Tales from a Dorkbook

Unadulterated pre- and in-game homerism and nerdiness, delivered live weekly! Talk back to the dork via the comments and watch him squirm!

Browns-Panthers. I am as nervous this week as I was last week, honestly. You would be wise to listen to the webdork when my whack-a-mole sense is tingling. By the way, if you actually read this nonsense and care to admit it, please let me know in the comments. I never know if people find this helpful or would prefer I spend three hours every Sunday focusing more on my drinking. Work, work, work.

  • 4:22 PM: I would like to publicly apologize to Joe Brownlee for giving him my tickets to this game. I had no idea what he would be forced to watch, sorry. But, hey, a win is a win, right? In six weeks, no one will remember how badly the Browns tried to lose it.
  • 4:20 PM: The Browns complete their triple play of bullet-dodging as John Kasay misses a 42-yard field goal attempt that would have won the game for the Panthers. The Browns go to 4-7 but really look like a team on a downward slope right now. The debate about Eric Mangini's fate will begin raging now.
  • 4:14 PM: A short pass to Goodsen turns into a long gainer of 32 yards with 40 seconds left. The play is remarkably similar to the previous week's 70-yard pass and run by Maurice Jones-Drew. There are a ton of missed tackles all over the field. Rob Ryan may want to teach his players to tackle effectively before worrying too much about potential head coaching gigs.
  • 4:09 PM: Reggie Hodges pins the Panthers back on the four yard line with just under a minute left. Wonderful punt, showing why Dave Zastudil was expendable and why the Browns gave him a new two-year contract.
  • 4:06 PM: Two rookies heading in different directions: Joe Haden picks off Jimmy Clausen with 1:28 left as the Panthers were moving fairly effectively towards mid-field. The pick is a game-winner for the Browns, who are in the last moments of bullet dodging. I'm feeling pretty good about my game prediction of a 19-17 Browns win right now. But the Browns fear throwing the ball on third-and-six and fail to convert a first down, so they're going to give the ball back to the Panthers on a punt.
  • 3:56 PM: The Browns drive peters out at the 24, with a fourth-and-one-half at their 24. The Browns decide not to risk failure on fourth down. Pontbriand's snap is oddly less-than-perfect, but Dawson kicks the 42-yard field goal, giving the Browns a 24-23 lead with 2:42 left.
  • 3:54 PM: Brian Robiskie's break-out game (we hope) continues as he pulls down his seventh catch for nine yards. He's at seven receptions, and fifty yards for the day.
  • 3:52 PM: The Panthers drop eight on a third and ten for the Browns at their own 42. Hillis is wide open underneath (how?) and Delhomme hits him. Hillis rescues the Browns again by banging through tacklers for a first down.
  • 3:47 PM: Apparently the lack of explosiveness I talked about earlier has taken its toll. The Browns put Mike Bell back for the kickoff rather than Cribbs or fumblin' Clifton Smith.
  • 3:42 PM: The Panthers convert a third and long on a nice fake throw by Clausen, wheels around and fires the ball to a wide-open Rosario on the other side. The Browns defense is suddenly on it heels, and then Stewart gashes them for 31 yards to the Browns 25. After looking inept for much of the first half, the Panthers have found some things that work.
  • 3:37 PM: Attempting a fourth-and-one without Lawrence Vickers blocking for Hillis is like me trying to watch the Cleveland Browns play a 1-9 team without a refrigerator full of beer and a cyanide pill to use in an emergency. It's simply ill-advised. The number of questions the coaching staff should ask themselves after the game went up by one.
  • 3:31 PM: Delhomme audibles at the line, gets sacked. Nothing going his way right now other than handing the ball to 40.
  • 3:30 PM: The Browns offense starting to drive a little now, with 14 minutes left in the game. Vickers shows his value with a key block at the 35, and Brian Robiskie catches pass number five. So, some components of the offense are working.
  • 3:26 PM: With the Browns punting at the end of the third quarter, Eric Norwood bails the Browns out by running into Reggie "New Contract" Hodges. This game shouldn't be close, and the Browns coaching staff should probably ask themselves some tough questions afterwards, but the Panthers mistakes - and that ST error was horrible - could hand the Browns a win.The Panthers are showing you how you get to be 1-9, but this game will always for be an example of the Browns aren't ready to be a competitor yet. Would the Steelers have let up with a 21-7 lead? Nope. Even if there are just ten seconds left, they're still throwing into the end zone. We need a little bit of that... not the piling-on, but a little of the relentlessness would help.
  • 3:17 PM: For all the grief I've given Clausen today, on third and five from the Panthers 15, Clausen makes a nice running throw to Goodson which nets a first down. Browns up by one, but all the momentum belongs to Carolina.
  • 3:12 PM: I'm going to have to emphasize the "Temporary" nature of my Temp Delhomme Fan Club Prez title on this article.
