We just got fooled again.
For 30 minutes of football, the Browns, in the words of former head coach Butch Davis, played their guts out.
While the offense continued to lack the competency it has not consistently shown since the days of Lindy Infante, the D was actually (gasp) pressuring the quarterback, keeping All-Pro Adrian Peterson in check, and thanks to Browns MVP Josh Cribbs (no one can or will come close this year), they actually led at halftime.
It's one thing to forget college calculus over a decade later. I've done that.
But, the Browns forgot how to tackle in the span of a 15-minute intermission.
Call the EPA and the CDC to inspect the locker room for whatever causes this amnesia. My tongue in cheek prediction of 52-9 was not far off in reality, as Peterson shredded the D in the second half.
When was the last time the Browns could stop the run? 1994?
Deposed offensive coordinator Bruce Arians must have come back to the lakefront. The Wildcat formation twice in a row in a goal-to-go situation?
Jamal Lewis was running more like age 25 than 30 at that point, and we have a couple of big dudes named Thomas and Steinbach on the OL. WTF?
Brady Frye was sacked five times, and although he finished with a completion percentage over 60 percent, that was only possible thanks to a garbage-time touchdown going up against a second-string Vikings defense that was in a deep prevent .
Brady Dorsey's/Pederson's/Detmer's fumble was a thing of beauty. Passes should go forward in the NFL. Just saying.
In the first quarter, there was actual crowd noise at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Lew Merletti, former head of the Secret Service and currently in charge of security at Mistake on The Lake v. 2.0, must have been going nuts.
One more quarter of that, and the National Guard may have been deployed.
Not to worry, by the time the fourth quarter came, the familiar sea of empty seats watched the action. Fifty-yard-line seats still remain for the December 27 game against Oakland.
Now, back to the quarterback.
Earlier this decade, there was a bowl game that quarterback played against Ohio State. He was punished by the Buckeye defense, and the outcome was never in doubt.
Instead of airing it out when behind, that quarterback dinked and dunked his way downfield to a garbage time touchdown to make the final score 34-20 in a game that wasn't that close.
What was the final score again Sunday? Was the game even that close?
In that Fiesta Bowl, that quarterback's numbers didn't look that bad, but he was completely ineffective. The line from Sunday didn't look abysmal, but one play in particular stands out.
That QB had an eternity to throw, and another QB on the roster would have fired a deep laser to a receiver.
Given all day to throw, where did that QB throw it? About three yards forward when he had open receivers downfield. OK, pad the QB rating, scoreboard be damned.
NFL defensive backs tend to come from places like Ohio State, LSU and Florida; not Army, Navy and Air Force.
Even for Randy Lerner, money's tighter these days than it has been since the Great Depression.
If a certain QB does not take 70% of the snaps this year, the Browns either save $6.23 million or $11 million in performance incentives.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the number is $11 million.
From the looks of this, Lerner will save his money.