The last time a Derek Anderson made headlines in Cleveland, Mike Fratello was his coach, Shawn Kemp was his best teammate, Zydrunas Ilgauskas was a rookie, Danny Ferry wasn't a GM, Lebron James wasn't yet a teenager, and Cleveland Browns Stadium wasn't even built.
This time, THAT Derek Anderson's hanging on with the Charlotte Bobcats -- with former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Brevin Knight -- while THIS Derek Anderson is stepping into the role of improbable folk hero.
Browns 31, Chiefs 28 in overtime. With this Derek Anderson as leading man. Apparently Mr. Anderson took the red pill before the fourth quarter. How else to explain the Neo-like move he put on Ty Law during his 33-yard overtime run that allowed Phil Dawson a chip-shot field goal to give the Browns their first OT victory since 2002? And no helmetless Dwayne Rudd in sight.
After a week of As Braylon Edwards Turns in which the Browns prima donna wide receiver took a helicopter to Columbus without permission from the team to watch his Michigan Wolverines lose to Ohio State, called out teammate Brian Russell for a perceived cheap shot on Chad Johnson of the Cincinnati Bengals, then fought with quarterback Charlie Frye on the sidelines during last week's game (because Braylon has so much passion for the game, we came to discover),
then found out it was actually his long-lost evil twin behind everything, the Browns wrote a new character into the script against the Chiefs.
Kelly Holcomb. Errrrrrrrrrrrr, Derek Anderson.
Until yesterday, Mr. Anderson didn't even have a bit part in the Browns' drama. He basically was living in the matrix, fantasizing about a world in which he entered a game with the Browns down by 14 in the fourth quarter, brought the team back with seconds remaining in regulation, then led the game-winning drive in overtime. He was as relevant as the water boys. Even Romeo Crennell thought this Derek Anderson should keep taking the blue pills: "If we're ahead by 30, then I would like to see some of (Anderson)," he said the other day. Who even knew Mr. Anderson was the backup quarterback? Before yesterday, ask a dozen Browns fans that question, and all would tell you that was Ken Dorsey's role.
After never throwing a pass in the NFL while standing on the sidelines for two-plus seasons, this Derek Anderson threw 21 of them against the Chiefs, almost all in the fourth quarter. Twelve of them were complete, two for touchdowns, one with 35 seconds to go. Then his 33-yard scramble in overtime set up Phil Dawson's game-winning field goal and the Browns' first overtime victory since 2002.
Now, it looks like this Derek Anderson's going to be leading the Browns into Pittsburgh week. Watch out, Steelers! You remember what Kelly Holcomb did to you in the playoffs a few years ago right? Something like 429 yards, the third-highest passing total in NFL playoff history. Heck, the NEW Kelly Holcomb might do that with his arm AND his feet.
As for THAT Derek Anderson, stay tuned for a week from Wednesday, when he returns to The Q with the Charlotte Bobcats.