Positive Trends

Browns doing things that are so very, well, not Browns and that has put this team in position for a successful first eight games of the 2014 season.

Browns 31, Steelers 10

Simply staring at that score does not get old, as the Browns were able to exercise demons (most, not all) from previous years of Steeler dominance.

Now, the Browns have set themselves up to post an impressive record eight games into the 2014 season.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s revisit the part of the Steelers game that set the course for the Browns route, shall we?

The first quarter wasn’t statistically pretty from the Cleveland perspective. The Browns offensive numbers were in the red. Meanwhile, the Steelers were successfully moving the ball down the field. Well, until they got into the red zone.

On the Steelers second drive of the game, they moved the ball 58 yards in seven plays to the Browns’ 7-yard-line thanks, in part, to a pass interference call on Buster Skrine. So, Steelers were first-and-goal. Uh oh. Then, they decided to run Le’Veon Bell left for 2 yards, right for 2 more yards and then on third-and-goal from the Browns’ 3, they ran LeGarrette Blount right for 1 yard. Zero pass attempts? OK, then. Field goal time.

The Browns response was another three-and-out. Cleveland’s offense was moving the wrong way. It was punting time, again. Seven plays later the Steelers were back in the red zone and faced a second-and-5 from the Browns’ 19. Blount ran right for 2 yards and on third down Ben Roethlisberger threw incomplete to Markus Wheaton on a route in which the quarterback and receiver looked to be on separate pages. It was time for another field goal attempts.

Although the Steelers would muff the snap and miss the field goal, even if it was good the positive signs were there. Two strong Steeler drives ended in field goal attempts for Pittsburgh. In seasons past that was a very Cleveland Browns thing to do.

How often did we see early portions of games where the Browns would move the ball down the field only to have those drives end in field goals and those field goals to later bit them in the behind?

As for last Sunday against the Steelers, in the Browns’ first possession of the second quarter they moved the ball down field into Steelers territory. On first-and-goal from the Pittsburgh 5-yard-line, Isaiah Crowell ran right for five yards and into the end zone. A touchdown and with it a Browns’ lead they would never surrender.

The Browns followed that up with another drive ending with a touchdown.

This is becoming a trend in 2014 and because of it the Browns team is trending up.

Meanwhile, give credit to a Browns defense that came in with three healthy defensive linemen and a banged up secondary. The Browns used a 4-3 alignment, rushed four, dropped seven into coverage and the Steelers simply could not score.

The players surely made plays, but the coaching staff adjusted and put their players in position to win and win convincingly.

This is all so weird, so foreign, so … not Browns.

Perhaps all the monkeys were removed off backs with that win over the Steelers. We will find out more as the season continues on, but right now the direction is positive after such an all-around victory for Cleveland against a foe that has caused nothing but angst. The bigger picture is that the Browns are doing things that are the complete opposite of Browns teams in the past. As a result, they are staring 6-2 right in the face.

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