"Remember when you made the Pro Bowl last year?"
"Yeah, that was cool! And remember when you made it, too?"
"Oh yeah! That was awesome!"
"Yeah, it was pretty sweet. Hawaii is nice. (Sigh)"
Ahh, those were the good old days. And let's face it, the Browns are facing a much tougher schedule than last year, starting off against two of the top teams in the NFL, in Dallas and Pittsburgh. But isn't that what you want as a Browns fan, some challenges, some competition, something to say "look at what we accomplished"?
Sunday night the Browns made strides on the field, and took a step back on the sideline. Romeo Crennel could not figure how to best use his precious time, and critical timeouts, especially towards the end of the first half. He was quoted as saying, "(I) blew it!" Down 28-7, he opts to kick a fieldgoal against the Cowboys. Down 10-3, he declined to take the points that would have brought them within 4. Could that have been more motivation on the last drive, the possibility of the winning touchdown, instead of a touchdown to force overtime? We'll never know.
The team failed to score a touchdown, nor could they get the ball consistently into the hands of their play-makers, Braylon Edwards, and Kellen Winslow. Unfortunately, dropped balls at the most inopportune times was another theme. Edwards definitely heard it from the fans after his first. Winslow, fired up that he was not targeted at the end of the first half in the end-zone, dropped a sure first down at the start of the second half. Michael Phelps was in attendance to root for fellow Michigan man, Edwards, who now has 14 games to score 17 touchdowns, per the receivers side-bet with the Olympic Champion.
Overall, the team improved from week 1, but now sit two games behind the Steelers, and one behind in the division. The defensive line looked awesome, with Shaun Rogers affecting almost every play run by the Pittsburgh offense. He was able to penetrate and get to Roethlisberger on more than one occasion. Corey Williams and Shaun Smith also played well, and so did Brodney Pool in the secondary whose play was much needed with the absence of Sean Jones. The Cleveland D came to play Sunday night.
As a Browns fan, you hate this! But, you have to feel much better about the overall play, yet it stings more too, losing 10-6 to the division rival, Steelers. The Browns always seem to start slow, getting better each week. And they have to, quick. They head on the road for the next two games, going to Baltimore and Cincinnati. A 2-2 record is a must heading into the bye week, especially going up against 2 teams within their division.
It looks like another ride for Cleveland and it's fans this season, so hold on tight. If the offense can start clicking, and the defense stays consistent, with a little help from special teams, and better coaching decisions, the Browns can be in every game until the end. And what more can you ask for, than a chance to compete, and win the game?