I guess the Cleveland Browns may have finally found a starting quarterback. And yet they find themselves on the losing end again, this time to the hated Pittsburgh Steelers. Browns QB Colt McCoy proved to be a bright spot even in another lopsided defeat to the Steelers.
If I would have thought that McCoy would put up a 80.3 QB rating and 281 yards passing against the #1 defense in the NFL, I would have been accused of being delusional.
McCoy showed the moxie, mobility, poise and dare I even say, accuracy and arm strength in referring to a Cleveland Browns quarterback, Browns fans would think I'm talking about the second coming of Bernie Kosar.
I had my concerns and misgivings going into this game about McCoy playing at the loud and very hostile Heinz Field with the Steelers coming off of a bye.
Also, Pittsburgh getting Roethlisberger and Cleveland being a 14-point underdog didn't help much either.
But with his first 8-yard NFL completion, I actually thought that the Browns may have stumbled onto something at QB for once, and if the Browns are ever going to challenge in the NFL, then they must establish stability at the QB spot.
Granted, that most of McCoy's yards came after the Steelers were up 21-3 and playing a "prevent" defense, nonetheless, McCoy looked like something that hasn't been seen in a long time along the shores of Lake Erie, a legit QB.
And despite losing both Cribbs and Massaqoui, McCoy showed some real leadership. He moved the Browns down the field efficiently, with one highlight being a 39-yard completion to Browns TE Evan Moore
What would also help the Browns is to embrace a novel concept in football called "tackling" because once again their "improved run defense" looked like a sieve, as Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall gashed the defense for 87 yards and a touchdown.
The Cleveland "pass defense" is a disgrace in coverage and tackling, as once again Browns DB Eric Wright was targeted and thrown at mercilessly, this time being burned by Steelers WR Mike Wallace on a 29 yard touchdown reception.
What will also be talked about and remembered the most from this game is not Ben Roethlisberger's return from his four game suspension or Colt McCoy's first NFL start, but the two bone-jarring hits that Steelers LB James Harrison laid on Mohammed Massaqoui and Joshua Cribbs, both of which should result in severe fines for the LB. Harrison basically speared WR/RB Joshua Cribbs with his helmet and then pulverized defenseless Browns WR Mohammed Massaqoui.
Personally, I'm all about fair play and winning the game like a man, but when not one but TWO, count them TWO flagrant and head-hunting hits are not flagged and that player is not ejected from the game, there is a serious problem.
It is something that the NFL should seriously look into suspending him for, especially with the recent emphasis on player safety and the tragic neck-down paralysis of Rutgers DT, Eric LeGrand.
Now if Browns FS T.J. Ward can get fined $15,000 for a helmet hit on Bengals WR Jordan Shipley, then why was Harrison not flagged or even ejected from the game?
Despite being a 14-point underdog on the road, losing a top playmaker in Cribbs, and having Hillis be a non-factor, McCoy and the Browns can feel good about the way they played. Not even the referees and scoreboard can take away from that.
I guess the real "Rooney Rule" applies to the Steelers and only in Pittsburgh.
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