Cleveland Browns: Looking Back On What Could Have Been
After yesterday’s rain and mud filled victory over the San Diego Chargers, the Cleveland Browns moved out of the NFL‘s basement cellar as the worst team in the league. Cleveland improved to 2-6 on the season. With the 2012 campaign half over, wouldn’t it be interesting to take a look back at what could have been? Isn’t it amazing how one play can make or break a season?
In week one against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Browns owned them for all four quarters. Defensive coordinator Dick Jauron threw different looks that confused quarterback Michael Vick. The brown and orange forced five turnovers! On the final Eagles’ drive, rookie linebacker LJ Fort had an interception near the corner of the end zone slip through his hands that would have sealed the game for Cleveland. After taking a knee in the victory formation, the Browns would have been 1-0.
Against the Cincinnati Bengals in week two, the then Joe Haden-less Browns were completely lost in the secondary. However, the contest was a very winnable game. From week two through week five, Cleveland was without their star corner back. The Browns lost all four games during Haden’s absence. Now, lets just imagine that Cleveland won just two of those games. Maybe the Bengals game and the Baltimore Ravens game if Haden was playing. The Buffalo Bills and New York Giants were pure losses. So now after five weeks, the Browns are 3-2 respectively.
This brings us to week six. The young Browns simply outplayed the Bengals at Cleveland Browns Stadium. For the first time in forever, the good guys found a way to close out a football game by scoring 21 points in the final fifteen minutes. The Cleveland defense forced four turnovers and ran away with the game in the fourth quarter in front of the home crowd for a 34-24 victory. The Dawgs are now 4-2.
Traveling to Lucas Oil Stadium to face the first overall pick in this year’s draft Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts, Brandon Weeden and the good guys played well enough to win. The one play that will forever stick out is the potential game winning touchdown pass to rookie receiver Josh Gordon that he couldn’t quite haul in. A touchdown at that point of the game would have put Cleveland up 20-17 and thrown the momentum back to the Browns. Luck was not doing anything special through the air and the defense would have held them. To use Jimmy Haslam’s favorite word, the Browns very candidly should have won this game. Guess what? Cleveland is now 5-2.
This brings us to yesterday’s wet and rainy bowl. The Browns played tough and left everything out on the field. It was clear, Cleveland wanted it more than San Diego. The “W” was by no means pretty, but in the NFL, a win is a win. The what could have been Browns are a surprising 6-2 and the “p” word is now being echoed across the city.
Unfortunately, all of this never happened. The Browns are too young and in experienced to have pulled out six wins out of all those games. One thing is for certain though, the Cleveland Browns are a better team than they were a year ago. Bring on the Ravens.
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
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