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Archive for the tag “Cleveland Browns”

Browns may have saved season against Atlanta

pettine beats falconsIt has been 24 hours and a small part of us is still wondering just how the Cleveland Browns walked out of Atlanta with a victory on Sunday.

It may not have been pretty at times – OK, it was downright ugly at times – but the win symbolized what this current Browns team is all about as, more times than not, they find a way to win.

The victory brings the Browns to 7-4 and keeps them very much in the playoff race in the AFC North Division. The record represents the team’s best mark after 11 games since 2007 (we’ll come back to that season in a little bit), and is just the fourth time since returning to the NFL in 1999 that they have won at least seven games.

The win was also the team’s second consecutive on the road and their third road victory of the year. It was 2008 since the last time the Browns achieved either of those marks. The Browns have also yet to lose consecutive games this season.

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Browns start decisive two-game stretch today in Atlanta

browns falcons previewToday marks the start of a two-game stretch that could define the season for the Cleveland Browns.

First up are the Atlanta Falcons, who despite being just 4-6 currently sit in first place in the NFC South Division thanks to their 4-0 record within the division. (Ironically, the Browns are in last place in the AFC North Division with a 6-4 record. Go figure).

After the Falcons, the Browns will travel … somewhere … to take on the Buffalo Bills.

If the Browns play well, the games against the Falcons and the Bills are winnable ones. Take care of business these next two games, and the Browns will enter the final quarter of the season at 8-4 and carrying a real shot at 10 wins and a potential playoff position.

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Josh Gordon’s return comes at opportune time for Browns

Is it Sunday yet?

We ask because on Sunday the Cleveland Browns start a two-game road stretch against Atlanta and Buffalo where, if Cleveland plays well, could see the Browns enter the final quarter of the NFL season at 8-4 and very much in the thick for their first playoff appearance since 2002.

It’s also because Sunday marks the return of wide receiver Josh Gordon from his 10-game suspension, which can only be a good thing for a Cleveland offense that is struggling to get things going.

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From the editor’s notebook …

browns release ben tateIt what was a surprise – at least to us – the Cleveland Browns released running back Ben Tate on Tuesday.

In eight games with the Browns, Tate rushed for 333 yards and four touchdowns, which, interestingly enough, were as many touchdowns as the Browns rushed for as a team in 2013. Tate’s rushing yards were a bit inflated by his 124-yard performance against Tennessee; take away that game and he was averaging just 2.49 yards per carry.

“With all the transactions we make while constructing our roster, it will always be our intent to do what is best for our football team,” general manager Ray Farmer said in announcing the move. “This move is no different and we wish Ben the best going forward.”

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It’s déjà vu all over again as Browns lose to Texans

hoyer shanahan loseThey did it again.

For the second time this season, the Cleveland Browns entered a game fresh off a big divisional win that had the team and its fans believing the club had finally, after all these years, turned a corner.

And for the second time, the Browns betrayed that belief and left a turd in the punchbowl.

This time it was a deflating loss to the Houston Texans that looked so much like a repeat of the Jacksonville game in October, almost down to the final score. Then, a week after beating Pittsburgh, the Browns fell to the Jaguars and Blake Bortles by the score of 24-6.

On Sunday, the Browns team that looked so good against Cincinnati had no answers for Ryan Mallett, who came into the game having thrown one NFL pass but somehow went 20-of-30 for 211 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start. This time, the Browns fell 23-7.

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Thumbs up, thumbs down as Browns set to face Texans

browns change a yearThe Cleveland Browns find themselves atop the AFC North Division and in control of their playoff destiny heading into today’s game against Houston.

The Browns have reached this point after a 1-2 start to the season by winning five of their past six games to take over the division lead. Included in the winning streak is the biggest road comeback in league history, and beatings of divisional rivals Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

Over the next seven weeks we’ll find out if the Browns have finally turned the corner or if this season will go up in smoke like 2007 – the last time the Browns fielded a competitive squad. The journey won’t necessarily be easy of Cleveland has four of its final six games on the road, including the last two games of the regular season.

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5 Questions on the first place Cleveland Browns

browns 5 questions mainThe Cleveland Browns are in first place in the AFC North Division.

Let that sink in for a moment before we move on.

