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If Only We Played Buffalo Every Week

October 12, 2009

It was a much needed victory. The 0-16 season has officially been averted as well as the possibility of tying the franchise record for consecutive losses next week against the Steelers. Allow me to share some thoughts on the game.

Derek Anderson went 2-17 for 23 yards. After the game, the following occurred to me. If Brady Quinn were to start next week, Derek Anderson would have won the starting quarterback job by throwing 3 interceptions in a half and then lost the job by winning a game. The hypothetical situation would be the perfect metaphor for how the Browns have handled the QB situation since 1999. I know I have been a huge Brady Quinn supporter, mostly because I am not a DA fan and I still think Quinn is a "maybe," but DA was waaaaaaay better than his numbers indicated. Granted, that's a low bar to clear. I actually thought DA played a pretty decent game. To say the offense was plagued by dropped passes would be an understatement. Many Anderson passes hit receivers in the hands, or Robert Royal in the face mask, and were dropped. DA's deep ball to Royal down the seam that clanged off of Robert's head was a beautiful ball in a whirling wind. DA also did something he rarely does, and needs to do a lot more of, he protected the football. I know he threw one INT, but that looked a lot more like a miscommunication than a poor decision. Last week against Cincy, DA also threw one pick but the Bengals D let DA off the hook on two or three mroe throws that easily could have been intercepted. Not the case this week. DA made good decisions and kept the ball out of risky spots. So what if his statistics mostly seemed like an ode to futility. He got the most important statistic for a quarterback, a win.

There were plenty of other good performances. Let's start with the offensive line. Jamal Lewis had holes to run through all day despite facing eight in the box from Buffalo most of the afternoon. Also, when DA did drop back to pass the pocket held up very nicely. The penalties were kept to a minimum. John St. Clair, who I have much criticized, had his second consecutive very good game. Joe Thomas continues to be Joe Thomas, which is outstanding. Same for Eric Steinbach. Alex Mack did a good job and really looks to be settling in for a nice long career on this offensive line. Hank Fraley also had a very good day. You have to celebrate a guy like Fraley's unselfishness and willingness to help a first round pick take his job, and then you can't help but be happy to see a guy like that come out and have a good game at guard like Hank did yesterday. So what if the Bills aren't the Steelers or Ravens on D, you can only block the guy in front of you. The Browns to a man did a great job of that yesterday.

Speaking of blocking, how about that running game? Jamal Lewis was excellent despite no threat of a passing game. DA is going to be a lot more productive than he was yesterday. If Jamal can run like he did yesterday for the rest of the season, the Browns are going to be in a lot more football games. Jamal is also going to get of 1,000 yards if he keeps this up. Not only did his hard running lead to an extra yard or two on his short runs up the middle, but he showed the speed to get around the corner and break off nice gains when he could get through the first wave of defenders. When Jamal has been healthy this year he has run the ball very effectively. You have got to like that.

I know I keep saying pay Josh Cribbs. But did you see the Plain Dealer article yesterday? He wants an extension so he can play his whole career as a Brown. This is one of our best players and maybe the best special teams guy in the league. Yesterday he was a major factor in the dominating special teams performance and managed a 31 yard run on his only touch on offense (I know, he had a drop). PAY JOSH CRIBBS! EXTEND HIS CONTRACT! THIS IS THE TYPE OF PLAYER AND PERSON THAT DESERVES TO BE TAKEN CARE OF BY THIS FRANCHISE! MAKE A FREAKING DEAL WITH HIM!

Sorry, back to the game. Let's stay with special teams. I have never seen a punter have a better game than Dave Zastudil had yesterday. That was incredible. My dad has been watching football about 30 years longer than I have. He agreed with me, he too had never seen a punter have a better game than Zast did yesterday. It was incredible. Dave should absolutely be named the NFL's special teams player of the week. You can't overstate how much his punts helped the Browns finally get a win.

Someone had to down those great punts. Mike Adams, please take a bow. Adams wasn't only good on special teams. He was also very, very good on defense. He was good in coverage. He tackled well. He made plays. He can play man coverage, he can play zone coverage, he can tackle, he can help in run support, he plays excellent special teams. Very nice Mike Adams.

Sticking with the defense the pressure on Trent Edwards was great yesterday. You have got to credit the defense and Rob Ryan for dialing up the right blitzes and schemes. Kamerion Wimbley continues his productive 2009 with his fourth sack in game number five. Wimbley was in the backfield all day. Shaun Rogers also did his usual excellent job. Corey Williams provided good pressure when he was on the field. The roughing the passer call on Williams in the end zone was completely bogus. The whole front did a really good job yesterday. The Bills O-Line looked overmatched. They had nine false starts. That's amazing.

The secondary was good too. Not really surprising that the D played well when you hold the opponent to three points. Brodney Pool continued to do good things, although he didn't have the same impact he had last week. He did play a solid game. Eric Wright had a stupid, inexplicable, indefensible pass interference call on third down when he just leveled Josh Reed about 12 minutes before the ball arrived. Otherwise though Wright was good. We should periodically bench Brandon McDonald. He responds really well to it. He had another nice day yesterday. Mike Adams I already addressed. I don't remember Abe Elam getting beat yesterday, I also don't remember him making any plays, so I assume he played well enough.

Of course there were negatives about yesterday's game, but for now who cares. If you want a recap of all that went wrong look to any of the National Media's stories. ESPN.com termed the game a "battle of ineptitude." I still saw a lot of good (see above). At the very least, the Browns got to be on the right side of the scoreboard this week. ManKok removed one of the monkeys from their backs. Tony Grossi said it best in today's Plain Dealer, "A win is a win is a win."

Jack Bacevice

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