Did you ever stick you hand in an old coat's pocket and find a twenty dollar bill? That is the feeling I had after the Browns game today. We won, but it didn't feel like we earned it. A win is a win in the NFL, but in a season that has been marked by growth, today leaves me with a feeling that this game shouldn't have come down to a missed kick by John Kasay.
On to the five...
1. I haven't watched every single NFL team this season, but if there is a worse team from top to bottom than Carolina, I weep for their fans. The Panthers gave the Browns at least three dumb-penalty first downs in the first half, including two personal fouls on the Browns opening drive alone.
When I see how bad that Panthers team is, it reminds me of how bad the Browns were last season, and how far they have come. That is something that I can feel good about leaving this game.
2. I am not a fan of Jake Delhomme. He fumbled on the last play of the first half, and his first two passes in the second half were both interceptions, one going the other way for a score. Three turnovers and no scores is a horrible line for a quarterback. But, Jake does a better job than the other two quarterbacks at getting the ball out to the wide receivers. Hopefully this is something that he can help Colt McCoy learn, because I can't handle another Jake Delhomme start. He is no longer a starting caliber quarterback in the NFL.
3. Touching on the last point, the only people who think that Jake Delhomme passing heavy attack is a good idea are Jake himself, and the Browns coaching staff. Can someone please explain to me why having Jake throw the ball 35 times, in a game where we lead almost the entire game, is a good idea?
Maybe you can point to the thinking is not wanting to overuse Hillis and lack of a decent back-up to Hillis . To that, I say the Browns need to find a decent backup. If that is Mike Bell, great. If not, they need to find one walking the street. They are out there, we need one.
4. He couldn't finish because of injury, so I don't want to be too harsh, but what has happened to Joshua Cribbs? I have noticed that many opposing teams have kicked away from him, and have sacrificed some length for height on punts, but I don't think it was anything he hasn't seen before. Maybe it is the lack of wedges on kick returns, but Cribbs doesn't seem to have his explosiveness of past seasons. I am hoping that all Cribbs needs is some blocking and he will get his mojo back, we need him.
5. Joe Haden tried to make the right play. After getting the interception, he went down, but the Panthers had kept all their timeouts and could get the ball back with a quick three and out. I commend Haden on trying to do the right thing. After all, if he would have been stripped making a return, we all would have killed him for it. Next time, I hope he takes it to the house.
By the way, anyone else notice that Joe Haden now leads this team in interceptions? He will be an All-Pro in less than three seasons if he continues this. His continued improvement is one of the brightest spots of this season.