Sunday, September 10, 2006
Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou offense, Romeo?
THIS is what we've been waiting for ever since the Indians took a 10-foot walk of a nine-foot pier back in June? This is what a sea of orange and brown that filled the parking lots around Cleveland Browns Stadium hours before game time like knights laying siege to a castle gets for its troubles?
Fourteen points. Three turnovers, including one that bounced off Braylon Edwards' chest in the final minutes and turned into an interception to seal the deal. 186 total yards. Reuben Droughns, last year's 1,200-yard man, held to 27 yards by 2005's worst rushing defense. Five sacks of Charlie Frye. Joe Jurevicius breaking his ribs ON A PLAY THAT DIDN'T EVEN COUNT!
The Browns didn't just lose to the Saints (you know, the team with the NFL's second-worst record last year). They barely beat Reggie Bush (141 total yards). But then again, doesn't Bush always win in Ohio? It took only til halftime for a fired-up crowd to start booing. That's partly because the Browns had just three first downs in the first half, and partly because the scoreboard listed one of the keys to victory for the second half (right behind "More offense") as "More crowd noise."
And the Browns' big plays weren't just erased, they were punished for even having them. On the first offensive play of the game -- a more fitting start to a season could not occur for a Cleveland team -- Charlie Frye hit Braylon Edwards for a 74-yard touchdown pass. But not really! Offseason signee Kevin Shaffer proved his worth with a holding penalty. Later, Joe Jurevicius caught a 20-yard pass to convert a fourth-down play, but a Cosey Coleman hold erased that gain. It didn't erase the broken ribs Jurevicius suffered on the play, though.
Hey, at least Bay Village native Dave Zastudil got plenty of playing time. Of course, since he's the punter, he's the last guy anyone other than his family and maybe a Bay High School high school football coach or two wants to see on the field.
A season forecast that looked anywhere from optimistic to hopeful changed to downright dreary in about three hours Sunday afternoon. Not only did the Browns lose (at home!) to their weakest opponent of the season, but everyone else in the AFC North won by at least 10 points (leaving the Browns in last), and Week 3 home opponent Baltimore posted an impressive road shutout of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Suddenly the Browns are playing Staredown with 0-4, and 0-4 ain't blinking. And neither is God.
But at least the Indians beat the White Sox Sunday. Only 17 games out of first! When does the Cavs season start again?