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The Browns Scrap the Steelers in a Blowout, Head into Soft Stretch of Schedule Over .500.
So how do we feel?...
K-Dubs, the Soldier: Halle-freaking-lullah! The Browns beat the Steelers … in a 31-10 rout! I cannot remember a more exciting blowout. Seriously, when Brian Hoyer hit tight end Jordan Cameron down the middle of the field for a 51-yard touchdown halfway through the second quarter, this game already felt like it was over. But the game just kept getting better. Hoyer was nearly flawless in executing a Kyle Shanahan misdirection passing game, as the offense continues to put up big numbers each week. Even though Hoyer’s completion percentage was below 50 percent (8 for 17), he had a healthy yards-per-attempt average of 12.8 yards. The defense did tighten up, as well, giving up far fewer points than their previous average of 26.3 points, and shockingly sacked the seemingly unsackable Ben Roethlisberger twice. The team continues to improve (in most facets of the game) each week, and with a soft patch in schedule coming up with games against Jacksonville (0-6), Oakland (0-5), and Tampa Bay (1-5), the Browns have a legitimate shot at having a 6-2 record going into Cincinnati on November 6th. They did, however, suffer an injury that could turn the season south really quickly. Pro-Bowl center Alex Mack broke his leg and is out for the season.
Big$: I’m not gonna lie, at about 3pm Sunday a smile started to form on my face and it lasted straight through bed time/passing out that night. However, come Monday morning, reality sunk in as I pondered three issues I could not ignore. First, the Steelers are on a steady decline with much of the blame falling on the league passing Polamalu and Labeau by. The once-feared duo has transformed into a couple of Jani Lanes in a room full of Cobains. (editor's note: great line Big$.) Second, the Browns were 3-2 at this time last year, and we know how that ended. Now before you can say “But Hoyer got hur….”, remember Alex Mack is equally, if not more, important to the offense, and we won’t see him again. Last but not least a worse version of these Jags defeated a version of these Browns who, when you factor in the loss of Gordon, aren’t much different on paper. So in conclusion, I thank the Browns for the nine hours of joy last Sunday, and it’s cool to hear the ESPN talking heads take notice, but it’s going to be a few more weeks before I’m really feeling good.
Q) Who would you like to see LeBron James start in place of this week?
Big$: Now I know the King isn’t the most physical dude on the planet, but with his size and ups I think he would give young Blake Bortles fits by just standing on the D line and jumping up and down with his arms up. So I’m pegging LBJ to step in for the injured Armonty Bryant this week.
K-Dubs, the Soldier: For the second week in a row, I wish the Cavs No. 23 would suit up in place of Browns No. 22, Buster Skrine. Don’t let Skrine’s interception last week fool you. That was a wounded duck that happened to fall at his feet, which just happened to be out of position anyway. He continues to get beat so bad on some plays that I swear he must have gotten injured at the snap until I see him rush into the screen as the ball reaches the receiver. Having a five-time member of the NBA’s All-Defense Team lining up against the Jaguars second-best receiver would put my mind at ease.
Q) What do you expect this week?
K-Dubs, the Soldier: It is a weird feeling to say that I now expect wins now, but I expect the Browns to move to 4-2 against the winless Jags this week. The Browns now have the second-best running attack in the league, and they’ll be up against the 18th-best rushing defense. The Browns should be able move the ball on the ground - even without Mack -setting up short-yardage situations on third downs against a unit that ranks 30th against the pass. And, unfortunately for the Jags, the defense is the best part of their team. Jacksonville’s offense ranks dead last, and it is led by a rookie quarterback in Blake Bortles. Bortles has shown some promise, but now he has a touchdown to interception ratio of nearly 1 to 2 (4 TDs, 7 Ints). The Browns, who have only turned the ball over once this year, should be on the positive end of the giveaway-takeaway. Look for a 27-10 win for the Browns on the road.
Big$: In stark contrast, I have fully prepared myself for a big letdown. With the injuries the Browns have sustained across the defensive front I could see the Jags headed towards a Jerome Harrison-esque NFL record type running day (or a Biakabatuka for our Columbus readers). I don’t know if the Browns really know how to sustain a winning culture at this point. I hope to be proved wrong, but I see a 24-14 Jaguars victory.