Ahhh, I was back home in Cleveland yesterday, and it was a great fall day to be able to turn off the TV sound, turn up Jim Donovan, and watch the Browns game.
Going into this game, I was as pessimistic as everyone else. And through the first couple drives, I hadn't seen much reason to change my mind. But then, it happened. Charlie Frye stepped it up. Passes were caught. In short, I believe that the Browns showed up the Ravens, even if the final score did not reflect that.
I was VERY impressed by Frye. He had a penchant for hanging onto the ball a little too long when getting sacked, but otherwise he showed a great poise in dealing with the Ravens' relentless passrush. Whereas in week one he was doing alot more running in those situations, today he was looking for and sometimes finding those inevitably open receivers. That 58 yard pass to Edwards was a thing of beauty.
I liked the play calling. I'm glad they didn't waste their time seeing if Jason Wright could run against the Ravens wall of linemen. Like clockwork, Grossi blames the Carthon playcalling for the loss (particularly, that endzone pass interception that inevitably lost the game for us). But he will never give credit to the fact that we would've never been in the game in the first place without those shots down field.
The thing is, Frye has been incredibly consistent in making safe passes this season. Most of the picks that he's had so far have been dropped/deflected balls that are all on the receivers, and not Frye's fault. And he's done a great job of pulling the ball down and running with it when he couldn't make something happen. So in that situation, in the end zone, I think that giving the ball to Frye to pass was nearly as safe an option as running it, with a higher probability of success. And if Frye got hit a second earlier, he wouldn't have even got the pass off and would've just taken the sack. And if Frye got hit a second later, the pass would've been a perfect touchdown. But, by freak luck, he was hit the second he was throwing it, making it a bad pass. I don't mind playing those odds.
Edwards redeemed himself.
Winslow nearly backed up his talk, but that taunting call got my blood boiling. I guess that there's still hope that he'll learn, but I'm not going to count on it. He's still a good weapon to have, but you've gotta take the good with the bad.
Wimbley looked decent. He didn't get any sacks, but he was close enough. I think that he might be the real deal.
I liked that we were bringing alot of pressure on D. Sean Jones and DiQwell Jackson both looked capable, and Chaun Thompson showed a little something.
Simon Fraser played a good game. I wonder how long Jimmy Donovan was hoping to use that "Simon says .. ." line.
Oline was, well, what can you say about 7 sacks? They were outnumbered so many times that it wasn't really their fault. The running game had glimses, but not enough to justify running more than you need keep-them-honest. I believe that by the end of the season, they will be able to run more convincingly (at which point Grossi will point and say "Why haven't they been doing that all along, Carthon has been wasting Droughns, the best RB since Jim Brown"), but right now the run game just isn't there.
Daven Holly was a joke. CB is really ugly. At least he's young and has hope of getting better. But he could be a real liability against the Raiders next week.
Is the season officially a failure? Probably. I will be happy with another 6-10 record. I think that we can reasonably hope to win against:
- Tampa Bay (in Cleveland on Christmas Eve)
- One from Atlanta, Kansas City, or Baltimore
- One from Cincinnati or Pittsburgh (yeah, I know, tall order)
But at least we're seeing things to get excited about. Frye might really be the answer. We might really have offensive weapons in Edwards and Winslow. We might have a real pass rusher in Wimbley. And we might have one last present from the Butch Davis era in Sean Jones.
It doesn't change the fact that we are a losing team. But what else do we have, but hope for the future?