OK – I'm sure you seen all the quips and jokes on other recaps of the Browns loss to the Vikes yesterday about how not naming our QB until the final weekend sure messed with the Vikings preparation. So – I will spare you one more.
First off – let's start with something positive. The Browns played a competative First half of football, which saw them head into the locker-room at halftime with a 13-10 lead. With less than two minutes left in the first half, Joshua Cribbs showed why he deserves his raise, by returning a punt 67 yards for a score and the lead.
Browns fans headed to their bathrooms and refrigerators with thoughts of possibly celebrating the first Opening Day victory since 2002, when the Browns beat the Ravens 20-3. Alas, that distant memory still remains the lone 1-0 start for the Browns since their return to the league in 1999 as the Browns were forced, by rule, to actually come out and play the second half.
Adrian Peterson ran all over the Browns in the second session on his way to a 180 yard 3 TD day. Brett Farve merely had to manage the game and keep handing the ball off to Peterson, but he did chip in a 6 yard TD toss to Rookie WR Percy Harvin.
Brady Quinn was shaky in his debut as the newly named Browns QB. The stats will show a 205 yd, 1 TD, 1 INT performance – but almost half the yardage and the score came in garbage time. While Quinn showed his ability to check down and take the short throws, he had no chemistry with top WR Braylon Edwards. TE Robert Royal and WR Mike Furrey were his top targets on the day as he rarely ventured down the field or up the middle.
Jamal Lewis showed some good burst and an ability to still move the pile as he averaged around 5 yards per carry. Sadly, he only got the rock 11 times as the Browns were forced to abandon their running game once things got out of hand.
The defense played a solid first half, keeping the team in the game. But a lack of depth caught up to them as AP and the Vikes simply wore the unit down. New S Abram Elam had a standout game in his Browns debut, leading the team in tackles with 8. The team also recorded 4 sacks in the game, which was a nice beginning for a team that made establishing a pass rush a key goal heading into this season.
The Browns still played sloppy at times, turning the ball over at key points. They showed some creativity in the playbook, but look foolish running identical Wildcat goal-line plays back-to-back that both failed to deliver the TD. They also showed that they still haven't gotten rid of their ole nemesis, Mr. False Start.
Overall it was an ugly day, but not one without positives to hopefully build on.
On to Denver!!!
- LT Joe Thomas had a monster game on All Pro Jared Allen, holding him to one tackle on the day and forcing the Vikings to shift him away from Thomas later in the game.
- Eric Mangini successfully got Kamerion Wimbley involved, moving him around the defense, something former coach Romeo Crennel refused to try. He recorded a sack, 3 tackles, as well as a few assorted QB hits and hurries – hopefully the start of a bounce back year.
- Aside from Cribbs's return, the special teams had a day to forget. They gave up too many long returns all day, shrinking the field for the Vikes. While Cribbs did return kicks, he was not on the coverage team yesterday – something he excels at. Mangini and the coaches may have to rethink that.
- The offensive rookies as a whole had a lackluster day. James Davis was ineffective in limited duty, Mohammed Massaquoi caught one pass and Brian Robiskie didn't get into the game on offense.
- The Browns showed that they are going to try and get Joshua Cribbs involved on offense, but their use of the Wildcat formation was wanting on Sunday.
- I don't think the game plan called for TE Robert Royal to be the focal point of the offense, but he was.
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Written by Ryan Carey