  • 3:05 PM: Mangini sticks with Delhomme, and the Browns QB does the smartest possible thing: Hands the ball off to Peyton Hillis, who promptly runs for 10 yards and then nine.
  • 3:03 PM: After holding the Panthers to a field goal, Jake Delhomme comes right back out and throws a pick on his second offensive play. Did the Panther see something Delhomme was doing during halftime? Perhaps, but Captain Munnerlyn sat on a Massaquoi route and Delhomme threw right into it. The Panthers DB jumped it, picked off the ball and ran it back for a touchdown, and the close game I feared has arrived. It's now BROWNS 21, PANTHERS 20.
  • 2:49 PM: Browns come out and Jake Delhomme immediately throws a pick to Jon Beason on their first offensive play. Exactly what the Browns didn't want to do. Unbelievable.
  • 2:40 PM: Fox runs some pimpage for the NFL's "Play 60" campaign. I suppose they have to do this because of their deal with the league, but after the reading something like "The NFL wants this generation to be the most active ever", my mind completed the phrase with "which is why we're going to lock players out of our training facilities next year". These sort of outreach efforts are nice, but it's hard to take them seriously when you know that of the NFL's top 300 priorities, 296 include the word "money".
  • 2:36 PM: The Browns need to come out in the second half and mean business. Even though the Panthers deserve to be 1-9, you can't take your foot off the throat off of any NFL team. The Panthers have a number of players who could start for the Browns (e.g., Beason, Johnson, Smith) and can't let up like they did up 21-7. If Mangini wants a shot at coaching this team next year, his team needs to extend this lead in the second half.
  • 2:34 PM: Charles Johnson pushes his way past John St. Clair and hits Delhomme, causing a fumble. St. Clair reduces the damage by diving on the ball, but it kills any hope of a last-second drive by the Browns. We go to halftime with the game uncomfortably close, BROWNS 21-13.
  • 2:28 PM: Carolina is inside the Browns 30 after a short pass to Steve Smith is turned in an 18 yard game. The Browns have allowed deep offensive drives before the half four weeks in a row now. The Patriots fumbled near the goal line, but the Jets and Jags scored. I don't like this trend.
  • 2:27 PM: Captain Munnerlyn gets a nice runback on Hodges punt as he dances through tackles. Jason Trusnik justifies his roster spot by playing a key role in stopping that runback at the Browns 42. But giving Carolina ace field position for a late drive prior to halftime is about as bad a move as the Browns could make.
  • 2:24 PM: Browns seem to think they have the game already won, as they look flat on offense after teh Panthers field goal. Inevitably, that results in a three-and-out, and Carolina will get the ball back. Clausen running the two-minute offense? This could be either very bad for us, or potentially hilarious.
  • 2:18 PM: Carolina puts together a decent drive in the mid-to-late second quarter, but the Browns make some nice plays out of the defensive backfield. A safety blitz by Abe Elam works perfectly as he isn't picked up and drops Clausen twelve back. Two nice tackles by Haden follow and aborts the Panthers drive. The Panthers still manage a field goal, making it 21-10.
  • 2:15 PM: Clausen's first completed pass in a bit is out of broken play and is actually spinning perpendicular to the field as it's pulled in. When you're struggling like the Panthers, you take what you can get.
  • 2:10 PM: Peyton Hillis. Holy crap. That is all I can say right now. 21-7 Browns.
  • 2:06 PM: The Browns have their foot positioned back on the Panthers' throat as hoped and are heading to the end zone once more. On the upside for Carolina, Captain Munnerlyn can be expecting a post-game fruit basket from Brian Robiskie. So he's got that going for him, which is nice.
  • u
  • 2:01 PM: Jimmy Clausen. Wow. Now we know why Holmgren wishes he liked him better. He looks very confused as the Panthers are gifted with an opportunity and nearly throws a pick to Sheldon Brown deep in his own territory. Matt Moore has to be thinking he might get a shot at some point. Clausen looks like a big swing and a miss for the Panthers right now. Their GM has to be breaking out in a cold sweat every time Clausen drops back.
  • 1:57 PM: Evan Moore, like Peyton Hillis, is very tough to tackle, so teams focus on the ball. He catches a pass and is headed for the end zone, and the ball is ripped out, giving the Panthers some relief with a turnover. Crushing this drive quickly is very important for the Browns, as the Panthers were looking (at best) uninspired after that first drive. The Browns had their foot on their throat and took it off. They need to get it back on the Panthers neck without letting them fool themselves into thinking they have a chance to win.
  • 1:52 PM: The Panthers look like a beaten team already. A lot of penalties nuked some decent defensive play in the first quarter, and they have no passing game whatsoever so far. Their mistakes extend to special teams and poor anticipation on defense. I've seen a lot of teams that are over-matched and know it during the last ten years. It's sort of a local field of expertise among Browns fans. The Panthers look like a team waiting to lose and just hoping it doesn't get too bad.
