The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

Cleveland Browns: QB Score: Week 8

Posted by disappointmentzone on 28 October 2007

In the last four weeks Derek Anderson has played at a Pro Bowl level three times. His one sub-par game came against New England, and though no one would confuse the Rams with the Patriots Derek Anderson suddenly finds himself in the long-forgotten position of being a Browns quarterback who inspires confidence and hope. (1)

After the first seven games a few things are clear. First, drafting Joe Thomas was the right decision. Second, Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards have redeemed themselves from their idiocy in years past by playing like men possessed in the only year that matters. Third, Rod Chudzinski is quickly establishing himself as one of the best young assistant coaches in the NFL. Fourth, Derek Anderson is a good quarterback. When you add those things together you get an offense that scores 27 points on the road and actually lowers its scoring average.

What you also get is a Browns team that’s fringe playoff contender. Last week the Browns had a 19% chance of making the playoffs. When this week’s playoff odds report is published the Browns’ chances of playing in January could be even greater, and the next three weeks will go a long way to determine whether playoff tailgating on the shores of the Erie Lake is in order.

If Cleveland beats Seattle next week and Baltimore beats Pittsburgh then the following week the Browns will play Pittsburgh for the division lead. If the Browns beat Pittsburgh they will — at worst — be tied for the division lead with Baltimore, where the Browns travel the following week in what could be the game that determines the division champion. If Cleveland wins the next three games they would be — at worst — tied for the division lead and the prohibitive favorite for the Wild Card. Oh yes, the playoffs are within reach. But it gets even better.

Once you get beyond that three game stretch the Browns play, in order:

Houston (should be favorites)
at Arizona (should be a toss up, maybe slight underdog)
at New York Jets (should be favorites)
Buffalo (should be favorites)
at Cincinnati (should be a toss up, maybe slight underdog)
San Francisco (should be favorites)

All three home games are against teams that are undeniably worse than the Browns. The three road games are trickier to call, but the Jets are one of the worst teams in the NFL and both Arizona and San Francisco have issues at quarterback. Going 3-3 down the stretch is reasonable, going 4-2 is attainable, going 5-1 is possible, and going 6-0 is not completely ridiculous.

Seriously, when was the last time the Browns faced a six game stretch where winning all six games was not a ludicrous possibility?

This is a new era in Cleveland Browns history, one where they have a talented roster filled with young guys who overachieve. The team will only go as far as Derek Anderson will carry them (the defense sure as hell isn’t going to bear the load) but right now that’s a pretty rosy place to be. (2)

QB Score: 151
QB Score per play: 5.81

fn 1: To put the Patriots game in context: In eight games the Patriots have allowed an opposing quarterback to have an above average QB Score only twice. In those games the opposing quarterbacks were Tony Romo and Carson Palmer, both of whom are Pro Bowl quarterbacks, and neither of whom had a performance greater than their average performance this season. In other words, both sucked it up a little bit against the Patriots. The Patriots are quite good and Anderson played better than pretty much every non-Pro Bowl quarterback. So take that sub-par game with a grain of salt.

fn 2: Anyone else struck by the similarities between Anderson and Todd Boeckman? Both are unheralded, mostly unexperienced, mostly immobile quarterbacks with strong arms and pretty good touch and an undeniable goofy whiteness emanating from everything they do. They both are leading their teams on surprising runs during seasons in which the playoffs or a BCS Championship were pie in the sky fantasies floated during the preseason only by the most optimistic of fans, of which there aren’t many to begin with, this being Ohio and all.


5 Responses to “Cleveland Browns: QB Score: Week 8”

  1. I hope the Browns understand that in today’s NFL you must strike while the iron is hot…as Ciny…ask the Bears…ask the Saints…

    My point…and yes I’m serious…next year they need to try and win it all…trade Quinn to the higest bidder for something that will bolster our run defense…and go for broke.

    We have a top 5 offense right now…if we can stop the run and play solid defense in general we’d have a real shot…

  2. Erik said

    Good luck trying to leapfrog the Patriots and Colts by next year. There is no such thing as “the iron is hot” as long as those two teams maintain their death grip on the AFC.

    This just in: Pukesburgh is pretty good, too.

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