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I think we Browns fans all suffered enough thanks to yesterday's surprising and disappointing loss, so let's end on at least somewhat of a high note here.
That high note - much to the total and utter shock of Browns fans who have been literally terrified of how the wide receivers would look at the start of the season - was the passing game.
No, I wouldn't exactly call it a decisive, beautifully executed effort in the air for the Browns on Sunday, but all things considered it was certainly a lot better than most of us expected.
Granted, both TD passes from Colt McCoy were caught by TEs (Ben Watson and Evan Moore) and tight ends weren't the component of the passing game where the Browns had a lot of concerns entering the season, but that is merely the product of how the Browns' offense is set up (at least to a degree), and the WRs, while not spectacular, were better than expected.
Of course that's more true of some than others.
The oft-maligned Mohamed Massaquoi actually had a really nice game. He had three receptions for 77 yards, including one highlight reel catch.
Josh Cribbs and Greg Little each had one catch. Cribbs didn't contribute much in terms of yardage, but did a nice job drawing coverage and made no major mistakes.
Little looked a bit shaky, dropping a pass at a key moment that he should have had. McCoy did lead him a bit with the throw, but these are the kinds of plays that have to be made to win in the NFL, and yesterday rookie Little learned that the hard way. That said, I think Little did fine for his first professional football game.
Of course, when we praise the Browns passing game, we have to acknowledge that it's all relative. No one can claim the Browns were anything close to excellent in this area. And just like in 2010, the WRs weren't carrying the passing game; it was the tight ends and RB Peyton Hillis, who had six receptions for 30 yards who did the majority of the work.
Still, things did look better than they did last fall in this area. The lone serious disappointment was Brian Robiskie, who despite appearing to possibly be the lead receiver coming out of camp, was a complete non-factor in yesterday's game. Robiskie was targeted three times and failed to come down with the ball once and didn't contribute much of anything in terms of drawing coverage or blocking either.
In Robiskie's defense though, he clearly wasn't the favorite target on the field yesterday, and aside from one notable dropped pass, didn't make any major, costly mistakes. I still believe he will ultimately be fine as the season progresses.
As for the receivers on the whole, they clearly still have a lot of work to do, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much they already appear to have improved.