The national sports media are at it again. Despite winning three games in a row--including the last two against tough competition--the Browns play underdog to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Vegas line has Cincinnati 2-1/2 point favorites for the game at Paul Brown Stadium. ESPN's Dr. Z says the Browns are winning on cheap shots and bad attitude. BTNG's own Anarchist claims that "the tyrany of the reality" all but assures a Browns defeat.
Well, they've done it now. Butch Davis is pissed off, and so are his players. The pre-game atmosphere in the Browns locker room is electric with rage. Butch screams at his guys about how their opponents lack respect, how the media expects them to lose, and how opposing coaches whine when the Browns win.
By the time Butch is done, the team is in a lather--and the Bengals are doomed. Before running into the tunnel, an enraged Gerard Warren slams his head into a wall and caves in an entire side of the visiting locker room. He'll pick up a $15,000 fine (but no suspension) from the league. Courtney Brown is so fired up that he takes himself off IR and plays the entire game--both ways. Brown lines up at tight end for the injured Rickey Dudley on offense, while manning his old right defensive tackle spot on D.
The result is a shellacking the likes of which hasn't been seen since the United States took the big stick to Iraq in 1991. Tim Couch sets Paul Brown Stadium on fire. He completes 24 straight passes in the first half, 12 of them for touchdowns. Courtney Brown is a force over the middle, devastating linebackers and obliterating safeties on his way to six catches and four TDs.
One collision over the middle between Brown and Bengal's uber-linebacker Takeo Spikes is so violent that it bursts the eardrums of Bengals safety Corey Hall and leaves a six-foot wide crater in the middle of the field. The TV broadcast is lost for nearly 10 minutes while engineers scrambled to replace camera lenses shattered by overpressure from the impact. Both Spikes and Brown walk away from the hit.
On defense, Brown plays catch-up with team sack-master Jamir Miller. On the first play of three consecutive Bengal series, Brown races past aged left tackle Richmond Webb, leveling John Kitna and forcing three straight turnovers. When both Kitna and left guard Matt O'Dwyer go down with injuries on the same play, coach LeBeau has no choice but to bring in Akili Smith. Mitchell's fingers are so sodden with fried chicken grease that he can't grasp his helmet--much less throw a football.
The incident violates a strict "no chicken" clause in Mitchell's contract, and prompts Mitchell's family to hold a difficult intervention. The portly QB later checks into the Promises rehab center in Malibu, California, and becomes the topic of a touching Dateline segment with Jane Pauly.
With Akili Smith taking snaps behind Scott "Ole!" Rehberg, the stadium crowd has thinned down to three guys in the far end zone, pulling on a jug of moonshine and playing a spirited banjo duel. But Browns defensive coordinator Foge Fazio isn't done. With Rehberg in, Foge activates his super-secret "Freight Train Defense," which lines all eleven players directly over left guard. The resulting sack is so violent that Smith suffers severe amnesia and spends the rest of the season trying to figure out what the hell he's doing in Cincinnati.
Final score? Browns 673, Bengals 0.
And that's the way I see it.