Monday, September 17, 2007

Browns Week 2: Zastudil Gets Another Day Off

Well, not entirely, but one measure of the extraordinary success of the Browns’ offense was the relative inactivity of punter Dave Zastudil. Only two punts all game, and they only turned the ball over once. After taking last week off to recover from an injury, he was probably glad for the extra time to heel. Oh, and because it meant the Browns were steamrollering the Bengals. That’s a nice side benefit.

The Browns probably saved Romeo Crennel’s season with this one game. They didn’t just eke out a win, they looked effective on defense and overpowering on offense. This was by far the best offensive performance of the Crennel era.

On the other hand, the game did no favors for Charlie Frye’s career. Jamal Lewis, Braylon Edwards and Kellum Winslow all showed themselves to be effective offensive weapons, leading us to wonder what the hell happened last week.

The answer to that probably is about line play. The big difference in today’s game was Cincinnati’s inability to pressure the quarterback. Last week Charlie couldn’t work under pressure, leading to his early hook. This week Cincinnati gave Derek Anderson the time he needed to stand in the pocket (and oh he does stand, doesn’t he?) and get the ball to an open receiver.

The lead story is Lewis’s best game in four years, which is a pity in a way since it overshadows excellent performances by Edwards and Winslow. It was possibly the best game the two ever played in tandem.

Mostly Crennel called a good game, but I wonder about that last drive. With as well as Anderson passed all day, Romeo should have let him put the ball in the air one time to try and extend the drive. But once again the D came up with a stop, Bodden intercepted. Ballgame.

The defense looked better as the game wore on. They started putting at least enough pressure on Palmer to make him throw quickly. More than once he heard footsteps and threw just a little off. The receivers helped by dropping what ever didn’t get there gift wrapped. Also, the defense stopped committing dumb penalties which really hurt them the first half.

While it was maddening how Cincinnati seemed able to pass at will earlier in the game, one thing the Browns D did well was limit runs after the catch. By and large they didn’t let receivers get away and break off huge plays. As a result, the Bengals only averaged 7.7 yards per pass play, against the Browns’ 9.9.

This was a vital win. Not saying they will make the playoffs this year, but a win like this puts wind in the sails that can last for weeks. They have a tough schedule from now until the bye, but they have a rhythm now. They don’t have to just hang on until bye week then try and find themselves.

And for us fans, it is a welcome reminder of how absolutely and completely winning does not suck.


Dave P. said...

What a disastrous showing by the Bengals' D. It's one reason I have detached myself emotionally from the team. And I'm sick of hearing Marvin's "we'll fix it" crap.

Congrats to the Browns, that was an impressive performance.

redhorse said...

winning so doesn't suck; so now if they could only beat the 'Burgh every blue moon or two, things would, in general, kinda not suck.

k-pho said...

Wow, I've never heard of a D that gave up 45 points described as effective. Not as ridiculous as the Bengals maybe, and better in the second half, but not effective.

Except for the last stop.