Certainly not me, much less most Browns fans. Most of us in the Reflector newsroom said it was a given that Monday's game would be a blowout.
But WOW, wasn't that a turnaround? 35-14 is an old fashioned butt-whooping. Aside from committing WAY too many penalties (six false starts?!?), the Browns played their best game of the season. Derek Anderson looked sharp and WR Braylon Edwards was equally impressive. Maybe "Jaws" was onto something when he said getting the D.A. to Edwards connection going ignited the offense, maybe even rest of the team.
I agree with Edwards and the MNF crew that having the Browns healthy helped.
On the other hand, is it just me or did the offense have much more of a spark also because of the consistent great play of TE Steve Heiden? He was overlooked and underplayed last season from what I remember.
Monday's game was appropriate, capping off a weekend of upsets, especially in the ultra-competitive NFC East. The Giants — like so many teams in ANY sport who have been dominate for several games in a row — might have come to the Browns game a bit too lax. The G-men probably didn't see the Brownies as a real threat, having only beaten the Bungles in an ugly game.
On the other hand, Cleveland saw this as a do-or-die game they had to win. As Edwards said, this is the beginning of a 14-week season.
Other NFL teams will start taking the Browns much more seriously after obliterating the undefeated reigning Super Bowl champs. Now, onto the Redskins. I know, I know, I'm an unabashed 'Skins fan, but this will be a tough game for the Browns. They're on a short week coming to Washington after an emotional victory. That's always tough to bounce back from.
Next week also isn't going to be easy for the 'Skins. They're in the middle of a three-game series coming off a devastating last-minute loss to the lowly Rams, the Browns — now on a high after a two-game winning streak and the pathetic Lions. I'm going to give the edge to the 'Skins; there's no way coach Jim Zorn is going to let his team fall flat at home to another underdog.
The keys to a 'Skins victory will be time of possession, grinding out the running game with Clinton Portis and putting a lot of pressure on Anderson, who no doubt will get a lot of looks from the defense. Zorn also will be emphasizing scoring often and holding onto the ball, the key to the self-destructive loss to the Rams.
Monday was a great game. For the Browns and their fans, it's a no-brainer: upsetting an undefeated team in a nationally televised game is always sweet.
For the 'Skins, it makes their record even with the Cowboys and one game behind the Giants. Way to go, Browns!