The Brownsiest Of All Browns Games This Season Ends The Brownsiest Browns Year Ever
Yesterday in Pittsburgh, the Browns created one of their “Instant Classics”. It is exceedingly rare to see an NFL team make almost no effort to win a game as the Steelers did, yet still somehow come away with the victory. By the second quarter their own fans were booing them as the revelation hit them that they had paid full price to sit and watch a 5th exhibition game. To call the Steelers “flat” is a slap in the face to the word “flat”. They gave zero fucks if they won the game. They just wanted to get out of it without any injuries. Meanwhile the Browns were giving it everything they had. This is either a testament to the Browns coaching staff for being able to keep the team focused or a terrifying revelation on how far away the Browns are from becoming a team that is a threat to win four games.
The game itself was comical. It was a Brownstastic event. So many plays come to mind where the Steelers laid down to give the Browns the game. The Browns, being the Browns, would then quickly create their own disastrous response. When they were up 14-0 and it looked like it would be a blowout, A-Ha! We’ll snap it over Griffin’s head and fumble it deep! When Boddy-Calhoun made that interception and the Steelers barely jogged after him on the return, A-HA! We will fumble it for a touchback! When they could kick the game winning field goal, A-HA! We’ll push it for the miss! When the Steelers let them run down the field at the end of the game just to end it, A-HA! Crowell will fumble it near the goal line! First and goal at the two in OT? A-HA! We’ll throw a pass for a 14 yard loss! By the end of that game I was laughing so hard I had tears running down my face.
The difficult part for the Steelers was making it not look like a total tank job. The NFL will not put up with that. If the willing suspension of disbelief is gone, that business has a real problem. They had to put in a “Pro Bowl Game” type effort that on the surface appears to be a NFL game but isn’t, and still THE BROWNS COULDN’T WIN. At one point you could see the Steeler coaches say to each other “For Christsakes! What do we have to do?” All they wanted to do was avoid injuries while losing with dignity. Their pre-game speech must have been “OK guys! We’re gonna go out there! And we’re gonna give it 35-50%! We’re not gonna leave anything out on that field! Now let’s go out there because we have to!” You could see the exasperation on the face of Tomlin when it went into overtime. He had to be thinking, “How hard can it be to give the Browns a win? I had no idea!”.
That the Browns lost by allowing Landry Jones to methodically work down the field with basic play calls was the capper. I literally thought the Steelers would take the “victory formation” and just down it after the Browns hit the OT field goal, but protocol made them go out with their end of the bench and somehow march down the field. I assume Antonio Brown heard about the victory as he was being seated for dinner somewhere. Le’Veon Bell listened to it on the radio I’m told. Steeler fans, wise to the con game, had mostly gone home as well. When is the last time you saw an OT game and that many empty seats? The Steeler victory was cheered on by tens of fans.
After this Brownsiest of all Browns games, Jimmy Haslam was going on about how happy he is to have the right people in place moving forward. Jimmy “couldn’t be more pleased with the job Hue and the front office are doing”. As they came within a whisker of going 0-16, it makes me wonder what the team would have to have done to make Haslam “displeased”. If 1-15 is “couldn’t be more pleased”, would that make “0-16 and the stadium burned down” something along the lines of “I have mixed emotions”? How low is the level of expectation in Berea? I recognize that the owner needs to put a public face on things, but wouldn’t it be refreshing to hear Haslam say “I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. Can somebody help me out?”
Now it is time for the Browns to get back to what they do, and that’s selling the fans on the idea of a Golden Future. It’s always worked in the past, so I’m sure it will work again. Send in those season ticket checks now! Don’t worry. It’s going to all turn around this time for sure. The Browns have a bunch of picks in the top part of the draft. This would be exciting save for the fact that we all know that they are going to bungle this. The same guys that passed on Wentz and Bosa are going to be mulling over some brilliant outlier strategy that is going to yield The Next Justin Gilbert. As this game showed, it doesn’t matter how great the opportunities are for The Browns. They are going to fumble before going over the goal line. The real excitement of Browns football is not hoping for a win. It’s waiting to see how spectacular they lose. How can they screw it up in a way you’ve never seen before? Get ready, because the same architects of this season are getting ready to bring you the sequel!
Be sure to check out more insensitive stuff written by Greg Miller at http://nursethehate.blogspot.com/
Also check out Greg’s great country punkabilly band, The Whiskey Daredevils.
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