Those people unfortunate enough to have worked with me at my current and past occupations have learned painfully that the thing I hate the most is administrivia. You know... time reporting, financial stuff, that sort of busywork that seems to follow us around no matter where we flee.
I opened up Microsoft Excel in the third quarter of today's 37-7 loss to the Bills and put together budget spreadsheets in front of the TV.
That's how painful and horrific today's game was.
For me, balancing checkbooks in front of a late-2004 Browns game is akin having someone drop an anvil on your foot to take your mind off of a particularly painful toothache.
The analogy can be extended to today's game, where the Bills defense played the role of the anvil, and Luke McCown the role of an unsuspecting foot.
The Browns rookie quarterback was sacked seven times and intercepted twice as the Bills blitzing defense shredded the Browns offensive line and poured into the team's backfield, seemingly at will. Jeff Garcia, whose knee sprained itself to save the rest of his body from further carnage, was also sacked by the Bills defense during the one series in which he appeared.
The result: the Browns wound up with (take a moment to reflect on this) seventeen net yards on the day.
One might conjecture that any random group of eleven people could gain as many yards by accident, simply by occasionally tripping over their shoelaces and stumbling forward.
When McCown wasn't being slapped backwards to the tune of 74 yards via sacks on the day, the team's running backs were finding the Rich Stadium turf moments after being handed the ball. First-string running back William Green ran the ball eleven times for five yards while rookie Adimchinobe Echemandu found himself the team's leading rusher with thirteen yards on five carries.
The Browns defense showed up and played some solid football early on, forcing three Bills turnovers early and providing the Cleveland with several opportunities to score. As offensive ineffectiveness and five turnovers (three fumbles, two interceptions) took their toll, the Browns defense wore down.
Late in the game, the Browns defense was unable to stop the Bills second team from controlling the clock for over seven minutes, a clock-eating drive which resulted in Buffalo's third rushing touchdown of the day.
The Browns actually led in the first quarter, as a fumbled punt recovered by Barry Gardner at the Bills 18 gave the Browns offense an opportunity to score that they couldn't even pass up. The team's 7-3 lasted until the second quarter, when the Bills began a run of 34 consecutive points.
In weeks the Browns offense performs, the defense disappears. When the defense performs, the offense disappears.
It's called being a bad football team.
The 2004 Browns have turned out to be just that, and nothing more.
For those with iron constitutions and a high tolerance for pain, be aware that we will providing further coverage of the game throughout the evening.