|Brownie the Elf is stunned with a victory|
Jamie Meder blocked a Josh Lambo field goal attempt with 3;49 to play that would have tied the game and the Chargers had to try another attempt with the clock winding down and without any timeouts,Lambo's kick was rushed and drifted wide right from 45 yards to ensure the Cleveland win.
Isaiah Crowell rushed for two touchdowns with Cody Parkey adding two field goals for the Browns points on the day.
The now 1-14 Browns finish the season in Pittsburgh next week against the Steelers...
1) The most encouraging thing that I feel about today?
I kept seeing tweets across my timeline applauding the effort and comparing the Browns effort to the rollover that the Jets under Todd Bowles did at the same time against the Patriots in a positive manner.
There is still much to do,but it's stuff like that that makes me hope that things are on the right track...
2) Robert Griffin looked both good and bad before being driven from the game with a concussion in the fourth quarter.
Griffin looked very good when he had the ball in his hands,avoiding sacks (more on that later) and running with the football (42 yards on 6 carries),but his passing was inaccurate ( two touchdown to open receivers that he just plain overthrew) and I just don't see any hope of Griffin maturing as a passer.
I'm not saying Griffin won't get another chance next season,but his performance doesn't warrant entering next season as the starter or even a challenger for the job..
3) One reason that Griffin may have thrown so poorly (and ran by need) as another weaker day for the offensive line,
The Chargers dumped Griffin seven times and his replacement Cody Kessler two more times and harassed both all day long.
The line really struggled against the Charger rush,
4) Which brings us to a gentleman named Joey Bosa,who the Browns could have had and the Chargers were smart enough to grab.
The Browns traded down and wound up with Corey Coleman,Shon Coleman (who never plays),Ricardo Louis (who did make a nice special teams tackle,but has dropped several passes this year and Spencer Drango,who has played decently on the offensive line) for now and whatever players the Browns grab with the Eagles first rounder next year and second rounder in 2018,so this deal and its results are far from itched in stone,but I can say one thing-Joey Bosa is the type of pass rusher that the Browns have not had in years (2 sacks,3 tackles for loss and 3 hits) and his hit on Robert Griffin that was called roughing the passer (although I didn't agree) was punishing to be conservative and debilitating to be honest.
Joey Bosa just might be the next advancement in pass rushing excellence in this league.
5) The offensive line was better in running the football as the Browns finished with 124 yards rushing compared to just 34 for the Chargers.
Some of that total was on unplanned scrambles by Robert Griffin,but in run blocking ,I thought the line played pretty well..
6) Former Ashland Eagle Jamie Meder came through with the play of the game with his block of Josh Lambo's kick.
Meder reminded me of former Brown Shaun Rogers,who was a similar wide body that seemed to always be a kick blocking threat by swallowing two blockers up the middle and sticking up a massive paw.
7) Don't underestimate the inbounds tackle by Jamar Taylor on Antonio Gates on the final offensive play of the game.
Without Taylor wrapping up and keeping Gates inbounds,the Chargers would have been able to take their time for Josh Lambo (an excellent kicker by the way) and allow things to set up.
Instead,they were forced to rush on the field and make the 45 yard attempt on the fly.
I would offer no blame for any kicker missing under those circumstances...
8) Jamar Taylor made another great play late in the game before the Meder field goal.
Phillip Rivers fired the ball on target to Tyrell Williams in the end zone,who appeared to have his hands on the ball,ready to secure it and with it-a San Diego lead.
Taylor wasn't having that as he stuck his hands in there and knocked the ball out to force an incomplete pass and after a 3rd down incompletion forced the field goal try that Meder would reject..
9) One player that I have noticed over the last few weeks has been Ed Reynolds at safety.
Reynolds has went from released by the Eagles to the Browns practice squad to the regular team to playing a lot all during this season.
Reynolds might have his issues in coverage,but his high energy play makes me think of the type of player that might be pretty productive when he is surrounded by better athletes in the secondary...
10) I'm well noted for not caring as much about these meaningless late season games because I feel once you get to a certain point,the Browns are better off getting a higher pick.
I'm not saying the team tanks a game or should tank a game,I'm saying it would be better for the future to lose these games,not the present.
I didn't feel that way on this day.
I rooted,cheered and hollered during this one because I didn't want my team to be labeled with the 0-16 tag.
There has been plenty of teams that won just one game in a season and those teams are quickly forgotten-the teams that go winless are quickly recalled.
I didn't want to see the Browns on that list...
11) That said,my idea of a great Christmas eve was a Browns win and then a San Francisco win in Los Angeles,so the Browns not only win,they retain the top pick in the draft (San Francisco is likely to "win" a tiebreaker,which is opponent's strength of schedule.
After a great dinner with Cherie,Rachel and my "Sister" Denise Nicarry at Hong Kong restaurant,I came home to a Rams lead of 14-7 and I went to bed disappointed as I needed a nap before a 12 hour shift at work.
I "heard" the Rams increase the lead to 21-7 in fourth quarter play as I drifted off and awoke for work to see the Niners scored two touchdowns and a game winning two point conversion to win the game and keep the Browns at first overall.
Only an unlikely win in Pittsburgh could keep the Browns away from that top pick now.!
Pretty good day!!!