Two weeks ago, I bought a Reuben Droughns jersey at TJ Maxx for $25. It's bright orange and even better, it's an extra large - I look like Oprah Winfrey in a pumpkin costume.
Anyway, I was so excited to wear this jersey today, because the Browns had their bye last Sunday. Being the superstitious sort, I secretly hoped it would be a good luck charm for Droughns and a spark to the struggling Brownies.
What did I get instead? Droughns had 12 carries for 33 yards, including a fumble, and the Browns laid an egg against the Denver Broncos, losing 17-7 at home and falling to 1-5 on the season.
While I didn't think Cleveland would win this game, I expected a much better effort out of the team. Though Denver has one of the top defenses in the league, allowing just over seven points per game, the Browns had two weeks to prepare for this game - you have to step up your game at some point. And the Browns just didn't do it today.
The offense looks like a quagmire, and I'm not really sure why. Is Charlie Frye the answer at quarterback? He's had his ups and downs. What's the deal with the offensive line? Would LeCharles Bentley make the difference at center? Is Braylon Edwards (two catches, six yards Sunday) the playmaker he's been advertised as? And offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon's playcalling always leaves something to be desired - sometimes I wish we had the "Ask Madden" or "Ask Corso" feature enabled.
I think my friend TJ summed it up best today while we watched the game at Damon's: "If the Browns played on offense the whole game, and the other team just had to play defense, who would win?" Everyone agreed it would be a close game, because the opposing defense would likely return a few interceptions or fumbles for touchdowns.
Still, there are some positives for the Browns. Save for the Bungles Disaster in week two, the defense has played pretty well - it gives up some yards and isn't always the best at preventing third down conversions, but it also keeps teams out of the end zone. And I'm a firm believer that Dave Zastudil is probably the team MVP right now.
Sadly, the road for the Browns doesn't get much easier - games against the Jets, Chargers and Falcons are looming the next few Sundays. I hoped this team would finish around .500 this year and ready to make the leap to playoff contention next season, but right there are just too many unknowns in personnel and coaching.
Some other thoughts:
College Football - OSU keeps rolling on its collision course against The School Up North. Overheard in the Capital University football press box yesterday: Neil (the PA announcer) - "Any more announcements to make?" Me - "It's 3:53...and Michigan still sucks."
I've been asked, quite frequently, if I'd rather see the No. 1 vs. No. 2 battle or see Michigan lose. Frankly, I don't really care - if Michigan loses against Ball State, I'll be pretty happy.
As for Capital's football team, the Crusaders (ranked No. 4 in the www.d3football.com poll)dispatched of Otterbein 26-0 yesterday, setting up a match up with No. 1 Mount Union next Saturday. Honestly, the Crusaders will have to play a lot better up in Alliance than they have played the last few weeks - Capital made six trips inside the Cardinals red zone in the first half Saturday but only scored 16 points before halftime.
I'm not saying that Capital has to play a perfect game against Mount Union in order to win, but they need to do a better job taking advantage of those opportunities. The offense, which has been stuck in neutral since the second quarter of the John Carroll game, will have to find the end zone more than twice to win. The defense, which has struggled a bit stopping the run, will also have to shut down Nate Kmic, who rushed for over 200 yards against Baldwin-Wallace Saturday.
If you're not making the drive up to Alliance, I'm going to be blogging live from the stadium at www.d3football.com. More details to come later.
World Series - It's the Cardinals and the Tigers. I can't wait for the game three pitching matchup between Bob Gibson and Mickey Lolich.
Honestly, how did the Tigers get this far? You could anticipate Pudge, Kenny Rogers, Magglio, etc. having good years. But Craig Monroe, Curtis Granderson, Nate Robertson? Monroe just hit his fifth homer of the postseason, breaking the Tigers record. Not Al Kaline, not Hank Greenberg - freaking Craig Monroe.
The Indians will have some work to do to stay alive in the AL Central, which might produce two straight World Series champions.