Monday, October 10, 2005

The Morning After: Chicago

Either the Browns defense was that good Sunday, or the Bears offense was that bad.
I'm more inclined to go with the latter.
The Browns' 20-10 win over the Bears was a quick-strike, come-from behind victory. To look at the line score, and see the 14 points Cleveland posted in the fourth quarter, you might get the impression that Trent Dilfer and the boys spent the afternoon stalking Chicago, waiting for the moment to spring the winning flurry of points on them.
Instead, Trent Dilfer was his usual resourceful self. That's not entirely a compliment. Dilfer slumped at the right time, recovering from a lousy first half to post a respectable second half. What he did do was never lose control of his team, even as he threw a couple of bush league picks reminiscent of Luke McCown last year.
Bears quarterback Kyle Orton, meanwhile, just slumped, and never really had control of his offense. If Thomas Jones hadn't pushed the Browns defensive line around for 137 yards on 24 rushes, this might have been a rout. Or at least a shutout.
When the Browns lost to the Colts 13-6 two weeks ago, I said if they played a game like that one against a lesser team, they'd win it. I was wrong.
The Browns played a worse game against Chicago, and still won. The crux of the win was the harrassment of Orton by the Browns' defense, forcing him into hurried passes and bad decisions. The Browns didn't net an inteception on defense, but held Orton to 16-for-26 passes and a meager 90 yards. Even with the two picks, Dilfer was 23-for-34 for 202 yards.
I hope the Browns don't get too big a head too soon. Facing the weak NFC North, the Browns might eke out other wins like this. But it doesn't mean there isn't still a long rebuilding road ahead. But wins like Sunday's soothe the bruises from last year, a least a bit. Last year, this is the type of game they would have lost.

Up next: at Baltimore, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET.

1 comment:

Abrasivist said...

Watching the Steelers take care of business on Monday night should keep the Brown's ego in check.