And it ended once again the same way, a lonely and quiet walk across the West 3rd Street Bridge back to the Warehouse District and down to the Flats.
Another Opening Day loss in a game that the Browns could have won.
Besides the game, it was a great day. We had a wonderful tailgate, saw tons of familiar faces and old friends. The weather turned to the better, as sunshine filled the stadium. Too bad we had to watch the game.
Where to begin? Fault goes all around to an offense that in the first half could not hold on to the ball and in the second half could not protect the quarterback. A defense that attacked in the first half and got figured out in the second.
Let us begin with the pregame. Is the NFL turning into the NBA? Flames and smoke and music being played too loud. What happened to the days where it was totally about the game? We sang the national anthem then straight to kickoff. Now it is way too much manufactured enthusiasm. I would like to think the Browns and their fans are above that. But somebody in Berea is listening to some marketing consultant who saw all this waste of money entertainment at some other stadium.
For most of the first drive the Browns did what I thought they were going to do the whole game, run the ball game. Little did I know…The interception that ended the drive was Weedon's fault, the only one of the game that really was.
Before the second series we were treated to two huge banners, one in each end zone. The one at our end said in big letters THIS IS THE DAWG POUND. Those of us sitting there already knew that. Again, more manufactured enthusiasm. I guess someone upstairs knew which way the game was going to go. And while I'm ranting about stupid stuff at the games, what's with the field announcer and his THIRD DOWN proclamations each defensive series?
I really thought the game was turning to the Browns in the second period when they had two sacks on a three play Dolphins drive; then Travis Benjamin made something out of nothing on a punt return.
But except for a beautifully executed touchdown pass from Brandon Weedon to Cameron Jordan, the offense kept Miami in the game with illegal formations, dropped passes, penalties, and sacks.
The biggest disappointment of the afternoon is how the offensive line fell apart in the second half. Oniel Cousins, filling in at guard for the injured Shawn Lauvao and Jason Pinkston, got manhandled. He should not be in the lineup next week. Go with the rookie Garrett Gilkey; he could not do worse.
For all talk of all the new stuff with the Browns, it seemed a lot like last year. Too many crossing and out routes, not enough downfield passing. Leading at halftime 7-6, they were completely outplayed in the second half. The Chud era started as the Shurmer era ended, with getting outcoached in the locker room at half time.
Most of the positives for the afternoon occurred off the field. We attended a great tale gate party in the Flats, complete with roasted chicken, fried shrimp, and corn the cob. And, yes, a few adult beverages. Fans seemed enthused for the game, and everyone came wearing their best Browns garb. It was great to see all the old friends in the Dawg Pound whom I have been sitting with for years, and everyone seemed so upbeat and positive.
We will be coming direct to you next week from Charlotte, North Carolina, where we will be watching the Browns/Ravens game with the Charlotte Browns Backers. We will be down that way for a little golf and will take in the Vanderbilt at South Carolina game.
Text by Greg Cielec
Photos by Dave Hostetler
Season Ticket Holders, Section 120, Row B, in the Dawg Pound