Too many times, do we see non-playoff teams playing with no heart or energy at the end of the season. This was not the case for the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Despite losing on the road to the Pittsburgh Steelers, these players have nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, I’m proud of the Browns’ final effort.
One thing that was completely clear during the contest was these two teams definitely do not like each other. Multiple times, we saw scuffles after plays were over. Call me old fashioned, but I like it. Seeing this type of chippy-ness makes me believe that some of these players hate the Steelers as much as the Browns fans do. It was refreshing to see Phil Taylor mixing it up with Steelers’ players after plays. Taylor was so fired up that his fiery battle with Pittsburgh still wasn’t over hours after the game, when he was getting taunted by black and yellow fans on Twitter. Taylor held his own and got plenty of support from the Dawg Pound.
Credit must given to practice squad quarterback Thaddeus Lewis. The former Duke Blue Devils signal caller played inspiring football. Throughout the entire game, Lewis looked poised and comfortable in the pocket. After throwing an interception early in the game, Lewis stayed composed and put up respectable numbers, going 22/32 for 204 yards and a touchdown. What’s even more impressive is that most of his throws were bulls-eyes.
With each of his three opportunities, it was plain as day that Josh Cribbs was trying to go out with a bang. On all of his returns, Cribbs fought for every inch he could get that Al Pacino spoke of in “Any Given Sunday”. Cribbs is a class act and will be missed by plenty of people around Cleveland.
While most of the Browns’ players were playing their hearts out, the fun filled coach Pat Shurmur stayed with his conservative ways. The two occasions that stick out were; not trying a two minute drill at the end of the first half with all three timeouts still available and not going for it on 4th and 5 at midfield down by just a touchdown. I guess I only have one question for the end of first half scenario; Coach Shurmur are you aware that timeouts do not carry over like minutes do on a TMobile plan? As far as the fourth down; what do you have to lose? Stupid decision after stupid decision is the reason why Shurmur was carrying boxes out to his car late last night. That and your longest run play of the season comes on a fake punt run by none other than Ray Ventrone (who has had more special teams penalties than I can count).
Overall, before start of the season, I predicted six wins. Although I fell short, there were more than a few games the Browns should have won this year. But, unlike other fans, myself and other diehards will continue to root for the team that is so heavily imbedded in our blood.
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
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