It's going to take a lot out of me to prevent myself from Phil Savaging this article and lacing it full of profanity. Just five minutes ago, I left a sports bar after watching the Browns versus the Texans, which had to be the single most embarrassing game of this awful season.
And for the life of me, I can't figure out what is wrong with the Browns.
There's losing, and then there's what the Browns are doing. This cannot be the same team from weeks previous. This loss makes Baltimore and Denver look like Christmas morning. Not one aspect of this "performance" merits even the slightest bit of a compliment.
Where to begin?
Well, there's the defense.
Wait, I'm sorry. Calling what this team brings to the field a "defense" violates the aforementioned compliment thing. What happened today was a group of 11
"athletes" who probably couldn't touch me if I was heading down the field on crutches.
I just don't understand what happened. After beating Jacksonville, our defense was ranked in the middle of the pack with a positive turnover ratio and not nearly as many points allowed as one would've thought.
Today, not one Texans receiver was covered. Not one stop was followed by another. And, most pathetically, not once was there even a hint of intimidation.
Some people may say, "Hey, we held them to 16 points," or "Hey, two interceptions." Don't kid yourself. This was more on Houston being a bad team than it was us being a good one. Had we played Pittsburgh or either New York team, we would've been slaughtered.
This cannot be the same team that held the Giants to only 14 points. This can't be the same team who held Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor, arguably one of the best running back tandems in the league, to a combined 52 yards.
I wish I could hypothesize as to what in the name of God happened to them—but I just can't.
Maybe they turned on cruise control after gaining a 14-point lead against Baltimore and never shifted back. Maybe losing one 14-point lead shattered their confidence, and they never regained it.
Whatever their problem is, Mel Tucker should be as ashamed for having to be associated with the team as I am for supporting them. The man seems lost after receiving support earlier in the season for turning the defense around.
There's just no consistency with the defense. (I know. No consistency? Shocking claim.) When they should be blitzing, they stay in coverage all day. When they should be dropping back, they blitz all day (though you'd never be able to tell otherwise).
Shaun Rogers is the only one who shows up. And until they figure out exactly which player to tackle (Hint: It's the guy with the ball), it'll be just as ugly every week.
Then there's Romeo Crennel.
The only thing that could remotely legitimize the pulling of Brady Quinn is if his finger fell off. Sure, Quinn did have a rough game. But, how many rough games did Derek Anderson have before he eventually got benched? Too many to count.
No coach in his right mind would tell a young quarterback, "It's your team now big guy," and then pull him after just two-and-a-half games, as it does wonders for his confidence.
This is inexcusable. You can't just assume Quinn is going to be unstoppable every game. Yes, I too got excited when Quinn looked good his first two starts. But a rough game is inevitable as he is still pretty much a rookie quarterback.
So what does Crennel do to his "quarterback of the future?" He yanks him after his first bad game.
While Quinn's first interception was his fault, the second was all on Braylon Edwards'. While running a slant route, he eased up on the cornerback, allowing him to jump back inside and pick off the pass. This turnover led to Quinn's benching, an interception that was not his fault.
Crennel's excuse to remove Quinn because the game was a "must win" won't fly with me either. At 4-6, how can you legitimately think playoffs are in the cards? The division has been out of reach for about a month now, and we certainly don't have an edge on Baltimore for a wild card spot (and after next week, the same will be said with Indy).
If Quinn says in his post-game conference that he made the call to be removed, that his finger was too sore to operate with, then maybe I'll ease up. But I just don't see this happening.
What Crennel basically did was show the world how he doesn't belong as a head coach in the NFL. His bad clock management and "I just don't know" press conferences were already evidence that he doesn't belong. But now, it's so obvious that a blind man would be screaming at him.
I sure hope that the rumors of the Browns contacting Bill Cowher with a contract offer are true (and based on the CBS NFL Countdown show, they might be) because we can't keep Crennel any longer. Especially if, and I've got a feeling about this, he names Anderson the starter next week.
But after all this, I'll probably be back next week to watch the game. Yet it seems like the Browns organization doesn't want me to. Nor does the organization feel it deserves one of the best fan bases in the country. Because every time things look even the slightest bit salvageable, the team blows the opportunity and loses. At home. Again.
After all Browns fans have been through, after The Drive, The Fumble, and watching our team get sold, we keep coming back.
If we base today's performance as a reward for our dedication, I can only assume they'd rather play in an empty stadium.
If they keep it up, their wish may come true.
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