Following a surprising 13-10 halftime lead, highlighted by a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown from Josh Cribbs, the Browns reformed to their 2008 ways in the second half.
They allowed 25 yards on the ground to Adrian Peterson and their run defense looked as though it was turning the corner. However, due to offensive turnovers and a tiring defense, the Browns imploded and allowed Peterson to run wild to clinch a Vikings’ win.
Most of these second half problems could have been avoided if head coach Eric Mangini would have named a starting quarterback in training camp and stuck with him. This is what happens when you split reps between quarterbacks and the rest of the offense has to adjust their games around two different throwing styles.
Don’t believe me? Ask San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary. He named Shaun Hill the starting quarterback during preseason and his team upset the defending NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals, 20-16.
I’m not letting Brady Quinn off the hook because he deserves as much blame for this loss as Mangini.
Quinn and wide receiver Braylon Edwards seemed to be on two different wavelengths all afternoon and the quarterback looked undecisive at times. Even on Edwards’ lone reception, the ball didn’t appear to be placed in the right spot as it was deflected by a defender and caught by the fifth-year pro.
Edwards and Derek Anderson seemed to have much better chemistry and now he and Quinn will have to get on the same page quickly.
On the touchdown pass that was negated by a penalty, the ball was thrown in a difficult place to be caught, but Edwards made a saving grab.
Quinn also had difficulties with handling some snaps and that can be attributed to rotating centers. Alex Mack will improve, but this was a stiff first test going up against one of the best interior defensive lines in the NFL.
If anyone thought either quarterback was going to light up the Vikings defense, I would recommend you check into an insane asylum. My opening game prediction was right on the spot and I expect the Browns to perform much better against Denver next Sunday.
Browns fans don’t need to panic yet. Everyone knew this was a difficult matchup and the Vikings are expected to make a deep playoff run this season. If the same problems continue against the Broncos, then there may be reason for concern.