Here’s a recap of my thoughts after last week’s game:
1. Special teams: GOOD
2. Defense: GOOD
3. Offense: the WORST
4. O-line: the WORST of the WORST
5. Jordan Cameron: I LOVE YOU!
And then, The Trade. (Or, if you prefer, The Personnel Change That Shall Not Be Discussed.) Because, like The Drive, this event should never be referred to in any greater detail than that. And my heart broke. And it is still a little broken. Because I still think it was a bad call. (Oh, and to all of the Browns fans who decided at some point this week that this was actually a strategic move to simultaneously improve our offense and our draft prospects… Shut up.) And this feeling of sadness was only reinforced today when Richardson scored a 1 yard touchdown on his FIRST rush as a Colt. And again when I realized after the game that the Browns’ longest rush was Josh Aubrey’s (note, NOT a running back) 34 yard carry following a faked punt. Anyway, I thought it was all over. No Brandon Weeden? No run game? We were doomed. I actually started today grumpier than I usually am after a Browns game. And then…
1. Forget special teams looking good. Special teams looked AMAZING! One faked punt and another faked field goal? Both executed perfectly? Yes and yes! And to all of you “well, they can’t count on that working every week” naysayers… no joke. And they won’t. But I’m not worried about next week yet. I am still reeling from the fact that the BROWNS WON today!
Also, side note–Spencer Lanning is my new hero! No really. He is the first player to record a punt, an extra point, and a touchdown pass in a single game since 1968. (Also, he now has the same number of touchdown passes this season as Brandon Weeden. Sooooo, I think we have identified our new third-string quarterback.)
2. Defense is still holding it down!!! This may surprise some of you, but the Browns defense was actually ranked 10th overall going into today’s game (and 8th against the run). And, they continued to look good today. Barkevious Mingo recorded his second sack in as many games, and I continue to grow more and more pleased with our first-round draft pick. In addition, five other defenders recorded sacks on Christian Ponder today, and we held Adrian Peterson to 88 yards rushing. And, we forced fumbles by Ponder and Peterson. So really great. My only teensy-weensy complaint is that we let Christian Ponder run with the ball too much, but I feel confident that Ray Horton will take care of this ASAP.
3. This is usually where I bitch about our offense. But not today because we scored 31 points! HOORAY!!!
4. The O-line is still struggling. Joe Thomas had an amazing game, holding the Vikings’ Jared Allen to no sacks, no tackles. But, Thomas was really the bright spot in an otherwise mediocre (at best) performance. Admittedly, Brian Hoyer was only sacked twice today, and not until the second half, but this is more a credit to Hoyer than to the offensive line. He is just a faster passer than Weeden which means his linemen don’t have to hold off an opposing defense quite as long. The right side still has BIG problems, and they are mostly still the fault of Mitchell Schwartz. Can we please find someone else to play right tackle? PLEASE?
5. I am in luuuuuuuuuuvvvv with Jordan Cameron. Seriously, don’t tell my husband. Six catches for 66 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 24 fantasy points? In love. And then he took off his helmet, and it was over. IN LOVE!
Now, I know that after the game all of the Cleveland sports commentators were all “Josh Gordon, what a stud.” And yeah, he looked awesome in his first game back. I think he has the potential to be a really solid target for, you know, whoever is throwing the ball for Cleveland on any given Sunday. But Jordan Cameron has been great in every game so far this season, and he seems to get better every week. While I was really happy with Gordon’s performance today, Cameron definitely outplayed our star wide receiver and deserved more credit for his contribution to the win.
PS–There was speculation after the game about the Browns trading Josh Gordon this coming week for another draft pick. (To understand why in the world the Browns would do that, see my previous post and then watch Major League.) Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland, however, responded to the speculation by noting that the Browns may be considering more trades, but based on his exclusive interview with Joe Banner (set to air tomorrow on www.espncleveland.com), they wouldn’t be trading Josh Gordon. Now, listen. I’m glad to hear that the Browns aren’t planning on gutting their receiving corps the week after they gutted their run game. BUT, if Jordan Cameron is not a Browns player next Sunday, you may not want to talk to me. For awhile. Or ever again.
BUT, I am not going to allow today to be ruined by cynicism! THE BROWNS WON A FOOTBALL GAME! And, Hoyer looked pretty damn good. Admittedly, he threw three interceptions. But Eli Manning does that every other week, and he has two Super Bowl rings. (Ok, I may be getting ahead of myself… But Hoyer is fifth in the league in passing so far this week with 321 yards and 3 touchdowns.) My point is that I am actually excited to watch Hoyer start again next week to see if he can repeat, or even improve upon, this week’s winning performance. And being excited about the Browns is a big deal in my world.