In a season where the Cleveland Browns have regressed in overall performance, it is usually hard to find positives in yet another loss and another blown lead in the fourth quarter.
However, Seneca Wallace was a bright spot for the Browns franchise on Sunday and lit a spark in Cleveland's offense that had been missing for quite a while before his arrival.
Wallace finished the game against Arizona connecting on 18 of 31 pass attempts and boasting a quarterback rating of 91.6. But more importantly, Wallace connected on a 76-yard touchdown pass with Greg Little that registered as the longest play from scrimmage that Cleveland has had during the entire 2011 season. In fact, Little's catch was the longest reception from a Browns receiver since Braylon Edward's 78-yard grab from Derek Anderson during the 2007 season.
Little now has 57 catches on the season for 669 yards and two touchdowns.
Cleveland's offensive unit as a whole seemed to play much better against the Arizona Cardinals, but still failed when the game mattered the most. Cleveland only connected on 35 percent of their third-down attempts and failed to score more than 17 points for the 11th time in 12 games.
However, there are positives for the Browns to build off of, especially if Colt McCoy remains sidelined for another week. Wallace hooked up with eight different receivers for the Browns and even manged to get Jordan Cameron in the action with Ben Watson sidelined for the remainder of the season. Mohammed Massaqoui even seemed to have a connection with Wallace, as he put forth one of his better games since Week 4.
The biggest positive for Cleveland's offense has to be the emergence of Peyton Hillis back into the offensive gameplan. Hillis found the endzone for the first time since Week 2, as he pounded in a 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Hillis finished the game with 99 yards on the ground, his highest total of the 2011 season.
The Browns may have lost yet another game against Arizona, but look as if they are continuing to play hard under Pat Shurmur and may be beginning to gel in the West Coast offense. Wallace looked to have understood the offense a little better than McCoy and didn't make the bad throw that McCoy has made over the last few weeks.
It will be interesting to see how the Browns handle facing Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the next two weeks before they head home watch the NFL playoffs from their living rooms. The Ravens and Steelers always bring top defenses into their games, and Cleveland knows too well how much of a beating they can receive at their hands.
The Browns playmakers have to continue to grow in this offense if Cleveland has any hope to win more games this season or become relevant in 2012. In the meantime, we will continue to look for the positives as we look forward to next weekend.