In the world of the optimist/pessimist looking to see if the glass is either half full or half empty it could be said that the Cleveland Browns are playing half glass football. It is not anyone’s fault, it is just a combination of bad choices on and off the field that have made this season one that fans will look back with a shudder. One could say that it could not possibly get worse but Cleveland fans know that this has never been the case. Just when it looks to be darkest, it fades to black.
Sunday’s game was no different. It started out promising with a solid drive that ended up with (gasp) a touchdown! Then the Seattle Seahawks took the field and managed to only punt the ball once during the entire game. No matter what the yardage was on third down, Seattle managed to make a first down (sometimes with a helping hand from our defense).
This week’s Dawg Bone Head Play of the Game is a tie. First, #24 DB Johnson Bademosi drew a penalty for pass interference that kept the Seahawk drive alive who with 3rd and Goal managed to score a touchdown. Tying for the award was #22 DB Tramon Williams who added extra yards with a facemask penalty with no time left on the clock giving Seattle a free three points at the half.
Add to this the turning point of the game when the Browns are moving the ball in the third quarter and only down by seven. The plays fizzle and the Seahawks get the ball on a punt and with missed tackles and bad pass coverage from the Browns eventually take it in for a touchdown.
All is not lost for this season no matter what your half full/half empty perception may be. Consider this. Think of the closing of the season as a chance for the Browns to really test various players in different situations. If you see it as a series of pre-season games for next year it takes a bit of the sting out of the whole sorry mess.
On the plus side of this past Sunday’s game was Johnny Manziel’s playing. When he was on, he was really on. His passes had zip and accuracy and even when flushed out of the pocket managed to make something out of nothing. If only he could remember to get rid of the flipping ball when getting sacked. #29 RB Duke Johnson, Jr. made some great running plays including one for 39 yards. #82 TE Gary Barnidge tied Ozzie Newsom’s record of nine touchdowns in a season. #26 DB Pierre Desir was able to break up some pretty significant long ball plays that would have added additional Seattle points to the score.
So here’s what is basically going to happen for the next two games. Plan on seeing some exceptional playing as team members start looking towards the future as far as their employment with the Cleveland Browns. Just like Santa, there is a list being made. The less than nice list might include Ray Farmer, Tramon Williams, Johnson Bademosi and Travis Coons among others.
In other off the field news, #10 WR Darius Jennings has been resigned to the active roster and #77 OL John Grecco has been put on injured reserve with a bum knee. That is the only news reported so far this week.
Next Sunday, the Cleveland Browns (3-11) go against the Kansas City Chiefs (9-5) who are second in their division and would like nothing more than to beat out the Denver Broncos (10-4) or at least get a wild card shot. The season ends at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5) who are also in second place in our division and who also may have a wild card shot at the playoffs.
As Coach Pettine said, one thing that can be said about the Cleveland Browns players this year, in spite of the bad luck, bad calls, lousy losses and Dawg Bone Headed Plays they have not lost their desire to play and play hard. The team is showing up and doing their best all the way through to the end of the game. Everyone on the team wants to win and perhaps with the information found in the last two games they will be able to come up with a formula for success. At the very least the team is set to get some first round draft picks. Go Browns!
During his Monday interview, Head Coach Mike Pettine had this to say, “As I said yesterday it was apparent after watching the tape that our level of play just wasn’t good enough. Needed to give ourselves an opportunity to win the game and we just weren’t consistent enough. Unfortunately that’s been a theme in a lot of our losses this year. Seattle is a very good football team, they sustain long drives. They converted on third down. I talk about that yesterday, I thought we did a good job on early downs that when we got them into third down they were longer than what they were used to and we weren’t able to get off the field. Giving up that percentage on third down you’re not going to win a lot of football games. It gives us another feeling of disappointment in a season of too many for our team and for our fans. The positive is I like our teams attitude, I like their fight. I think the players are still very much focused and intent on finding a way to end the season the right way. I see that in how they practice, I see that in how they prepare and I see that during games. I see the emotion, the passion that you want to see in your team and we’re going to continue to be that way for the next two games.