Posted on: October 19, 2008 9:15 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2008 11:44 pm

Week 7: Has the Slipper Been Shattered?

Cinderella 2: The 2008 Cleveland Browns' Story
Act 2, Scene ii
by: Romeo Crennel and the Dawgs

Derek Anderson as "Mr. Hyde"
Jamal Lewis as himself
Braylon Edwards as "Jim Abbott"
Dave Zastudil as "The Man With the Golden Toe"
Eric Wright as "The Playmaker"
Cleveland Browns fans as "The Dawgs"

Jason Campbell as "Eli Manning cerca 2007"
Clinton Portis as "Slash"
Mike Sellers as "The Juggernaut"
Carlos Rogers as "Lawrence Taylor"
Antwaan Randle El as "Smurf #1"
Santana Moss as "Smurf #2"

After a stunning upset of last year's Super Bowl champions, the Cleveland Browns arrived at Fed Ex Field to take on the Washington Redskins. The underdawg Browns came into the game fairly healthy and looking to build upon last weeks' momentum. The Redskins entered this contest coming off an emotional loss to the then winless Saint Louis Rams. A classic, hard-fought battle of momentum versus redemption pit Dawg versus Hog in a critical game for both teams.

The action takes place on October 19th, 2008 at 4:15pm on Sunday night. 48 degrees. Cloudy. Fair.


Anderson: Hail Browns fans, I beseech thee! Lend me your hearts, trust, and adoration! I have demonstrated great courage in slaying the mighty Giants of York, and I shall continue my ways against these foul Swine!

Dawgs: Dearest Derek, perhaps you do deserve our trust and adoration. We shall silence the call for your fairest understudy and rally behind thee.

Anderson: Amen my friends, I shall not disappoint! Watch as I carve up these wounded hogs in route to another Cleveland victory.

Anderson and Dawgs: Cheers!

(curtain falls)

The smiles and laughter ended shortly thereafter as the Browns came up short in a late 4th quarter thriller against the Washington Redskins. Defense was the call of the day as the first points by any team came in the 3rd quarter on a 3 yard touchdown run by Clinton Portis. The 'Skins never looked back, as the Browns were in catch-up mode for the rest of the game.

Man...we really needed this one. Every game from here on out is now considered a must win as our already slim playoff chances are rapidly fading. Baltimore and Pittsburgh both came out with wins, and it will take some real movie magic for us to get back into the thick of things.

The Good
  • Discipline: The Browns looked like an entirely different team from the one we saw 6 days ago. Perhaps the biggest difference came with the elimination of the foolish penalties that plagued the team over the past few contests. There were no offensive penalties for false starts, holding, or illegal formations. In that regard, the Browns executed a flawless game on offense. The defense also showed great discipline - keeping the self-destructive plays to a minimum while executing the game plan to perfection.
  • The Defense: This is the third straight week our defense has stepped up in a big way. Brandon McDonald, Brodney Pool and company did an decent job of containing Jason Campbell and the Washington passing attack. The only weak spot in Mel Tucker's scheme is the rush defense - which Clinton Portis exploited to the tune of 175 yards. Even with Portis' superb effort, the Browns only gave up 14 points on the road. With as high octane of an offense as we have, that should have been enough to win the game.
  • Special Teams: I can't say enough about the job Dave Zastidul and the Browns special teams unit did tonight. Zastidul was masterful - downing three punts inside the 20 en route to a 37.3 yard average. While Cribbs struggled to find any game-changing seams in the return game, he took what he could and played within himself. Oh, and kudos to Gerard Lawson. That big 43 yard return sparked a stale Browns offense and put us right back into the game. I can't fault Dawson for missing that 54-yarder at the end. It wasn't his fault, and I'll address that a little bit later.
The Bad
  • Field General #3: We are quickly finding out who Derek Anderson is as this turbulent season progresses. This was the first time Donte' Stallworth, Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow were healthy and on the field at the same time. Our offensive line and running backs were near 100%. Derek had the trust of his teammates, and his confidence was at an all-time high. Rob Chudzinski's gameplan was brilliant and this was a big-time game. In other words, everything was set up perfectly for DA to come through...and he didn't. Anderson just wasn't accurate. An offense is only as good as the quarterback, and as of now, the Browns are simply too inconsistent to contend.
  • Game Management: Romeo must have had his lucky rabbit's foot today, as this one could have turned out ugly. Twice he tempted fate by gambling against common sense, and won. The Browns were down 11 points in the 4th quarter with around 5 minutes to play. After failing to score 3 times from 1 yard out, Romeo elected to go for a touchdown instead of kicking a field goal and making it a one possession game. Fortunately, Eric Wright made a huge play by stripping Portis, and DA marched the Browns down for a score (and subsequent 2 pt. conversion).
  • More Game Management: With the 'Skins nursing a 3 point lead at the 2:44 mark, the Browns had two timeouts to force a three and out in hopes of getting the ball back and driving for a final score. After the defense dug deep and stopped the Redskins on first and second down, Coach Crennel used his final timeouts and put the entire game on one play. Had Washington converted on 3rd and 5, they would have run the clock out and the game would have been over. Once again, the Browns lucked out and got the last stop which gave them a chance to score. Why put the entire game on one play so unnecessarily? Let them run two plays, take it to the two-minute warning, and use a timeout on a 3rd down stop while saving the last for a potential field goal try.
  • Even More Game Management: On the final drive of the game, the Browns had a 1st and 10 with the ball at the Washington 38 yard line. Instead of designing something to give Dawson a more realistic chance, Derek took shot after shot down the field without gaining a single yard. I appreciate the aggressive play-calling, but setting for a game-tying 54 yard field goal attempt is NOT putting this team in the best position to win. You would want at least 10 more yards to give Phil Dawson a realistic chance of tying the game up.
The Ugly
  • The Loss: I've said it before, but this loss puts us in a terrible position. Realistically, we will need things to fall our way if we hope to make it to the playoffs. Football is such a crazy game. Even with the poor offensive performance and terrible game management, the Browns remained competitive to the end, and had a chance to steal a tough road victory. In order for the Browns to reach the post season, they not only have to weather a brutal schedule , but now they need teams ahead of them to lose as well.

