Sunday, August 26, 2007

No Ifs, Ands, or "Butts," the Browns Were Better

Now that's a little more like it! The Cleveland Browns actually looked like a professional football team at times last night.

Offensively, the Browns got solid performances from all three QBs and the offensive line. The receivers also showed up, and while Jamal Lewis didn't run roughshod over the Broncos defense, he did pick up key yards and even scored a rushing touchdown. Even though Lewis didn't gain yards in big chunks, his performance near the goal line impressed me. He may have lost a step or two due to his injuries, but he's still a back who smells the end zone, and we haven't had somebody like that here in ages.

Speaking of Lewis, it has become fashionable among football pundits to say that he's going to have a huge year. These guys throw out outlandish yardage expectations for Lewis, at the same time as they pontificate about how terrible the Cleveland Browns are. Sports Illustrated's Peter King is the classic example of this schizophrenic behavior. King ranked the Browns 32nd in his NFL power ratings, but he then went on to predict that Lewis was a lock for 1,300 yards.

Those opinions are not just contradictory; they're downright incoherent. That kind of output would have put Lewis among the top 5 rushers in the AFC last season, and among the top ten in entire National Football League. Only one team with a rusher ranking among the NFL's top 10 had a losing record in 2006, and that team went 7-9 (the 49ers). So if he really believes that the Browns will run the ball that effectively, it's almost inconceivable that King could rank the Browns 32nd out of 32 NFL teams. But he did, because he's a jackass.

Fortunately, some people seem to have gotten away from the media herd when it comes to the Browns. As our friend Dwayne Rudd's Helmet found out, the statistical wonks over at Pro Football Outsiders are positively giddy about Cleveland's chances to beat its over/under number of 6 wins. Maybe "giddy" isn't the right word, but how else would you characterize a quote like this: "There’s a serious success story brewing here, and a real chance to make money." Check out the analysis for yourself. It's nice to see that not every pundit in America has his head up his butt when it comes to Browns.

Speaking of butts (yes, I'm going to talk about what you think I'm going to talk about), let's spend a little time on the defense's performance last night. Things were a bit shakier on the defensive side of the ball than they were on offense. The linebackers were impressive at times, but overall the defensive unit was mediocre. While they did a nice job shutting the Broncos down for most of the first half, the Broncos sliced and diced them on their way to a touchdown during their final drive of the second quarter.

The Browns' defense also provided us with what was far and away the most disturbing image of the night. Yup, you guessed it -- I'm talking about Shaun Smith's gigantic butt crack, which bears a striking resemblance to Peter King and spent most of the evening hanging out of Smith's undersized football pants. No offense Shaun, but that thing just ain't that pretty at all. In fact, I feel much more traumatized by that sight than I ever was by the sight of Janet Jackson's boobie at the Super Bowl.

I'll get over the trauma caused by repeated exposure to Smith's Grand Canyon, but it is going to take some time. (And I'm flat out begging the Browns equipment people to find Smith some football pants that fit. For God's sake, think of the children!) In the meantime, I'll console myself with the knowledge that in our roller coaster ride through the preseason, the Browns made sure that this is going to be an "up" week.


Erik said...

All along, I've been predicting that the Browns would go 2-14 but Jamal Lewis would rush for 2,120 yards, 50 touchdowns and win the MVP.

That kind of stuff usually happens in the NFL, right?**

(**biting sarcasm)

Anonymous said...

you suck asshole i dont see you playing how do you look