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A Purple Hangover

September 14, 2009

So the Browns lost to the Vikings. Oh well. It's okay. There's a lot of football to be played. The Vikings are a very good team. Adrian Peterson is ridiculous. Let's focus on what the Browns did well. There were some things to build on.

Jamal Lewis has gas in the tank. The Browns old running back isn't quite ready to trade in his pads for a rocking chair. Lewis ran the ball well against the NFL's top run defense since 2006. He gave the Browns a threat of a running game. Hopefully, he can continue that sort of play all season. The Jamal we saw yesterday was a very solid Jamal.

Speaking of the running game, Alex Mack stood up to the Williams Wall. The rookie got a fiery baptism when the Minnesota Courts send the Williams Wall to Cleveland to take on the Browns 1st round pick. Mack held his own. The Browns moved the football on the ground and Mack didn't get beat very much. Very solid debut for the for Cal lineman.

Joe Thomas handled Jared Allen. Allen is a hell of a pass rusher. The Browns gave up too many sacks, but none of them were to sackmaster Allen. That's because Left Tackle Extraordinaire Joe Thomas was keeping him at bay. Impressive start for Thomas as he looks to go 3-for-3 on Pro Bowls in his career.

The Browns got to the quarterback. Last year the Browns got 17 sacks in 16 games. After one week this year, we are on pace to get 64. Rob Ryan brought pressure from all over getting two sacks from the secondary. Maybe most promising, Kamerion Wimbley got to Brett Favre for a sack. He also made a big play near the goal line in the first half. A very promising start from a player the Browns need to make plays. Oh, and Shaun Rogers was pretty good too.

Brady wasn't bad, and he will only get better. Sorry Bud Shaw, but Brady wasn't dodging interceptions left and right and throwing with maddening and inexplicable inconsistency. So there was a difference from Derek Anderson. Brady is going to get better as he gets more experience and improves his timing with his receivers. He didn't have a great game, far from it. I'd give Brady maybe a B-/C+. He's only going to get more comfortable (and better) and going downfield with the ball, and he is going to be careful with it. I know, he turned it over twice. Once was a fluke (the fumble). Once was a miscommunication (the pick). He got lucky when the Vikings dropped a pick that ended up in Braylon's hands. I see it as one really bad throw. Otherwise Brady took care of the football with his decisions. He's only going to get better, and he wasn't all that bad.

Josh Cribbs continues to be Josh Cribbs. Pay him already.

The Browns didn't quit. Cleveland scored an offensive TD on its last possession, showing the focus and desire to finish the game off, even after the outcome was quite clear. The Browns still had too many penalties, especially late, but at least the discipline to finish the game was there.

All in all, the Browns just didn't have the talent to win without playing a close to perfect game. Next week, the Browns get the Broncos. I know it's in Denver, but I really like Cleveland's chances next week. The Browns can build off of some positives in a frustrating loss, and I think they win next week. Something like 23-10. All is not lost. Go Browns.

Jack Bacevice

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