Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sports weekend from hell

I purposely waited to sum up my thoughts from the Cleveland sports weekend until Tuesday morning. This was partly to recover from a long weekend of drinking in Chicago and then tailgating before and attending the Browns Sunday-nighter... and partly because I didn't want to write a bunch of knee-jerk pissed-off reactionary thoughts. I wanted to digest what I saw on Sunday night. Now that I've had time to do that, I honestly feel no different. I can't believe this is the team that I had such high hopes for two short weeks ago.

That really was an embarrassment on national TV. The Steelers played about as badly as we could have hoped and still beat us in our house because we couldn't do anything right. We couldn't stop them on obvious passing third-and-long situations. We couldn't convert in the red zone. Hell, we couldn't even manage the clock to set up a score right before halftime. That sequence was inexcusable. The ten second runoff penalty, immediately followed by the Browns' complete lack of urgency as they waited another 8 or so seconds to snap the ball. Then their refusal to call a timeout after a completed pass in bounds. Then the final straw - the DA interception to take any points off the board before halftime. The team was rightfully booed as they ran into the tunnel. What a complete disgrace. And the second half was equally as embarrassing with the team mustering only 6 points on two field goals, the second one almost as head-scratchingly confusing as the one ordered by Romeo Crennel in the fourth quarter last week against the Cowboys. I just don't get it.

At 0-for-our-last-10 this 'rivalry' has turned into a joke

The Browns now sit at 0-2 and are really a full three games behind the Steelers with the head-to-head loss. Kiss all hopes of an AFC North title goodbye two weeks into the season. What a great feeling. I'm so sick of seeing black and gold jerseys on the ugly redneck hillbilly fans that treck up here every year to watch their team own us. I'm sick of watching the Browns get knocked around and not really seem to care. I'm sick of wasting my time and money on this team year after year. Of course that won't make me stop going, it will just make me stop hoping. I guess the tailgating will always be good. At least we have that in Cleveland. It would be nice to someday have a team to be proud of too.

Personnel-wise, I have no idea what the Browns can do to shake things up. Derek Anderson has looked awful in his first two games. But I think it will take a few more bad weeks before Brady Quinn would ever get a shot. And what happened to the Pro Bowl version of Braylon Edwards that we saw last year? Did the bizarre foot injury in training camp really set him back that much? And I can't figure out what happened to our run blocking, but 38 yards on 19 carries for Jamal Lewis just won't cut it. That's the kind of production we got out of Ben Gay and Willie Green in their primes, but I expect a little more from Lewis. And finally, where is the vaunted offensive game plan from Chud that we loved so much last year? Are Jurevicius and Stallworth really that integral to our game plan? I really don't know what to expect from the Browns the rest of the year, but if they are to have any hopes of playing in January then two consecutive road wins are a must in the next two weeks. And from the looks of things, I just don't see how that is possible...

Other Browns Notes: Terry Pluto agrees that the next two weeks will be the most important to RAC's coaching career... Another week, another season-ending injury... I think this is tongue-in-cheek writing from Pat McManamon, because I wouldn't adopt the Steelers if my life depended on it... And apparently Romeo doesn't see a problem with opting for field goals. I'm gonna go way out on a limb here (not really) and say that if the Browns are 0-4 entering their bye week, then RAC will have coached his last game here. And I'm really not rooting for that to happen, I'm just making that observation. He needs to inject some urgency into this team immediately.

Tribe Update: To continue the 'weekend from hell' theme, the Tribe went 0-for-3 against the Royals on Saturday and Sunday (to go along with the Buckeyes' embarrassing primetime loss to USC). Thankfully I'm not a huge OSU fan and I wasn't in town on Saturday and was busy tailgating on Sunday, so I missed the Tribe's weekend. Their fight to get back to .500 is now that much more difficult, but they did rebound nicely with a 3-1 win vs. the Twins last night. Scott Lewis impressed again with another 6 shutout innings on the mound for the Indians. He has now gone 14 scoreless innings to start his major league career. Not too shabby, and another reason to have some hope for 2009. Shin-Soo Choo and Kelly Shoppach provided all the power the Tribe would need in this one. And Rafael Betancourt and Rafael Perez continued their much-improved work of late, paving the way for Jensen Lewis to notch his 9th save.

Paul Hoynes gives more background on Scott Lewis' impressive start... And Shin-Soo Choo is becoming a 'complete player' in Wedge's eyes... Asdrubal Cabrera is proud of his resurgence after being named co-AL player of the week... The Indians will need to go 8-4 over their final 12 games to reach the .500 mark, a tough task when considering 9 of them will be against the Twins, Red Sox, and White Sox. Zach Jackson will continue his quest for his first major league win tonight for the good guys.