Thank you, Art Modell.
Without Art's purchase of the Cleveland Browns, Paul Brown may never have been fired. If Paul Brown had never been fired, it would have been more difficult for the Cincinnati Bengals to exist. If the Cincinnati Bengals had never existed with Paul's inept son running the show, it would have been much more difficult for the Cleveland Browns to dig themselves out of the hole created by their absurd opening-game loss to the Chiefs.
Fortunately for Browns fans, the sequence of events started when Art Modell decided that the legendary Browns coach should exit has resulted in a Cincinnati team that hasn't had a winning record in the last decade. In the latest example of Queen City kindness, the Bengals favored the Browns this afternoon with a 6-3 dawggie treat named Gus Frerotte.
The key play of today's game occured in the second quarter, with the Browns leading 10-0 but Cincinnati driving for a possible touchdown. Browns DT Orpheus Roye put pressure on Frerotte, who responded with an ill-advised left-handed pass (Frerotte throws right). The fluttering toss landed in the arms of a surprised and pleased Kenard Lang, who promptly rumbled 73 yards before being tripped up by Frerotte.
The Bengals were unable to recover from the dramatic turn of events before halftime and were never able to muster a credible threat. Although they moved the ball effectively late against the Browns, Mark Word's third sack of the day finished off the Bengals deep in Cleveland territory.
In the last two games in Cleveland, Cincinnati has been able to score only a single touchdown.
We can now safely declare Cincinnati to be a "parity-free zone".
The Cleveland offense was again keyed by backup quarterback Kelly Holcomb, who made few mistakes and threw for 198 and two touchdowns. Holcomb spread the throws around equitably, tossing completions to seven different receivers. Kevin Johnson and Andre Davis led the way with four catches apiece.
The Browns were again unable to muster a strong running game. The team managed 75 yards on 27 attempts, with William Green again being relatively ineffective. While Green showed a few glimpses of his promise, the running game was spearheaded by Jamel White, who managed 38 yards on only eight carries. Green wound up with 36 yards on 17 carries for a meager 2.1-yard average.
Phil Dawson was impressive again, making field goals from 52 yards (his best as a pro) and 45 yards. Dawson now has the teams second-largest string of consecutive field goals and has been kicking the ball deep into the end zone on a consistent basis on kickoffs.
Earl Holmes stepped up on defense today, recording a team-high 10 tackles as the Browns presented a stiffer run defense. Although Corey Dillon gained over 100 yards, he was not able to run with impunity as he has in the past. The defensive story of the day, however, was third-string DE Mark Word. Playing in place of the injured Courtney Brown and Tyrone Rogers, Word made the most of the opportunity with three sacks of Gus Frerotte.
Next week, the Browns will travel to Tennessee to face another tough runner in the Titan's Eddie George. The team will need to play even better to come away with a win at Adelphia before moving on to play the Steelers at Heinz Field.