Monday, November 07, 2005

The Morning After: Tennessee

Browns 20, Titans 14
Record: 3-5

Reuben Droughns isn't a Pro-Bowler. At least this year. But after watching him rebound from a drunken-driving charge last week to post 116 rushing yards and wear the Titans defense down in the second half, I exhale slowly when I say that the Browns maybe, possibly, hopefully, potentially have found a running back worth building around.
Through eight games, Droughns has amassed nearly 650 yards. He is on pace to just about match his 1,240-yard total from last year with the Broncos.
In Denver, 1,240 yards is par for the course. In Cleveland, it would be a feat 20 years in the making.
Sunday was revenge of the spurned for more than just Droughns. Trent Dilfer attached some suspenders to his ego, hitched it up, and passed for 272 yards and a touchdown.
Punter Kyle Richardson picked the windiest day of the year to turn from Derrick Frost impersonator to Chris Gardocki impersonator, sticking punts deep in Titan territory as if he were using a wedge.
Even Dennis Northcutt, the forgotten receiver, snagged a touchdown.
OK, so it was the abysmal Titans (2-7), but when you are on a three-game losing streak, the team on the other sideline doesn't matter as much. This was the same Browns team that lost a home game to the Lions two weeks ago. Nothing can be dismissed as cheap with this team.
I hold no delusions of storming Rome and beating the Steelers on national television next Sunday. The Browns will be overmatched, just like they were against the Bengals in Week 1, just like they were against the Ravens a month ago. The Browns are still likely candidates to go 0-6 in the division.
But if we suffer through the divisional mismatches, our reward is the occassional game like Sunday's, when the Browns look like they might eventually get somewhere good.

Up next: at Pittsburgh, Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET.

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