Tales from a Dorkbook: Fourth Quarter

The Browns hobble their way to defeat. But things are looking up, right?


* We start with the Falcons up three, the Browns hurt, and the Falcons with the ball. On their first series of downs, the Falcons try to run without much success, and then Eric Wright makes a nice play on Tony Gonzalez to force a third-down situation. But on third down, the Falcons have Roddy White go underneath again, and it works again for twelve yards. Something tells me when I re-watch this game, I'm going to see the Browns giving White a lot of room downfield.

* The Falcons don't do much with their next set of downs, thanks to Eric Barton, of all people. Barton sees that the Falcons are trying to run behind TE Palmer, and times his attack perfectly, pulling Snelling down for a little loss. On fourth down, the Falcwads try to get the Browns to jump and it doesn't work at all. The whole sequence works out great for the Browns who get the ball on their twenty after Falcons punter Mike Koenen kicks the ball into the end zone. It is now up to the Browns offense to figure out some way to take advantage of the Falcons' charity.

* By the way, I'm actually starting to look forward to the upcoming prequel to The Thing. I'm guessing that crossed my mind because of all the body parts which seem to have gotten knocked out of position today.

* The Browns throw the white flag on Delhomme and come out in the wildcat, with Josh Cribbs behind center. The Falcons see this and move everyone up to near the line of scrimmage. The Browns are trying everything to get some offensive traction with their skill players hurting, and Hillis does some damage for six yards. One assumes he's wincing his way through this game with that hamstring... Hillis is visibly limping after each carry.

* Chansi Stuckey makes another clutch reception. He would be a nice little slot receiver is there were guys on this team who could threaten teams downfield.

* Delhomme's pass is batted in the air by Coy Beirman, who catches the ball and then runs to the end zone. That makes it 20-10 as the Browns' luck runs out. The home team hung in there pretty well given the injuries and were helped by a number of key defensive stops in the red zone, but weren't able to keep the string of good fortune rolling. Some gutsy play out there today by some injured players on offense. That's the game.

* With all the wide receivers available this year, the Browns added Sam Aiken to their team because he is a capable blocker and special teams player. And he makes a key special teams penalty on a Cribbs runback. That strategy doesn't seem to be working.

* Jake Delhomme is still hobbling away out there in the shotgun, God bless 'im, throwing the ball before he can get crushed by the Falcons. He even completes a pass to Brian Robiskie, of all people. It's the most thankless, hopeless task taken on by a Browns quarterback since Brett Ratliff showed up to Berea in July.

* Let's take stock here: The Browns are badly banged up, heading to Pittsburgh after the Steelers get a fortuitous bye week, and will be facing insta-saved QB Ben Roethlisberger, who will be welcomed by screaming Steelers fans in a who are more than ready to forgive his transgressions after a few weeks of watching his replacements. I'm not sure I like this match-up. Really. That's how I analyze it, as "bad". I'm putting my neck out there a bit. But that's why I pay myself the big bucks.

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