It has been said that one game does not make a season. It has also been said that tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow can not come soon enough for the Cleveland Browns.
Scoring 39-points in an NFL game should be good enough to win. Accomplish that with the second-string quarterback on the field, with home-field advantage.
Knowing how opportunistic the Browns defense was in 2001, this would have been thought to be a no-brainer.
During the 2001 season it was all about the defense. Heading into the preseason it was still all about the defense. The defense was being courted as the strength of the team.
It didn't take all sixty-minutes of the Browns contest at Cleveland Browns Stadium Sunday afternoon to see that the defense forgot to make an appearance.
Granted, the Kansas City Chiefs are an explosive offensive football team. They have one of the best running backs in Priest Holmes, a tight-end in Tony Gonzalez that most teams only dream of, and am offensive line that held just long enough to keep quarterback Trent Green vertical.
An unsportsmanlike penalty against linebacker Dwayne Rudd ultimately can be attributed to the Browns 40-39 loss to the Chiefs, the groundwork for the disappointing loss was being laid throughout the contest.
Believing that he had sacked Green as time expired, Rudd went into a celebration, firing his helmet 15 yards downfield. Little did Rudd realize that Green just prior to hitting the ground, lateraled the football to offensive lineman John Tait.
Even more amazing was with a convoy of blockers in front of him, Tait rumble 36 yards down the sideline in front of the Browns bench, before being pushed out of bounds by defensive back Devin Bush.
Tack on the penalty and Kansas City kicker Morten Andersen nailed the 30-yard attempt.
The Browns defense did appear to be prepared for the Chiefs. On numerous occasions the defense was either in the wrong coverage, blew the coverage, or were a step late on the play. The continuous motion utilized by the Kansas City offense appeared to confuse the Browns defense.
This Browns defense was dominated. The linebackers were out of position and didn't make tackles. The defensive backs were not able to maintain coverages, a lack of a pass rush was detrimental to their chances. The defensive line was basically thrown around and was unable to match physically or schematically with the Chiefs line-blocking calls.
Exiting the preseason, the Browns were showing signs that the defense was on track. Generating a pass rush had been a problem for the starting defensive unit throughout the preseason, but the tackling looked crisp and the coverage improved in the days leading up to the regular season opener.
The pass rush woes continued against the Chiefs, but the tackling, coverage, and cohesiveness of the defense were left at the gates entering Cleveland Browns Stadium.
During the off-season, the Browns believed that they had taken the necessary steps to improve their run defense. Via free agency, safety Robert Griffith and middle linebacker Earl Holmes joined the team. Ranking near the bottom of the league against the run, the acquisitions have been viewed as a major upgrade to the defense.
Almost running at will from the opening kickoff, the Chiefs opened gaping holes for Holmes. Additionally, the Browns pass rush was non-existent, allowing Green all-day to find his receivers.
The Chiefs executed their game-plan well, it was the Browns that did not adjust, to the physical play or the challenge that was presented.
Lets make no excuses. Defensively the Browns were terrible, you don't need a stat sheet to see that. From the defensive linemen, to the linebackers, to the defensive backs, this was a team effort.
We'll leave the play of the kickoff return team defense for another day, but they left their game at the gate as well.
Next week is another game, you can bet that the film-room will not be a pleasant place for the players on Monday morning.