  • 1:50 PM: Josh Cribbs has a nice runback on the punt from the Panthers end zone, but I still think he doesn't look 100%. The Panthers punter simply kicked the ball 10 yards father than the coverage. Hopefully, Cribbs spends the rest of the game proving me wrong.
  • 1:48 PM: Oh, man, the Panthers look horrible and the Browns are really punishing them now. Ward breaks through a gap in the offensive line and just tags Goodson on second down, leaving him wobbly on the field. Then Rogers squashes a TE run attempt, forcing a three-and-out. The Panthers are sleepwalking.
  • 1:40 PM: The Panthers defense, which is generally pretty good despite the off-season migration out of Charlotte, is really not playing under control at all. They extend the Browns second drive twice thanks to penalties. Despite being a young group, they're not playing within themselves and not making good decisions. This reflects on coaching and, I think, would be a strike against John Fox and crew. Well, that, and their 1-9 record.
  • 1:36 PM: The Panthers go three and out, and Clausen is struggling so far. The game doesn't appear to have slowed down for him yet, as he looks agitated and making some bad decisions. Josh Cribbs doesn't look like himself on the return. He doesn't seem to have the usual explosiveness.
  • 1:31 PM: Brian Robiskie also caught two passes as he's found a group of DBs against whom he can get a little separation. Having him contribute would be a big step forward for this offense, but it's hard to say if it's a matter of him improving, a weak defense, or having a quarterback with confidence to throw to him. It bears watching.
  • 1:28 PM: Lots of interesting things happen as the Browns drive 77 yards to score a tying touchdown. Delhomme almost kills the drive with an ill-advised pass that's called for intentional grounding, but otherwise is very sharp, spreading passes out to a number of receivers. Evan Moore makes a late appearance in the drive, failing to catch a TD throw, but creating two penalties from the Panthers that put the Browns in the catbird seat to score. Defenders have a tough time with Moore's size. It won't show up in the box score, but we saw it right there.
  • 1:12 PM: The Browns defense looks lethargic on the Panthers first drive, as they gash the Browns defense for 81 yards, 61 of those on the ground. Mark Goodson looks very good and has some nice holes to run through. Shaun Rogers hits Clausen late for a big penalty, and Ahtyba Rubin overpusues Goodson and misses a chance to make a negative play. Someone get the defensive linemen away from the turkey leftovers. Tryptophan overdose.
  • 1:03 PM: Eric Alexander was brought in because of his special teams skills and he shows them on the first play of the game, as the Browns stop the Panthers kickoff return before the 20.
  • 1:00 PM: Fans in the chat room are agitating to get Torry Holt dressed and on the field for the Browns, LOL. I'm hoping that we see more of Carlton Mitchell. Demetrius Williams is still inactive... why bring a veteran WR on board if he's going to sit on the bench all year? It has to be disappointing for him.
  • 12:47 PM: You know, this Fox pre-game show is way better than the other one. You get some really good analysis and great laughs throughout. #IneedaRaise
  • 12:34 PM: So, here's the question, as I see it: Did the Browns get simply outplayed last week, or did Del Rio and company find a defensive scheme the plays to the Browns weaknesses? Did they figure out a way to stop the Browns. If so, you would expect to see something similar from the Panthers this week, and our offensive struggles may continue. Whlie getting Womack back helps, I can't believe that was the sum total of the Browns issues against the Jags in the second half. The Browns need to dial up some early screens to try to take the teeth out of what I suspect will be some inevitable early blitzing by Carolina.

    Also, and I have to say this, the Browns have played twice in sunny, hot Florida, and twice our offensive line has been outplayed in the second half of the game. Maybe it's coincidental. Maybe it's not.
  • 11:59 AM: As relayed on our Twitter feed earlier, today's Browns inactives are McCoy, Eric Wright, Clayton (RB), Sanford (DL), Alex Smith (TE), Demetrius Williams (WR), Jayme Mitchell (DL), Fujita (LB). This explains Carlton Mitchell's Twitter happiness earlier today. He's active, and will hopefully get involved in the passing game.
  • 11:51 AM: Expectations for both of these quarterbacks are very low, which usually means to me that one or the other will dramatically exceed them. Both have been successful at various levels in their career, and I can't believe Clausen's early stats are what he's going to achieve long-term. One or the other will do well today. I can't tell you with 100% confidence that it will be our guy. Nervous.
  • 11:41 AM: This game's on Fox, consarnit, with "consarnit" being old-rural-guy code for a series of obscenities. This probably means that I can't vent my irritation with noisy faux-hilarious NFL pre-game shows without ticking off Rupert. I'll just point you to this article instead, which offers up opinions similar to mine in spots.

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