The loss by the Browns in Detroit was between two pretty terrible teams,but it produced arguably the most fun game that the league has produced this season.
The heartbreaking 38-37 defeat was more entertaining than the Browns other nine games combined and that includes the only Cleveland win!
All that said,there is still more negative things to be said after this one than positive ones,but in the interest of positive thinking,lets start there first.....
1) Granted it was the Lions,but I thought Brady Quinn looked pretty decent.
Quinn was actually allowed to throw deep and his four touchdown passes could have easily been six if not for horrific drops by Mohammed Massaquoi and Chris Jennings.
Due to the competition,I am not getting too excited,but on the whole this was a excellent performance by Quinn.....
2) Again,considering the opponent,the Browns were able to protect Quinn well for the most part and allowed just one sack.
Detroit rushed Quinn better in the second half,but still one sack allowed is a pretty decent day...
3) Chansi Stuckey finally showed up as he caught a 40 yard touchdown pass and grabbed five of the six passes thrown his way.
Stuckey was reported to have good hands and was a decent possession receiver when he arrived,but the Lions game was the first time that I saw that player.
Here is hoping that this Stuckey sticks (Pun intended) around for a while....
4) Mohammed Massaquoi had his ups and downs with five catches,115 yards and a 59 yard touchdown catch.
Those numbers are more than solid,but they could have been more along the lines of 8 for 200 yds and two scores had the rookie not dropped one long pass and turned the wrong way on what would have been a long gainer....
5) Backup tight end Michael Gaines hard nosed effort on the touchdown that gave the Browns the lead in the fourth quarter was welcomed by me.
Gaines caught just two passes in the game,but he seems to be a high effort player when you get to watch him and I would like to see Gaines play more with Steve Heiden out for the season....
6) Who did Jerome Harrison tick off to see no action in favor of Chris Jennings?
Playing Jennings so often at the expense of Harrison makes little sense to me and I am starting to think there is more to the story of Jerome Harrison than is being told as now two head coaches refuse to play the guy despite his production whenever he hits the field....
7) You want to know what the biggest culprit was in this loss?
Its a tie between the slow sludge running safety pair of Abram Elam and Brodney Pool(Give Pool credit for a interception though) that allowed Calvin Johnson to just have a free reign of terror all day.
I like Eric Wright more than some as a corner,but Wright (or God forbid Brandon McDonald) on his best day is going to have huge issues covering Calvin Johnson and the safeties HAVE to give him some help especially considering the other side of the field features retreads Bryant Johnson or former Brown Dennis Northcutt....
8) The other member of the tie tandem?
Good ol' Brian Daboll,who showed more moxie in the first half with his calls than he has all season and then stepped off the Lions throat with a 24-3 lead and then cleaned them up,tossed them a Pepsi and sent them on their way.
Daboll's conservative calls allowed Detroit to rally in the first half and the Lions made an adjustment in their pass coverage in the second half that eliminated the Browns open receivers deep for most of the second half..
9) I know the linebackers are beat up,but with no one able to cover anyone,things were worse than the score indicates.
Put the wide open Brandon Pettigrew game winner aside,Kevin Smith over 100 yards out of the backfield on four catches???
Jason Trusnik is a great special teamer,but putting him on the field on defense is bad enough,let alone expecting him to cover Smith out of the backfield........
10) For those of you that think Eric Mangini deserves the chance to pick his own guys in next years draft,make a note of this-Brian Robiskie,David Veikune and Coye Francies were all inactive for this game,the most winnable one on paper all season or least since the Buffalo game.
Now either of these two statements HAVE to be correct and both are an indictment of Eric Mangini.
Either all three of these players are so terrible that they cannot get on the field on a team this bad or they are in the proverbial doghouse and Mangini finds it more important to play veterans that are less talented and therefore not part of the future.
That means either Mangini struggles in evaluating talent and picked poor players OR he is such an out of control power freak that he isn't playing the best players.
In either case,Mangini is without a leg to stand on...
11) More Mangini-These roundabout accusations about the Lions faking injuries to slow the Browns no huddle smack of sour grapes to me and what makes it worse occurs on two levels.
One is that can he really think that even the lowly Lions need to fake injuries against this offense?
That makes no sense to begin with,but the other thing is accusing his supposed 'friend' Jim Schwartz of doing so.
Is there anyone that Mangini would not throw under the bus to deflect heat from himself?
12) Question of the day.
I would wager that you will never see Eric Mangini as an NFL head coach again,but has he damaged his reputation so much as he might not ever be hired as an assistant again?
He may have done that much damage to himself...
13) Onto the final play and I cannot believe that the Browns think that their was any controversy at all.
Mangini tried to claim Matthew Stafford was out of the pocket,so Hank Poteat could shove his man out of bounds and that is true.
BUT once the ball is in the air,he cannot do that and Poteat tackled his man as well as having his back turned to the ball.
When a coverage player turns his back to the ball,the referee calls that pass interference everytime,a supposed wily (and I use that loosely) veteran like Poteat should know that!
14) As the play continues and C.J. Mosley smashes Matthew Stafford on the play (violating the Mosley rule that for him to make a play someone must trip over him) and seemingly knocks Stafford from the game.
That sets the stage for creaky assed Daunte Culpepper to come in cold and win the game on one play,but Mangini starts calling timeouts and that allows Stafford to legally return to the game,sore wing and all.
The reasoning was that Mangini wanted to make sure the Browns were in the right defense,but isn't that Rob Ryan's job?
And further,shouldn't the Browns had plenty of time to plan this out as the Lions medical staff squeegeed Stafford off the turf?
Don't forget to blame Marcus Benard (whoever he is and what was he even doing in the game?) for missing Stafford twice when he arguably never gotten the pass off for interference to be called...
15) See number nine as the main culprit on the scoring play as Jason Trusnik simply cannot stay in tandem with Brandon Pettigrew,even with Stafford's damaged shoulder,he still had time to drill the ball through a gaping hole for the game winner.
Would David Veikune been able to bat the ball down?
I kinda doubt it,but I sure like to think he would have had a better chance than the slow footed Trusnik.
16) Still scratching my head over the fake field goal call with seconds in the half.
Phil Dawson completed the pass and then kicked the field goal on the next play.
What was the intent on that,considering the time left in the half?
It didnt cost the Browns any points,but it could have had Dawson's toss fell incomplete.
There just was no reason for such a risk with such small upside.
17) Finally, despite the game being tremendously entertaining and fun for a change,I feel worse about the direction of the franchise.
This was not only a winnable game against an awful team,coaching and poor talent evaluating are the glaring reasons for this loss.
Cribbs and Pettigrew:Paul Sancya-AP Photo
Johnson:Duane Burleson-AP Photo