9-3: Patriots Kick Browns Into the Bye

Pre-game webmaster chatter. In-game webmaster chatter. A much closer game than I expected, with the Browns hanging tough against a Patriots team despite all the inexperience on the offensive line.

   1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Cleveland Browns 0 3 0 0 3
New England Patriots 3 0 3 3 9

Game Over
Just for a second there, I thought it might happen for us. A clutch fourth down throw to Dennis Northcutt gave the Browns an opportunity with the ball near mid-field with a minute left. In my opinion, a solid job of coaching and some gutsy performances as a hobbled Browns squad kept this game close on the road. Boy, do we need the bye week now. Time to recharge and see if we can't turn this around in the second half of the season. FINAL: Patriots 9, Browns 3.

Fourth Quarter, 2:05 Left:
The Patriots nail a field goal with a hair over two minutes left and the Browns have a chance to get back into it. The Browns put themselves in a tough spot as they let the Pats burn up over four minutes on the clock as they drove down the field. Now, we've got another opportunity to win a game with the clock ticking. Take your heart medicine. Patriots 9, Browns 3.

Fourth Quarter, 12:30 Left:
We're early into the fourth quarter, and it's still a low-scoring struggle. Butch Davis showed a lot of nerve in calling a fake punt to Brant Boyer earlier, which was probably called on the field when they saw there was nothing in the middle to stop the quick snap to the veteran linebacker. This game is really showing the importance of having a solid tight end. Dan Graham has been very impressive for the Patriots today, and may be the difference in the game so far. Kelly Holcomb just finished blowing up at Melvin Fowler when the young lineman snapped the ball past him. There's probably a lot of frustration that's been building up within the QBs playing behind this young line today.

Third Quarter, 3:30 Left:
The Patriots change things up a bit, coming out with a more aggressive pass-oriented attack against the Browns defense. The Browns bend, but once again, don't break. Ben Taylor makes a key devastating stick on Kevin Faulk which helps to halt the drive. Taylor already has thirteen tackles today, the biggest and flashiest forcing the Pats to kick a field goal. It's still anyone's game. Pats 6, Browns 3.

A team starts playing more conservative defense, the their opponent go into the two-minute, and suddenly an offense starts moving the ball. Sounds like the playoff game last year, except this time it's the Browns on the receiving end of the gift of conservative defense. The Browns move it down into "gimme" range and tie the game. In a defensive struggle so far, we owe a debt of gratitude to Mumbles.

Where have we seen this before? Couch exits, Kelly Holcomb comes in and the offense picks up steam. Holcomb fires the ball out quickly and the offense seems to work faster. I've always liked Tim, but I've seen this too many times. Again, Holcomb has an advantage as the Browns offense had looked better in its last series under Couch, and he's running the two-minute offense, which often makes QBs look better. Still, this happens again and again - the decisions are fast, the ball is thrown crisply.

Second Quarter 5:00 Left:
Tim Couch has just walked off the field with his hand in apparent pain. The Browns are still close, and have managed to get a couple of first down. James Jackson is running a little bit better than we've seen in the past, waiting for opportunities and darting forward. The strain is starting to show on the Browns defense, which is allowing New England to move the ball. We're going to see Kelly Holcomb as soon as the Browns get the ball back prior to halftime. No word on Couch's condition yet.

First Quarter 4:00 Left:
It's the first quarter, and things are not good. Not good at all.

The Browns have elected to start Enoch DeMar at left guard, giving us a front line of Gonzalez, DeMar, Fowler, Zukauskas, and Tucker. Yikes. The results are about what one would expect in the early-going. A triplet of three-and-outs to start the game, and Tim Couch under the threat of getting crushed whenever he goes back to pass.

As a result, the Patriots have had a short field to work with, but the Browns defense has allowed really only a game-starting long pass to Troy Brown, which led to a field goal. If they have to come back onto the field every three plays, through, it will be a long, long day.

The Browns have quite a challenge ahead of them today, and the concern and worry pervades this morning's Newswire.

Isn't is odd how some of the same media outlets who helped fan the fires over Belichick in the mid-90s are now heralding him as some sort of modern coaching guru? I guess winning a Super Bowl can do that for a guy.

One reporter who has been consistent in his praise for Belichick's coaching prowess is the News-Herald's Hal Lebovitz. In Hal's column today (not on the web), he reveals that the Patriots don't have a high regard for the Browns direction under Carmen Policy and Butch Davis. The Patriots are, however, "scared stiff" of this game, because the Browns play so well in road games when their backs are up against the wall.

The Patriots coach, according to Hal's Patriot insider, is telling his players that "the Browns can't be taken lightly no matter how poor they look on the films". Ouch.

It would be nice to take that demeaning attitude and shove pigskin down the Patriots necks for sixty minutes, wouldn't it?

That, and we'll be wearing orange pants with the white uniforms today. That's the same uniform combo that dazed the Steelers into looking like the Arizona Cardinals three weeks ago. Yeah, that's the ticket. This game is in the bag.

Since this is an away game, your friendly neighborhood web-mangler will be online throughout the game, grabbing the goodies from our Insiders and photo services, and slamming updates on the site at the fastest speeds our hamster-powered server can maintain. I put some coffee beans in their feed dish this morning, so we should be able to keep up.

I love this weekend... getting that extra hour back just rules because it makes football weekend that much longer. GO BROWNS!!

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