The Cleveland Browns shocked the world yesterday, upsetting the New England Patriots in a 34-14 classic. The Browns flat outplayed the Patriots all afternoon, and it was right up there as one of the most entertaining games I've witnessed in my four years as a Browns fan. A day I'll never forget and thanks to my good friend Will, I got to watch it all, live and in glorious high-definition.
After the Brown's win two weeks ago in New Orleans there has been a rise in optimism amongst Browns fans, that things might finally be going in the right direction. After beating the Patriots in such a convincing fashion yesterday, the idea that Mangini's Cleveland squad have finally turned a corner is becoming a reality. The Browns were dominant from start to finish, something I never believed I would type. I was cautiously optimistic before the game, not sure if we could repeat the upset we saw in New Orleans, but I never expected the performance my beautiful Browns provided.
I won't bore you with a play-by-play recap of the game, you can read that on any other site or blog. Instead, I'll share my opinion on the stars of the game; The good feelings are overwhelming, so much so I can't find a way to criticise any member of the Browns squad of players, coaches, or the organisation in general. Here we go then:
Colt McCoy. Oh Colt, how I and the majority of fellow Browns fans are taking you to our hearts dearly. Mr McCoy had some game yesterday. He never put a foot (or pass) wrong, and was so composed throughout the entire battle. His pocket presence was fantastic, always aware of the oncoming Patriot blitzes, and Colt constantly scrambled to safety on multiple occasions. It's so nice to have such a mobile quarterback on our team; I mean he's no Michael Vick, but Colt can tuck the ball and run when he needs to, as he demonstrated perfectly late on in yesterday's contest. Late in the third quarter McCoy took off on a scintillating 16 yard run through the New England defense, before diving into the end-zone for the touchdown, which effectively iced the game putting the Browns up 24-7. McCoy was as good with his arm as he was with his feet. Colt was tremendously accurate with his passing throughout the game, completing nearly 75% of his pass attempts, as well as being clutch on 3rd down situations. Credit must go to our receivers who caught everything thrown their way, as well as our brilliant 0-line for giving Colt the necessary time to perform - everybody seemed to have a great game on the offense. Colt is making it extremely hard for Mangini to even consider dropping him in favour of Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace, and this can only be a good thing for the team and fans. Fred Greetham at OBR believes our rookie QB should be handed the starting job for the rest of 2010 and I can see no reason to argue with that. Keep it up Colt!
Peyton Hillis. If you didn't know about Mr Hillis already (shame on you if you didn't!) you certainly do now, after another terrific performance from the bruising running back. He had probably the best game of his early Browns career, as he exploded for 184 yards rushing and 36 yards receiving with 2 touchdowns. The athletic big man was a human battering ram against the Patriot's defense as he never seemed to stop going forward. Even when he made contact with New England linebackers, he took the hit and kept his legs going to gain more yardage. Hillis has certainly been the revelation of the 2010 Cleveland Browns, and the best thing about him is he keeps getting better and stronger every week. The Broncos must be hitting themselves for letting him go...
The Browns Defense. I don't know if I've ever witnessed such a strong performance from this Browns defensive unit. Tom Brady was visibly frustrated yesterday after he and his offense continued to beat their heads against Cleveland's brick wall of a defense. It's not often Brady is kept in check with such ease, as the Patriots failed to maintain any sort of momentum on their way to scoring only 14 points (when it was predicted they'd score so much more). The Browns players routinely forced Brady and co. to make critical mistakes, which were crucial to Cleveland's victory (the forced fumble and recovery by Elam just before half time was particularly important). A brilliant game from Rob Ryan and his men, as they look to gain strength from this game and continue to improve as the season goes on.
It doesn't get any easier for the Browns, as they face the New York Jets next weekend in a hotly anticipated contest. After victories against the Saints and Patriots, the Browns should go into next week's matchup fearing no-one. Bring on the Jets!
Thanks for reading.