth quarter with an extended drive, but Cleveland did what it had to do to win, and improved their record to 2-2, 2-1 within the division.
These Browns are going to be frustrating this year. They are a little schizophrenic this year. Truth be told they could absolutely be 3-1, and challenging Pittsburgh for the division lead. Consistency is what separates the top teams in the NFL. The best teams play at a high level all the time. Hopefully the Browns will learn that lesson this year. Up next- the Patirots. How big an upset would that be?!?!
Being realistic, if the Browns don’t upset the Pats in New England, they really should beat the Dolphins here before the bye week. We would go into the bye at 3-3. Look at the schedule after that- the Browns have home games with Seattle, Houston, Buffalo, and San Fransisco. They travel to St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Arizona, NY Jets and Cincinnati. Any reason we can’t finish 9-7? I think that is entirely possible. Especially if the young players on defense continue to improve, and we stay healthy of course. Perhaps preseason dreams of 8-8 weren’t too bad after all.