(the curtain rises as a clearly distraught Cleveland Browns team reappear on stage with their heads down in frustration)

Dawgs: Superman wears number 10. Quinn to win!

Our Cinderella story is quickly turning from drama to science fiction - as we undoubtedly need help from above to make it to the playoffs. Many questions remain for our beloved underdawgs: Is it finally time to see Brady Quinn? How in the world will we beat the Jacksonville Jaguars coming off a bye IN Jacksonville? And should Carlos Rogers be detained for the attempted murder of Josh Cribbs?

All of these questions and more will be answered in the next scene of Cinderella 2: The 2008 Cleveland Browns Story
Posted on: October 14, 2008 1:59 am
Edited on: October 14, 2008 2:44 am

Week 6: Cinderella 2: Act 2, Scene i

Cinderella 2: The 2008 Cleveland Browns' Story
by: Romeo Crennel and the Dawgs


Derek Anderson as "The Quarterback"
Braylon Edwards as "The Playmaker"
Jamal Lewis as himself
Eric Wright as "Deion Sanders"
Shaun Rogers as "The Refrigerator with a Motor"
Ryan Tucker as "Guess Who's Back?"
Cleveland Browns Fans as "The Dawgs"

Eli Manning as "The Goat"
Brandon Jacobs as "Tip-toe McTalksalot"
Aaron Ross as "Oh wait, there was a game today?"
Plaxico Burress as "Four Receptions"
(Justin Tuck was not available for this scene)

This scene takes place on a nationally televised ESPN telecast on Monday night. To help set the scene, take every national media writer and analyst available and praise the Giants as the greatest football team ever. CBS writer Mike Freeman contributes with a column on the Giants as the next football dynasty. Pete Prisco contributes by ranking the Browns 25th overall in the NFL power rankings. Add every nay-saying, trash talking Giants fan to the mix and the setting is perfect.

The action takes place on October 13th, 2008 at 8:30pm on Monday night. 52 degrees. Cloudy. Fair.


Anderson: Hail Browns fans, I beseech thee! Lend me your hearts, trust, and adoration! The past has looked grim, but today is a new day!

Dawgs: No good sir! Your passing has been poor and your interceptions aplenty. Your passer rating stands at 49.9!


Dawgs: Plus, our hearts are with your fairest understudy. We must boo until we see the one from Notre Dame.

Anderson: Truly you jest! Very well. I shall demonstrate I am just as good as Brady Quinn. Perhaps I'll even prove Sircheeks correct in supporting me through good and bad...

(curtain falls)

The Cleveland Browns came out in front of the National Football League and proved to the world and themselves exactly how good a football team they can be. They dominated the heavily favored Giants both offensively and defensively from the first play of the game. Everyone from the stars to the supporting cast stepped up and contributed to arguably the most complete victory in the past few years.

