What do Scott Weiland and the Cleveland Steamers, eh, Browns have in common? Glad you asked. Scott Weiland spent his glory years with the Stone Temple Pilots in the 90’s. The Browns spent their glory years in Cleveland until 1995, when they were shipped to Baltimore by Cleveland’s Antichrist, Art Modell. Weiland often battled a heroin addiction; Cleveland fans battled not having a team to support. Weiland never achieved the same level of musical quality or cultural relevance after splitting with the band (Editor’s note: Sorry, Velvet Revolver doesn’t quite cut it). The Browns have had only two winning seasons in the past nine years, and only made the playoffs in one of those years. Oh, and Weiland has a new song out right now – what’s the name of that song?
Oh, right: “Missing Cleveland.”
Which any pure NFL fan with an appreciation for traditional football organizations does. Which the old Dawg Pound most certainly did for the three years Cleveland was team-less. Cleveland fans are some of the best football fans in America, and they deserved better than losing their team, and they deserve better than this one. So, that being said, hopefully the Eagles will decimate the Browns tonight and keep their playoff hopes alive.
But just know, Cleveland: I feel for you. I really do. Now to my game notes.
8: 29 PM: Oh man, the ESPN pregame crew is so super funny. They are all giggling, pretending like they might not pick the Eagles in this game. What whimsical irony they deftly wield in front of our eyes like the most graceful of swordsmen. (Editor’s note: What mildly phallic prose The Pundit stumbles over in his attempts at high-minded wit).
8:34 PM: Does any sport lend itself to better sexual innuendo than football? Brian Westbrook really hits the hole hard. The tight end was wide open. Good catch. The Browns are unveiling their flash package. I mean, it’s friggin’ priceless. (Editor’s note: This post has not yet been rated).
8:43 PM: Very nice sideline catch by Jason “Idiot” Avant.
8:45 PM: The Eagles are doing what they need to do early – mixing the running game with the passing attack and marching down the field, all topped off by a beautiful catch by Kevin Curtis in the end zone. Nice ball, nice jumping catch, and the Eagles take the 7-0 lead.
8:53 PM: Josh Cribbs gets a first down on a counter run in the flash package. They should probably just let Cribbs play quarterback.
8:54 PM: Spoke to soon. Ken Dorsey beats the blitz and throws a perfect fade to Braylon Edwards. Good God, the Browns are threatening to score their first touchdown after three games without one!
8:57 PM: Ah, it’s just the Browns. Their no-touchdown streak lives on; 7-3 Eagles.
8:59 PM: Another nice return by Demps – I love this kid’s motor.
9:04 PM: Apparently, Jason Avant is our first-down guy tonight. Nice snag over the middle to keep the drive going. So far, the offense is balanced. But what happens when the scripted plays run out…
9:10 PM: Another nice drive by the Eagles offense, though they couldn’t punch it in. 10-3 Birds.
9:11 PM: Is anybody else completely done with the UPS whiteboard guy? (Editor’s note: Yup).
9:17 PM: Stewart Bradley blasts Jamal Lewis at the line of scrimmage. Great pursuit angle by Bradley on the play. One play later, the Eagles blow up Cribbs in the Flash. The Eagles D, after the Browns worked down the field on the first drive, have suddenly awoken.
9:23 PM: Jaworski has been highlighting it, and it’s a very good point: Westbrook, other than being an amazing runner and receiver out of the backfield, is also very adroit at picking up the blitz in the passing game. It certainly has helped McNabb, who has been on point with his passes: 11-15 to open the game.
9:29 PM: Sometimes, we all get a little too fancy. Like the Eagles running the Wildcat on third-and-goal and having DeSean Jackson throw the ball. Which resulted in an interception. Bollocks! (Editor’s note: Though a better throw by Jackson may have resulted in a TD. That’s it – put in Kevin Kolb. For DeSean Jackson. Trust me, it’ll get the point across…) Three drives into the red zone on three possessions, and only 10 points. The one thing you do not want to do with a team like the Browns is let them hang around – put them away while you have the chance, and don’t give them any unnecessary confidence.
9:35 PM: Asante Samuel intercepts a Dorsey pass, and takes it to the house. That’s why he makes the big bucks, people. Though he almost pulled a DeSean by dropping the ball before the goal line. Thankfully, he woke up and picked the ball up in the end zone. Guys, just act like you’ve been there before. Nice job by Chris Clemons getting pressure on Dorsey and forcing the poor throw. You’re off the hook, DeSean. (Editor’s note: Alright Kolb, sit back down, buddy).
