Browns get 'Skinned in a nail-biter

Cary Ashby • Mar 29, 2010 at 8:04 AM

"I hate the Redskins," co-worker Ron Simpson half-jokingly told me Thursday.

"Then you'll really hate them on Monday after they pound the Browns," I responded.

A pounding it wasn't certainly. After 2 1/2 quarters, nobody thought tonight's game would be much of anything. Yes, it's Cary the Antagonizer here to write another Browns blog. (Hey, no one else is working on this blog, why can't I?)

Despite my blatant Redskins loyalty, I'll do my best to give a fair breakdown of the game. I’ve gotta give Romeo Crennel credit – going for it on 4th down late in the game seemed unnecessarily risky.

It was an all-or-nothing call. If the Browns took the points, a field goal, they’d have to depend on their defense, which except for keeping the Redskins scoreless in the first half, hadn’t shown a lot.

On the other hand, if the Browns didn’t make it on 4th down, the game could have been over and the ‘Skins could just kill the clock. But going for it (and scoring a touchdown!) on 4th down was what made tonight’s game competitive (and completely nerve-wracking for yours truly) – and bringing it at least THIS close to taking the ‘Skins to an overtime game.

Unfortunately for the Dawg Pound, what followed when the Browns took over at the 2-minute warning was indicative of the rest of the game (with the exception of the two scoring drives). The Browns were plagued by D.A. not being able to get the ball to his receivers. Even when the Browns scored, the offense seemed to fall apart in the red zone.

Of course, the Redskins tried to give the Browns the game. What looked like a back-breaking long run by Clinton Portis ended up in giving the Browns some final life. It looked like it was going to be a heartbreaker.

Much like last week, it seemed like a turnover and a last-second field goal would spell doom for the ‘Skins. I’ve never rooted so hard for Phil Dawson to miss a field goal in my life. In fact, I was as nervous and high-strung in last night’s game from the time the score was 14-3 until the final seconds off as I am in any game against the Cowgirls. I’m glad there was no doctor keeping track of my heart rate at that point! (I was equally nervous every time the commentators mentioned Jason Campbell hadn’t thrown an interception yet this season.)

Theoretically, the game shouldn’t have been this close. (Keep in mind I predicted last week the ‘Skins were going to break the 30-point barrier finally.) T

he Browns’ offense just wasn’t doing anything productive for 2 ½ quarters. To quote the commentators, the ‘Skins defense was “swarming” the Browns.

Those same commentators talked about Cleveland’s offense needing to find a rhythm, but truthfully the ‘Skins couldn’t keep theirs. I have to wonder if the Redskins played down to the level of their opponents. I also wonder if they were having a lack of confidence after getting stunned by the Rams. (And are they for real or not?!? What a way to take advantage of the Cowgirls’ many injuries and put a massive butt-whoopin’ on “Big D” with a 24-14 victory!)

I was terribly surprised the ‘Skins didn’t come out with more fire in their bellies during a home game after a big loss.

I’ve got three game balls to hand out. Obviously, the offensive one has to be Clinton Portis (175 yards, 1 TD). And two for the defense: LB London Fletcher with 12 tackles and studman CB sub Carlos Rogers, who CRUSHED WR Joshua Cribbs with one of the hardest hitting open field tackle I haven’t seen since Ronnie Lott’s heyday.

Sure, the ‘Skins squeaked one out. Unfortunately, that puts the Browns to 2-4 with questions left wondering how to get their offense clicking. The positive part is they showed a lot of heart.

Another positive is the way they’ve challenged the super-powered NFC East (not counting the 28-10 Dallas debacle.) I wouldn’t be surprised if Brady Quinn gets a start soon; something has to give them a spark.

For the ‘Skins, it means we remain one game behind the Giants and now are two ahead of the slowly destructing Cowgirls going into an away game against the Lions. And once again, Jim Zorn’s teams showed a healthy “bend, but don’t break” mentality.

That’s not to say I’m not critical; I thought Campbell should have thrown during the series before the 2-minute warning. (If this were a Norv Turner team, it would have been a Browns victory.)

Tonight wasn’t the butt-whooping I was hoping for, but we ‘Skins fans can’t complain about getting another one in the ‘W’ column. Go ‘Skins!

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