Final Thoughts on the Browns & Week 12
Some quick thoughts on the Browns and the rest of the NFL as Week 12 comes to close tonight.
While it may still be hard for some to see, the Browns continue to make progress this season. While the losses to the Jets and Jacksonville were disappointing, the Browns bounced back yesterday and, even though it wasn’t always pretty, pulled out the win.
It’s easy to say the Browns are better than their 4-7 record and, with all the close losses, a play here or there and the team could easily be 7-4. Even though they are not, they are still in a better place than they were at this time last year.
After Week 12 in 2009, the Browns were 1-10 after dropping a 16-7 decision to the Bengals where Brady Quinn threw for 100 yards and Jamal Lewis ran for 40 yards.
Compare that to yesterday when Peyton Hillis ran for 131 yards and Jake Delhomme passed for 245 yards.
The Browns still have several holes to fill on the team and injuries are robbing them of what little depth they have at some positions. But they continue to fight in every game and, given the schedule they have faced so far, the record is pretty amazing.
Eric Mangini called out the defense for its lack of intensity and tackling.
“I feel like we should’ve played much better than we did defensively,” he said in The Plain Dealer. “And I felt at times during the game, we did that, but that’s not how we play. It’s consistency. That’s what we need to do. It’s consistent, good, smart football. Tackling is a huge component of that, just fundamentals.”
Hard to argue with that.
Speaking of Hillis, it’s worth repeating: for the year, Hillis has accounted for 37 percent of the Browns offensive yards and 62 percent of the team’s offensive touchdowns. He is clearly the MVP of the team this season.
And the Browns have him because Denver coach Josh McDaniels didn’t realize what he had.
Speaking of McDaniels, people were falling all over themselves last year when the Broncos started 6-0. How has that worked out? Since then, the Broncos are 5-16 and McDaniels is in trouble with the league after a Broncos employee taped a San Francisco walk through.
So glad he’s not our problem in Cleveland.
Staying out west, there’s little doubt the Browns would be running away with the division if they played in the NFC West.
The winner of tonight’s game between San Francisco, which started the season 0-5, and Arizona, behind Derek Anderson and riding a four-game losing streak, will “improve” to 4-7 and only be one game behind Seattle and St. Louis, tied for the division league.
The NFL got it right in fining – but not suspending – Houston’s Andre Johnson for his fight with Tennessee’s Cortland Finnegan.
While Johnson deserved the fine, since he’s not a troublemaker or repeat offender, a suspension would have been over the top.
We can’t say the same about the Steelers, who continue to cry now that the refs are finally penalizing them for their thuggish play on defense. James Harrison had another roughing the passer penalty on Sunday against Buffalo and faces another fine as a repeat offender, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The Steelers have no room to complain. After years of dirty football, you can’t expect to get the benefit of the doubt when you cross the line. Hopefully it will cost them in a big spot down the road.
We don’t want to be standing next to Bills receiver Steve Johnson along the sidelines this week.
After dropping a game-winning touchdown pass against Pittsburgh, Johnson took to his Twitter account and blamed God for his drop:
“I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO…”
Whoa. A little over the top, no?