9:43 PM: Trent Cole wills his way to another sack. Another man that needs a nickname. What about Trent Coletrain? (Editor’s note: Not bad, though there’s really no musical connection).
9:45 PM: You know a team is in trouble when one of the graphics ESPN has prepared for you is the potential coaches that will take over for the incumbent after the year. Ah, the poor, poor Cleveland fans.
9:54 PM: WHY CAN’T THE EAGLES FINISH A HALF WITHOUT SOMETHING NEGATIVE HAPPENING? McNabb under throws a fade, and if it weren’t for the hustle of Brian Westbrook and friends, the Browns would have returned the pick for a TD. Aaaaaaaaaaaggggggggghhhhhhh! (Editor’s note: Though it was a pretty one-handed pick by Brandon McDonald). The Eagles have been in the red zone four times, and have 10 points for their efforts. That’s just not good enough, but they still lead at the half, 17-7. Thank God we’re playing the Steamers.
10:11 PM: Braylon Edwards is really playing well tonight – another very nice grab by Mr. Monday Night.
10:22 PM: The Eagles are moving once more – another third-down conversion to Action Jackson. (Editor’s note: Oh, we’re doing that now?) Amazing what manageable third-downs can do for an offense. (Editor’s note: Alright, now you’re just being damn smug about this whole offensive balance thing).
10:30 PM: Five red zone trips, and only 13 offensive points. I know the score is 20-3 in the favor of the Birds, but their chances in the red zone against the Redskins and Cowboys will be more limited than this. You have to be able to convert these opportunities – it’s about consistent efficiency, people.
10:41 PM: Another beautiful throw from McNabb to First-Down Avant. Not sure what the Eagles third-down conversions are at right now, but it has to be at a high percentage.
10:46 PM: 10-14 on third downs after the Eagles again fail to convert in the red zone, or as Jaws so eloquently put it, the Vomit Zone. (Editor’s Note: While enjoying your stay at the Vomit Zone, be sure to check out feature films at our state-of-the-art multiplex. Now playing: “2 Girls 1 Cup.” Do enjoy!) Eagles up 23-3, early fourth.
10:52 PM: Wow. Ken Dorsey just threw an inexplicable duck right into the hands of a surprised Stewart Bradley. I don’t think there was a Brown within ten yards of Bradley. I can already imagine the conversation between Romeo Crennel and Ken Dorsey on the sideline.
Crennel: Man, what was that?
Dorsey: Sorry coach, I, uh, thought I could squeeze it in there.
Crennel: Into where? There wasn’t one of our guys in the vicinity of that pass!
Dorsey: Would this be a strange time to tell you that I’m color blind?
Crennel: For one, yes, now would be a completely inexcusable time to mention that you’re color blind. And on top of that, even if you’re color blind, you could still distinguish between their dark tops and our white tops.
Dorsey: Would now be a strange time to tell you that I suffer from frequent bursts of random amnesia?
Crennel: Good God, just fire me already…
10:56 PM: Holy cow, the Eagles scored a red zone TD! Alright, Eagles. Greg Lewis, who is still, inexplicably, on this team, was sitting in a hole in the defense at the back of the end zone. 30-3 Eagles.
11:06 PM: Oh no! Andy Reid benched Donovan and put Kevin Kolb in the game! All is lost. For the Browns. Let’s see what the Kolbler can do. Wow, I didn’t so much as finish typing before Kolb threw a pick to McDonald, who took his second pick to the house. And the Browns finally score a touchdown. Congrats, fellas. Oh, and let’s definitely get rid of McNabb after the season is over – Kevin Kolb is without doubt ready to take over the reins of this offense. (Editor’s note: In the immortal words of Borat Sagdiyev: “Not!”)
11:14 PM: And there it is! The inevitable reference to Philadelphia fans throwing snowballs at Santa Claus! Our streak lives on – that’s now 1,238,543 consecutive national broadcasts with the Santa Claus story being mentioned! For the love of God, let it go! (Editor’s note: Anybody know if Santa retaliated by throwing coal into the stands?)
11:22 PM: Well, it’s the two-minute warning. I think I’ll be signing off now. Eagles stay alive in the playoff race, and start to prepare for the Redskins. This one was never really in question. Keep your heads up, Cleveland fans: karma will swing your way soon. Hopefully, the Browns will field a successful team once more.
You deserve nothing less.