The Good
  • The Defense: There is so much to say about this team effort, but it all starts with the job Defensive Coordinator Mel Tucker did scheming against the number one offense in the NFL. As we've seen with the Miami Dolphins, when a team's back is against the wall and they are facing a seemingly invincible opponent - that is the proper time to dig deep into the playbook and turn the entire unit loose. Tucker frequently dialed up corner blitzes which for the most part kept the Giants contained and mitigated the damage from their explosive offensive unit. In addition, there was a UFO (unidentified flying to the offense) sighting. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
  • Pass Protection: For the past two weeks, I've been harping on Ryan Tucker's importance to the offensive line and we saw why on Monday night. Tucker and the guys did an outstanding job of picking up the blitzes and keeping Derek Anderson upright all game. That was beyond impressive. To give up zero sacks to the team tied with the third most sacks in the NFL is an amazing feat.
  • Rob Chudzinski: Where do I begin? The play-calling, the game plan, the faith in Anderson, the trust in Steve Heiden, and the commitment to Jamal Lewis were just brilliant. The Browns looked great all game - picking up first downs, staying in manageable downs and distances, and driving up and down the field thanks to a well-balanced offense and a superb understanding of New York's defense. Chud also managed to sneak the "Flash" package in there on the reverse to Harrison and the Cribbs direct run. I'm a sucker for offensive creativity and Chud stole my heart on Monday night.
  • Derek Anderson: He played one heck of a football game. Anderson started off rocky, but finished as the quarterback many of us expected to see the entire season. Derek made all the throws you'd like to see out of a quarterback. He showed great accuracy on the short routes, great touch on the deep balls, and put a little extra on throws in tight windows. Derek also did a fine job of showing discretion: taking shots down the field only when the coverage dictated he could do so. This was easily the best game I've seen from DA to this point.
  • Braylon Edwards: Big time players make big time plays. Braylon showed why he should still be considered one of the top 5 wide receivers in the game. Aside from the one drop, Edwards played a flawless game and provided leadership at a time when the Browns sorely needed that type of performance. I was also pleased to see Edwards represent himself and his family so well in his post game interviews. Braylon is a model citizen and one of the classiest guys in the NFL. I was proud to call him our star.
  • Game Management: Finally! We haven't arrived where we need to be just yet, but Romeo finally managed a good game. There were still a few silly timeouts, but they didn't end up costing us and in the end that's all that matters. I love that decision to go for two after Eric Wright's interception. A 21 point lead is much better than a 20, and Romeo made the correct decision in that situation.
The Bad
  • Special Teams: In a game where there were only a couple glaring holes, the Cleveland Browns' special teams were not so special. The New York Giants started out with great field position on nearly every drive. Part of that was due to Ahmad Bradshaw and the other part fell on special teams' Coach Ted Daisher. I look for that to improve next week against Washington.
  • Minutes Before the Half: They say good teams have the ability to come away with points at the end of the half. Well, good teams also have the ability to stop teams from scoring at the half as well. The Browns allowed the Giants to drive 80 yards down the field and score a touchdown right before the end of the first half to make it a game. This is another thing I'd like to see improve in the next weeks.
The Ugly
  • Illegal formation - Ryan Tucker
  • False start - Eric Steinbach
  • False start - Rex Hadnot
  • Illegal shift - Steve Heiden
  • False start - Rex hadnot
  • Holding - Willie McGinest
  • Illegal contact - Mike Adams
  • False start - Laurence Vickers
  • False start - Braylon Edwards
  • Holding - Steve Heiden
  • Delay of game - Derek Anderson
  • False start - Hank Fraley
One game is a fluke...two games are a trend...and more than three makes it a reality. The Browns need to take a page from momluvsfootball and quit this unhealthy habit cold turkey. I don't want to see any more offensive linemen sneaking in a few false starts just to "get their fix." No more illegal formations! Please!

We cannot continue to make those kind of mistakes in the game because we might not be so fortunate to convert next time. Braylon Edwards put it best on ESPN when he said the Browns won't be able to win football games if things like this continue. I hope the offensive linemen don't think this win justifies their sloppy play. Such poor discipline takes away from the outstanding job their unit did in a winning effort.

(the curtain rises as the Cleveland Browns reappear on stage to a thunderous ovation from fans and gentledawgs)

Dawgs: Bravo! Excellent! Go Browns!

Now, the Cinderella story continues to Week 7 of the National Football League where our protagonists encounter another colossal test in the form of the Washington Redskins. Can the Browns overcome short rest in time to face another terrifying foe? Will the Browns be able to win three straight games for the first time this season? And where in the world did Justin Tuck go?

All of these questions and more will be answered in the next scene of Cinderella 2: The 2008 Cleveland Browns Story
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com