Sunday, November 4, 2007
Browns MVP: Offensive Line
What an awesome win. Finally, against a suitable opponent, granted they're overrated by being in a weak division, but none-the-less, a team that was in the Super Bowl two years ago and was considered by many to be a favorite to get there again this year. What a fantastic comeback on a day when the deep stuff wasn't working at the pace it normally does, thanks to a somewhat subdued Braylon Edwards, but smart playcalling and a HUGE performance by Lt. Winslow overcame whatever struggles were evident in the first part of the game.
Yes, Lt. Winslow rocked. Yes, Jamal Lewis had 4 touchdowns. Yes, DA had another solid game with only one pick and a bunch of yards (who would have had much better stats if there weren't so many drops). The real star of the game: the entire offensive line.
Seattle, if nothing, has a ridiculous pass rush, thanks to Julian Peterson and Daryl Tapp among others, but this group, even with DA throwing a little concerning 48 times, got exactly 0, zero, cero, sacks. Joe Thomas, if not for Adrian Peterson going all Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson on us, would be a serious contender for Rookie of the Year, anchored a textbook performance on pass blocking. Hank Fraley gave a lovely afternoon clinic about how to play center showing both savvy moves and brute pwnage and Eric Steinbach was downfield all day. Yes, we had some awesome performances by the skill guys, but none of it would have happened if DA wasn't clean and Jamal didn't have that goalline push.
The defense, yea, shaky. Definitely not ready to face a pure West Coast offense as Engram and Burleson were doing whatever they wanted. But getting picked apart by Matt Hasselbeck is hardly something to be ashamed of, he's been doing that for years, but take away the kick return TD and they only let up two TD's and two FG's, VERY respectable for a maligned defense going against said offense. Have to like Eric Wright in the 4th quarter deflecting that TD ball and Sean Jones laying wood all day but the defense was aided by a Shaun Alexander being a huge pussy and the offense controlling the ball for a good portion of the 2nd half.
All in all, competitive football makes a great afternoon. Would I have rather seen the Pats-Colts game? You know? After this afternoon, I really don't think I would have. The Browns beat a capable opponent in a great game that lacked nothing. Sure, it wasn't perfect, far from it, but to be able to gut out a win over a evenly-matched team is a great sign for the future, especially heading into the Ravens and Steelers in the coming weeks. Playoff teams aren't made by beating up on the 49ers and Jets, you have to be able to take care of good teams, and the Browns showed they're more than ready for that challenge.
Plus, seeing Browns Stadium rocking like that is one of the greatest sights in the NFL. As numerous people have said, "the NFL is better when the Cleveland Browns are good."