Parity, thy name is inconsistency.
Normally it takes a full offseason to turn an entire franchise around. All it took for the Cleveland Browns was getting rid of Charlie Frye between games.
Now at least we have indisputable evidence that Frye is exponentially worse than anyone thought.
Derek Anderson, who played decently while subbing for an injured Frye last year, had the game of a lifetime. Jamal Lewis looked like he was running against the Browns. Braylon Edwards made a rare impact.
But the most impressive part of the Browns’ victory was that no one could have seen it coming.
Just a week ago, the Browns were the worst team in football. Everyone in Cleveland wanted rookie Brady Quinn to start. The season had already become a tryout for next year.
The Bengals, on the other hand, were surprisingly stout in their win over Baltimore. The defense forced several turnovers and managed a game-winning goal-line stand. Last year’s Achilles’ heel looked to be much improved, and Cincinnati seemed like a balanced, dangerous team.
One week later, everything is different.
The Bengals defense gave up 328 passing yards, 226 rushing yards, 51 points, and three first-half leads. They made the Browns look like the Colts, if the Colts were scrimmaging in a noncontact drill.
All of the Browns’ skill players looked far more skilled than they usually are. Lewis looked young again, and Edwards and TE Kellen Winslow both played up to their unfulfilled potential.
The most surprising player was Anderson. I didn’t know he had five career touchdown passes in him, much less five in one game.
Everyone was talking about Brady Quinn in the run-up to the game, and no one was giving Anderson a chance. It will be interesting to see how many more weeks throwing five touchdowns buys him.
The Browns should be able to build off of their win Sunday—but then again, these are the Browns. Their upcoming schedule includes the Patriots and Ravens, as well as games against the tough defenses of Oakland and Miami.
Parity was fun for one week, but to keep improving, they’ll need to find some good, old-fashioned luck.
Team of the week: Houston Texans.
Good moments have been few and far between for the Texans since their inaugural season.
There was that one time that, um, well, didn’t they beat the Colts once?
This year, finding a good story has been much easier.
The first 2-0 start in franchise history has illuminated the franchise's stars. New quarterback Matt Schaub, wide receiver Andre Johnson, corner Dunta Robinson, and even defensive end Mario Williams have been solid in the opening victories.
Certainly, the Texans should be enjoying their early-season success. However, we'll get a chance to see just how good this team is when they host the Colts next week.
Bad team of the week: New Orleans Saints.
Losing to the defending Super Bowl champion Colts is one thing. Losing to the defending 2002 Super Bowl champion Bucs is another.
The Saints got rolled by Indy in Week One, but everyone thought the Bucs would help get them back on track. Such was not the case.
Instead, the Saints look to have more problems than anyone expected. Reggie Bush is having little to no effect. Drew Brees is human. The defense looks like Jim Haslett is coaching it. Something or someone needs to spark this team.
Let’s just hope Kenny Chesney isn't involved.
Kevan Lee’s beverage of the week: 7-Up.
Back in the day, 7-Up was the lemon-lime balls. Its competitors were inconsequential: Sprite was for black basketball players, and Sierra Mist was something that fogged up your goggles while hiking.
Fast forward to today, and things could not be more different.: Sprite is hot, Sierra Mist is hip, and 7-Up isn't nearly as cool as it used to be.
Well, not in the Kevan Lee household!
7-Up still reigns supreme in my heart and palate, which is either a condemnation of my grasp on the present or a testament to 7-Up’s classic taste. I’ll take the latter.
You just can’t beat that crisp, lemon-lime flavor, and quite frankly, you shouldn’t be trying.
This nap came in protest of having to watch a Seahawks game for the second week in a row. I hope the message got across, FOX afternoon broadcast group.
Most misleading stat: Jamal Lewis, 28 carries, 216 yards.
Right now, Lewis looks like a great free-agent pickup for the Browns. Also, Derek Anderson looks like Dan Marino.
My point is that a lot might be made of Lewis’ big day, but it came against one of the worst defenses in the league...on one of their worst days.
Back in reality, Lewis rushed for 11 carries for 35 yards last week against Pittsburgh. Averaging three yards a carry is Lewis’ calling in life. Don’t let the Bengals make it seem otherwise.
Painfully true stat: 80 points.
I would have felt better about this one had Pittsburgh actually scored a first-half touchdown. They didn’t. Still, they won handily, which I will take all the credit for predicting.
Weekly Super Bowl prediction: Texans vs. Lions.
And the world as we know it comes to an end.
For Monday’s pick and more, visit www.kevanlee.com.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!