The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

Archive for November 26th, 2007

Cleveland Browns: QB Score: Week 12

Posted by disappointmentzone on 26 November 2007

The Browns’ 27-17 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday was the team’s most complete and dominating game of the season. The offense was methodical and the defense actually showed up. To that end, it’s worth saying…

Someone buy Brandon McDonald a beer!

With starting cornerback Eric Wright out with a knee injury, rookie Brandon McDonald came up with the game of his life, which might not be saying much since he’s about twelve years old (actual age: 22). All game long McDonald lined up across from Andre Johnson, one of the best receivers in the NFL, and he held him to three receptions for 37 yards. McDonald had three pass defenses, a game-clinching interception, and three tackles, or one more tackle than three of the four starting linebackers, who are remain missing, presumably still somewhere in Pittsburgh, having missed the bus to the Steelers game three weeks ago.

The defense held the Texans to 17 points, which is phenomenally good considering that the Texans a) were given a short field after a Derek Anderson interception and b) scored a meaningless touchdown with about three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The Texans were held to a scant 77 yards rushing and only had 237 yards passing, which includes about 70 yards on the Texans’ final drive of the game, when the Browns were playing prevent defense and were more interested in the game ending than shutting down Matt Schaub. Until that point the Texans had gained only 15 yards of net offense in the second half. And how’s this: from 7:00 to go in the second quarter until 2:34 to go in the fourth quarter the Texans didn’t score. The Texans can consider themselves thoroughly dominated.

The Browns’ offense was equally as impressive. They had three drives of 60+ yards, two ending with touchdowns, the other ending with a field goal. Jamal Lewis shook off a slow start to finish with 134 yards rushing on 29 carries, his first 100 yard game since the third week of the season. And once again the Browns scored 27 points only to see their scoring average go down. That’s actually kinda cool, right?

As for Derek Anderson, he played fairly well. He was markedly better than he had been in the previous two games, but he didn’t play at that All Pro level many have come to expect from him against much weaker defenses. This should make that idiot Bill Livingston happy.

Early in the game the ball was sailing on Anderson, which led to a number of incomplete passes. He suffered from a few bad drops and then on the one pass when he needed to overthrow his receiver he threw it off his back foot only to see it come up short and in the arms of Texans CB Fred Bennett. After that INT, though, Anderson calmed down and went on to blitz the Texans with a string of short and intermediate passes that essentially crippled their morale. Many people will point to Jamal Lewis as the delivering the decisive blow, but it really was the passing attack that did in the Texans. They came into the game wanting to take the deep ball away from the Browns — and they did. Unfortunately for the Texans they had nothing to stop the shorter routes. When your defensive strategy goes according to plan and you still give up 27 points you know you’ve been whooped by a good offense.

Dominating on defense + dominating on offense = quality victory.

So now the Browns find themselves in the novel position of controlling their own playoff destiny. If they win out they’ll earn a Wild Card berth and go to the playoffs for the first time in five years. The limping Arizona Cardinals, losers of a disgraceful game against the 49ers, are up next for the Browns. If the Browns play next week how they played this week they’ll win easily. Of course, if the Browns play how they did this week they can beat pretty much anybody.

One final note: The Browns have now scored more points (315) than they’ve allowed (311). This is the first time all season this is the case, which is kinda amazing when you consider that the Browns very easily could be 9-2.

QB Score: 111
QB Score per play: 3.17

(Historical average: 1.85)

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