The Browns have reached the top of the toughest division in the NFL by winning five of their past six games, a streak that includes beat downs of division rivals Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

They’ve also done it with quarterback Brian Hoyer doing what he does best – win – and with a defense that is starting to look impressive (just don’t look too closely at those rushing stats).

They’ve done it despite not having wide receiver Josh Gordon so far this year and with tight end Jordan Cameron battling injuries. They’ve done it despite losing center Alex Mack to a season-ending injury and seeing the defensive line hit by injuries on what seems like a weekly basis.

Most importantly, they’ve done it because the coaching staff has everyone buying into the program and they are playing as a team. They offense bailed out the defense early in the season; lately it has been the defense’s turn to carry the water.

“I don’t think many people gave us a chance, but the people in that [locker] room believed, and I think the greatest thing about our team is we play as a team,” Hoyer said on Thursday night after win against Cincinnati. “In the NFL, that’s where you have a lot of guys who are out for their selves, and this team plays for each other. As long as we do that, we can do special things.”

Just how special remains to be seen. The Browns have seven games to go and are currently in the playoff conversation as New England and Denver are the only AFC teams with fewer losses than the Browns.

To help everyone get through a Sunday with no Browns, we’ve put together another blue ribbon panel to talk about what the final seven games have in store for the Browns. Joining us today are:

Jeff Rich, a Senior NFL Writer at More Than a Fan; co-host of Rapid React on MTAF Cleveland, which can be heard immediately after every Browns game; and who can also be heard live on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at sportsbyline.com. Find him on Twitter @JRichRadio.

Jared Mueller, an editor at Dawg Pound Daily. Follow him on Twitter @JaredKMueller and @DawgPoundDaily.

Mike Burgermeister, proprietor of 603brown.com and Grand Poobah of Cheddar Bay. Follow him on Twitter @603_brown.

Ryan Alton from Draft Browns, who can be found on Twitter @RyInCBus.

Dave Kolonich, who’s been known to hang around on Twitter @DaveKolonich.

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Browns earn a second chance at a season to remember

browns beat bengals 1There are no guarantees of getting a second chance in the NFL, but when they occur teams need to be ready to capitalize on them.

That’s the situation the Cleveland Browns now find themselves in after their complete beat down of the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night.

The primetime win announced to the nation that the Browns are for real this year and tops the team’s previous big win of the season against Pittsburgh.

The win against the Steelers on Oct. 12 had the team and its fans believing a better day was finally here, but the Browns followed up that big day by falling flat the following week against Jacksonville.

Now the Browns have earned themselves a second chance after winning for the fifth time in the past six games.

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The Johnny Manziel media obsession hits a new low

johnny-manziel-golf-digestEvery time we think we’ve finally hit the bottom of the media’s obsession with Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel, the media finds a way to drain a little more water out of that pool.

It’s one thing when Manziel appears on the cover of Golf Digest, that’s in some ways a commercial endorsement (albeit a rather unexpected one), so we get it.

But we were totally unexpected to see this “report” from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen that Manziel Tweeting out a phone number over the weekend was all a prank on a friend.

We’re not sure which is more unsettling, the fact that one of ESPN’s top NFL reporters felt the need to make this into a story, or that Mortensen had to resort to unnamed sources to “confirm” the existence of the prank.

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Team effort helping Browns change culture a game at a time

browns beat tampa 2The Cleveland Browns have hit the halfway point of the NFL season with a record of 5-3 after beating Tampa Bay on Sunday.

Let’s take a moment to think about what it means for the Browns to have five wins, which on the surface may not sound impressive. But for this franchise? Well, it’s not something we’ve seen very much from the lads in Orange and Brown.

This is a team that has not won more than five games since 2007 and, dating back to 1990, has only won more than five games seven times – and four of those came from 1991 to 1994.

It may be hard to believe given the way this team has played at times this season – and even harder for some fans to accept for some reason – but this could be the best Browns team since they returned in 1999 (we’ll know for sure over the next eight weeks), and there’s no doubt that Brian Hoyer has been the franchise’s best quarterback in that time frame.

The Browns have now won four of their past five games to stay in the hunt in the AFC North Division, and Sunday’s win against the Buccaneers was a perfect example of how this team has transformed itself during the first half of the season.

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