Six Points on the Cleveland Browns (Nov. 18)

Christopher MaherCorrespondent INovember 18, 2009

CLEVELAND - OCTOBER 04:  Fans of the Cleveland Browns cheer on their team as they play the Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 4, 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

One of two nationally televised Cleveland Browns games is in the books, and a realistic Cleveland football observer could not have expected much better than what he or she saw Monday night, Nov. 16.

Never fear, Six Points is here to recap the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

Of course, it was mostly bad and ugly.

1. Boycott? What boycott?

Despite the efforts of "Dawg Pound Mike," pictured at the upper right, the stands of Cleveland Browns Stadium were more full than usual at kickoff.

Posters on the Orange and Brown Report have alleged that Dawg Pound Mike was even greeted by a certain anatomical chant when he walked in late after hiding in the bowels of Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Mike, we get it. We don't like what we're seeing, either.

But, of your Warhol-esque 15 minutes of fame, we're glad you're at 14:58:52.


2. In defense of the Browns:

Against a Baltimore offense with weapons, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan had the game scoreless at halftime.

This is with a defense with marginal talent overall, and its two inside linebackers out for the season.

The Browns' only significant defensive lapse came on a 41-yard reception by Derrick Mason on Brandon McDonald, recipient of a Jason Voorhees Award from Six Points on Friday, Nov. 13.

McDonald, on what should have been an eight-yard completion, was out of position, and the play went an extra 33 yards. Ray Rice ran it in from 13 yards out on a "tackling is optional" play for the score.

Overall, the defense's play is improved over the 2008 season, and Ryan is not afraid to take risks with his undermanned unit.

Never mind the rankings.

With an impotent offense, even the legendary Steel Curtain of the 1970s would wear down.


3. The Body Bag Bowl:

Despite the ineptitude of Cleveland's offense, viewers were treated to a smashmouth game of AFC North football.

For Baltimore, it started early. S Haruki Nakamura went down with a broken ankle on the opening kickoff.

ILB Tavares Gooden went out with a concussion, and TE Todd Heap left with a chest injury on a "You catch, you pay!" hit reminiscent of the Dixon and Minnifield era.

On a Brandy Queen interception, LB Terrell Suggs suffered a knee injury after Queen dove straight for his legs after throwing the pick.

For Cleveland, TE Steve Heiden left with an ankle injury before WR/KR/PR Joshua Cribbs was carted off on a stretcher on the last play of the game.

Baltimore's Dwan Edwards leveled Cribbs with a vicious hit as the Browns tried a hook-and-ladder play with seconds left, trailing 16-0.

Question for the coaching staff: Is there some obscure rule that makes a run through the Stanford marching band worth 16 points?

Was the hit on Cribbs retaliation for Queen's cheap shot on Suggs?

Quite possibly.

National League baseball pitchers think twice before drilling an opponent, as payback is often due the next time they bat.

In the NBA, hard fouls beget hard fouls.

And, reminiscent of Butch Davis' inexplicable decision to play Kellen Winslow, Jr. on special teams on the artificial turf of Texas Stadium, thus losing him for the year, Cleveland's coaching staff risked the Browns' only playmaker on a meaningless play at the end of a lost game.

Fortunately, Cribbs has been released from the Cleveland Clinic, and tests for a concussion were negative.


4. Signs of the Times:

Cleveland Browns Stadium is usually a sterile, joyless and corporate place, but Browns fans provided entertainment that was often lacking on the field.

It's a far cry from Cleveland's old Municipal Stadium, where fans went as far as to hang then-coach Nick Skorich in effigy from the upper deck during a losing 1974 season.

But the old creativity of Browns fans was renewed on that Monday night, producing such televised gems as: "Cleveland Browns: Rebuilding Since 1964!"

The one that made Six Points almost expel beverage through nostrils was featured on the front page of the Nov. 17 Cleveland Plain Dealer .

It read, "Hey Baltimore: Can You Take This Team Too?"

Old Irish saying, "We laugh so we may not cry."


5. Primates Flinging Feces Redux:

To get a vibe for what's left of the fan base, Six Points watched the game at a local restaurant.

As mentioned Nov. 13, the fan base has been split regarding the QB controversy. In other news, the Hummer H1 is not exactly fuel efficient.

Now, in frustration, the venom spreads beyond the QBs to the rest of the team.

On one sack play, a patron even turned on All-Pro LT Joe Thomas, as he screamed "Way to go, All-Pro Joe!"

Of course, that was followed by "We should have taken Adrian Peterson."

If Six Points had $10 for every time he's heard or read that argument, he'd be debt-free, and well on his way to a comfortable retirement.

Brandy Queen's second interception was greeted by a derisive round of applause.

You know, like the one the kid who drops his lunch tray gets in a high school cafeteria.

The late Gib Shanley, erstwhile radio announcer for the Browns, once spoke of the "Cleveland Chorus in Boo Flat" when Browns fans expressed their disgust at the team's performance.

That note was sounded loudly in Browns Stadium after Queen's second pick.


6. What's in a Name?

In the first edition of Six Points, the precedent was set that a certain QB would be referred to as "Brandy Queen" until he completed a pass beyond 10 yards from the line of scrimmage to one of his own receivers.

Well, Queen was 0-for-7 on passes thrown 10 yards or more downfield, including a couple of spectacular wounded ducks in garbage time that landed at least five yards out of bounds.

The overall line? Four sacks, 13-of-31 for 99 yards passing (74 net yards), two interceptions, and 2.1 yards per attempt for a rating of 23.4.

With performances like that, not even the Steel Curtain, the Purple People Eaters of Viking lore, nor the Doomsday Defense of Dallas could carry a team.


Extra Point: A Change Is Gonna Come:

Sam Cooke wrote that tune in December of 1963, and it was released as a single posthumously in 1964.

It became one of the most influential civil rights songs of all time.

Yes, Six Points listens to NPR.

A loss to Detroit in four days could have Eric Mangini in the coaching equivalent of cement shoes.

The fans are restless, and Randolph Lerner does not like what he sees.

Don't be surprised if this happens. Dick Jauron, figuratively, is at the bottom of the other end of Lake Erie.

This may be the time for the Browns, before the new front office is installed, to see what they have in Rob Ryan.

Ryan's undermanned unit has played aggressively, and he has a sideline demeanor not seen in Cleveland since Marty Schottenheimer.

Ryan may or may not be head coaching material, but there's precedent for going forward under his leadership if the Browns lose in Detroit.

His name is Mike Singletary.


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