So, the Browns pulled off the improbable Sunday at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Coming in with a 2-5 home record, the Browns were destined to fail, weren't they?
Not really. In a season when the Browns made a habit of taking every game to the wire, why should anybody have doubted Butch Davis' bunch? With their backs solidly against the wall, again the Browns showed their knack for winning the close game.
As the playoffs begin next Sunday in Pittsburgh, the Steelers will face a dangerous foe in the Browns. Nevermind that the Steelers have defeated the Browns twice in the 2002 season. Forget that those two Browns losses were by a total of six points.
Next week is the second season and the Browns have something on their side.
What do they have going for them? No, the loss of Tim Couch doesn't help this team. He may be inconsistent, but until we see more of Kelly Holcomb, one would have to believe that Couch is the best option at quarterback.
An advantage this team has is that is an excellent road team. With a 6-2 record in the regular season, the Browns have shown the ability to face adversity head-on. This team likes the underdog role and they like to play from behind.
With this Browns team, expect the unexpected. This underdog has a lot of bite left.
Some things that we do know:
- The Browns have been contacting quarterbacks Sunday night in the aftermath of the Tim Couch injury.
- Defensive coordinator Foge Fazio and his defensive unit were praised by the entire organization for their execution and game plan against the Falcons and Michael Vick.
- This organization is solidly behind Kelly Holcomb and, with a week of preparation, he will be ready to play.
- The Browns will be aggressive against the Steelers defense. A couple of weaknesses in the Pittsburgh defensive scheme have been exploited by other teams. The Browns are becoming increasingly confident that the offensive line can provide opportunities.
- The team that effectively runs the football will win this game. The game will be decided in the last half of the fourth-quarter.
- Having a healthy Dennis Northcutt against the Steelers will be critical for the Browns. Northcutt came out of the Atlanta game in great condition and his availability will create numbers mismatches for the Browns against a Pittsburgh defense that, despite its recent excellent play, can be beaten.
- Cornerback Daylon McCutcheon is struggling with the large cast he is playing with following surgery to repair his thumb. Anthony Henry cannot be counted on to contain Pittsburgh wide receiver Plaxico Burress or Hines Ward.
- Pittsburgh defensive back Lee Flowers will have something to say this week that will be good bulletin board material.
- This Cleveland Browns team will not roll over.
- The Browns organization sent a 'Thank You' message to the New York Jets, Sunday night.
- That the Steelers will attempt to open up the Browns defense with the pass early.
- Tommy Maddox is a much better quarterback throwing the ball to his left.
- If the Browns sustain consistent pressure on Maddox, prevent him from making a big-play early, and contain the rushing attack of the Steelers, Maddox will make mistakes.
- The Steelers can be beaten in Pittsburgh.