For the first time this year, I’m actually glad I don’t have access to the Browns.
A 1 point victory? A QB that actually performed well during the two minute drill? These remind me of the Browns of another era. (Well, not directly, since I’m not old enough to remember the Kardiac Kids.)
15 yard celebration penalty? A player being out with strep throat? These remind me of the Browns of this era. (Seriously, Cleveland is always rife with injuries every year, but for some reason the training staff is never replaced. What’s up with that?)
With Peyton Hillis out, we won. This is good. We are 2-1, our best start since 2002. This is also good. However, I’m skeptical on whether or not it will last. First, we still aren’t running enough. Montario Hardesty did well in place of Peyton Hillis (yep, he had the strep throat), going 67 yards on 14 carries for a decent 4.8 YPC, with a nice 19 yard run. But Colt McCoy passed 39 times. And, according to all reports, did badly. 19 of 39? 48.7% completion? That’s sickening, especially for somebody in a west coast offense. He came through when it counted, so gold star for him, but that won’t get it done most nights.
What I like about this team is the defense and the running game (with a healthy Hillis and/or a Hardesty with more carries). We had five sacks and a pick, very nice. The passing game still frightens me. I have some measure of faith in Colt McCoy; after all, his skill set is very similar to Ryan Fitzpatrick, who’s done well for himself (at least this year). I’m ambivalent on our receivers, but like Ben Watson and Evan Moore. It’s too much of an X-factor for me.
I still hold to my prediction of 8-8. Maybe even better; the Steelers are oddly vulnerable this year. I love Rashard Mendenhall, as he played for one of my alma maters (a bright spot on a bad team) and I saw him play quite a bit. But he couldn’t run tonight, and while Big Ben did well, they just barely beat the Colts. An impressive feat any other year, but not this year, as the Colts may be secretly trying to Suck for Luck.
Could the Browns have a winning record in the division? Maybe, but I doubt it. The Ravens look tough this year, and unless Colt matures fast or we run the ball like gangbusters, I don’t see a way of generating much offense against them. We’ve already lost to the Bengals once; I think we’ll beat them the second time, but even if we went 2-0 against the Steelers (which is still unlikely), that would only make us 3-3.
Playoffs? Not without a lot of luck.
Then again, a 1 point victory in which Colt McCoy goes from Derek Anderson to Bernie Kosar at the end of the game would qualify as lucky.