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Browns May Have Lost, But There's Hope!

November 24, 2009

So by now I am sure you aware the Browns lost again last Sunday. 38-37 to the only franchise that is arguably worse than Cleveland's. On a ridiculous finish. Fine. Get over it. The Browns are going nowhere anyway. Progress is important. Granted, the defense seemed to have a major regression on Sunday. It was probably their worst game of the season. However, they have at least shown signs of improvement at times this year. So the defense hasn't been my main concern.

The offense, on the other hand, has been unspeakably pathetic all season. Even when the unit sort of had one good day against Cincy, the game was rife with bad decisions and blown assignments and crappy technique and... you see where I am going with this. Sunday the offense finally looked like professionals. Granted, it was against a terrible defense. You can only play the team on the schedule. This season the Browns offense has mostly been shooting itself in the foot before the opposing defense could shut them down. Bad decisions on passes, drops, poor blocking, bad route running, bad play calling, and much more had plagued this offense all season. For the first time all year, fans didn't see a bevy of self-inflicted mistakes on offense. It was actually fun to watch. Weird.

So yeah, they lost. It was a really crappy, bad loss too. Losing after time ran out to a rookie quarterback and a team that was 0-16 a year before. Ugly. Fine. Don't focus on that. Focus on things like...

... Brady Quinn appeared he could be a legitimate NFL quarterback. The game against the Ravens just 6 days earlier saw Quinn look confused and over matched in every way. He couldn't make any throws. It wasn't the Ravens defense in as much as Brady was just bad. You really had to question whether he even had the ability to be successful with good players around him. Brady pretty much put the Ravens debacle to rest. He threw the ball all over the field, and he threw it well. Brady threw short, deep, out routes, crossing routes, check downs, touchdowns. You name it and Brady did it, except interceptions. Chris Jennings even dropped a beautiful ball that wold have been a touchdown. There were plenty of correct audibles, reads, and protection adjustments. Quinn was smart. He took care of the football. He took what the defense gave him and put points on the board. He finally played as advertised back in 2007. Brady firmly put himself back in the race to be the Browns starting QB in 2010. That's good because it would be one less player that the Browns need, and they need like 35.

Wait there's more.

Chansi Stuckey and Jason Trusnik both played solid games. Neither one is ever going to be a star, but they both at least made some very positive contributions. Trusnik may never be more than a reserve linebacker. He at least looks like he will be a good reserve linebacker. Stuckey had a very nice game and flashed ability to perhaps be a number two receiver.

Mohamed Massaquoi also had a big game. He made plays that forced the Lions to pay attention to him and open things up for other players on the offense. Forcing the defense to pay attention to Massaquoi was probably nearly as big a part of the passing game's success as the solid blocking.

Speaking of the solid blocking, hey there was solid blocking! Not only did the Browns do a nice job of giving Brady time when the Lions didn't blitz, but when the Lions did blitz the Browns helped, chipped, shoved, bumped, or did whatever else it took to slow the rush and give Quinn enough time to make a play. It wasn't just the line. It was the tight ends and the running backs and Quinn adjusting protection and proper line calls. It was the total package of blocking. It was great.

So yeah, they lost. They played one of the league's worst teams. The manner of losing was horrible and heartbreaking. Fine. So what. This season has been so bad you need to take any silver lining you can. Take the offensive performance and run with it. It showed progress and was actually fun to watch.

Jack Bacevice

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