Derry: Happiness and Joy

Frank Derry writes only about the positives coming out of today's game with Tampa Bay, like Dennis Northcutt (pictured) catching a pass...

‘Tis the season to be jolly so, as hard as it might be, I'll comment only on positive things that happened during Sunday's 22-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

For example.

The final score was positively an improvement over last year's 41-0 Christmas Eve massacre inflicted by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

There was no snow … or rain for that matter.

The Browns won the coin toss.

Braylon Edwards had a great view of the team's offense for 1 ½ quarters thanks to the front row seat given to him by head coach Romeo Crennel as an early Christmas present. I have to imagine Edwards, who reportedly was being disciplined for being late to a couple of meetings, was a victim of the crowded shopping malls. Either that or he was busy providing helicopter rides to Columbus for disadvantaged children and somehow lost track of time … twice.

Dennis Northcutt, who got a chance to start for Edwards in what figured to be his last home game at Cleveland Browns Stadium, caught Derek Anderson's first pass of the day.

Phil Dawson did not miss the 44-yard field goal he lined up for at the conclusion of that drive. For some unknown reason, which will not be questioned because of this being the holiday season, Crennel had Dawson pooch punt.

Tampa Bay could not score a touchdown when it reached the Browns' red zone in the first quarter.

The Browns converted a third down play in the first quarter after going 0-for-11 a week earlier.

Edwards had a chance to congratulate teammate Ralph Brown for the hard hit he laid on Bucs tight end Alex Smith.

The Browns trailed only 3-0 after the first quarter. Last Christmas Eve they were already down 14-0 to the Steelers after one stanza.

The second quarter pass that went off the hands of All-World (but not All-Pro) tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. and was intercepted by Jermaine Phillips was not returned for a touchdown.

The Browns stopped the Buccaneers on a fourth-and-1 play inside the 10 in the second quarter.

Phillips' second interception of Anderson in the second quarter was not returned for a touchdown.

Tampa Bay's third trip to the red zone resulted in only a field goal.

Winslow got to have a fatherly "chat" with Crennel in the second quarter. One might have assumed they were exchanging holiday greetings except for the fact Winslow only listened.

Edwards got a chance to play in the second quarter and didn't drop a pass until the second one thrown to him. And on the very next play he nearly picked up a first down on a third down pass.

Tampa Bay's fourth trip to the red zone resulted in a Daven Holly interception.

The Browns were down only 6-0 at halftime after trailing 20-0 a year ago.

The Browns blocked Tampa Bay's extra point attempt following their first touchdown of the day, which didn't come until the third quarter. It took them five trips to the red zone to find pay dirt.

Halftime adjustments to the offense seemed to work as the Browns finally reached the red zone for the first time on their initial drive of the second half.

The Browns trailed only 12-0 after three quarters after trailing 34-0 a year ago.

Derrick Brooks could have possibly been called for pass interference on Edwards. If so, it would have wiped out the nine-time Pro Bowler's 21-yard interception return for a touchdown to begin the fourth quarter.

Holly's return of a fumble for a 40-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter broke an 11 year Christmas Eve scoring drought that dated back to the Browns' 24-21 loss to Jacksonville in the team's final game before the franchise was moved to Baltimore by Scrooge, alias Art Modell.

Holly's touchdown was set up by a hard hit on Buccaneers quarterback Tim Rattay by AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate Kamerion Wimbley.

The defensive backs who danced in the end zone after Holly's return didn't let the scoreboard dampen their enthusiasm.

Edwards didn't drop his second pass until the fourth quarter. (If his hand was hurting maybe Crennel could have done him a favor by keeping him on the sideline all day.)

Third-string quarterback Ken Dorsey, replacing injured Anderson late in the fourth quarter, completed his first pass of the year … to an injured player on the Browns' sideline.

Reuben Droughns nearly broke free for a couple of long touchdown runs.

Crennel's desire to avoid a quarterback controversy was bolstered by Anderson's four-interception performance.

The Browns improved their chances of getting one of the top five picks in the 2007 draft.

The absence of fans in the stands at the end of the game made it a quick trip home for those who hung around to the bloody end to salute their heroes as they came off the field for the final time this season.


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