BEREA - The Browns season comes down to the Colts playing the Titans in a nationally televised game next Sunday night. For the Browns to get to the playoffs, for all practical purposes, the Titans must lose.
“As a result, we’ve lost control of our destiny,” Romeo Crennel said. “All that we can control is our game. I want to win that game. We’ve played well in front of our home fans and we hope that will continue.
“We lost a golden opportunity because we don’t have control, now,” he said. “We have to get over this loss. Every body is disappointed, but there’s still a possibility that we could get into the playoffs. We need to win and let the chips fall where they may. If we let the disappointment linger, we’ll lose on Sunday.”
A Browns win would give the team a 10-6 record, but would have little effect on the playoffs. The only scenario that a win or loss against the 49ers comes into play would be if the Colts and Titans were to tie. In that case, a Browns win would insure they were to go to the playoffs if the two teams were to tie. However, because of the 15 minute overtime, only about two percent of NFL games result in a tie.
In either case, Crennel plans on playing to win.
“It’s the next game, and I approach it that way,” he said. “What kind of message do I send if I don’t approach it to win.”
Crennel doesn’t like to be at the mercy of the Colts to determine his destiny. Crennel was asked if he would send Colts’ coach Tony Dungy a gift this week.
“I think Tony is just like all the other coaches in this league,” he said. “He’s going to do what he thinks is best for his team. I don’t think he’s concerned with what happens to us.”
The Colts have already clinched a bye for the first week of the playoffs and some teams rest their starters in these situations. The game has been moved to prime time Sunday night and the Browns are hoping the Colts play with a sense of urgency. There has been some speculation that Peyton Manning might play just a half. Also, Joseph Addai has been bothered with an injury, as has safety Bob Sanders.
“If (Dungy) chooses not to play his starters, that’s up to him,” Crennel said.
Crennel was asked what he would do if he were in the same situation.
“I’d love to be in that situation, but I haven’t been in that situation, so it would be speculation.”
Road Woes: The Browns finished 3-5 on the road this season, with three disappointing losses to teams they could’ve beaten in Oakland, Arizona and Cincinnati.
“We’re disappointed in the outcome of the games on the road,” Crennel said. “The story of the (Cincinnati) game is the turnovers. It’s hard to overcome turnovers anytime, but especially on the road.”
Crennel said he hopes the team has learned from the experience.
“You have to go through the experience and learn from them to see what you could do better.”
Anderson Climbs: Despite posting one of his worst outings in his career, QB Derek Anderson continues to climb the Browns’ record books. He threw two touchdown passes against the Bengals to give him 28 on the season. He now is tied with Brian Sipe for the third best season in Browns’ history in terms of touchdown passes. Sipe had 28 in 1979. Frank Ryan had 29 in 1966 and Sipe holds the record of 30, set in 1980. His 3,635 yards passing is the fifth best in team history. With 242 yards, Anderson can pass Sipe and have the second best passing yards season in team history. Sipe accomplished that feat (3,876 yards in 1981). The No. 1 season was 1980 when Sipe threw for 4,132 yards. Anderson is 497 yards short of Sipe’s 1980 season. Currently, Anderson is 287-of-507 for 3,635 yards (56.6 pct.) with 28 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He has been sacked 13 times and has a QB rating of 82.7.
Crennel said although the wind was a big factor, Anderson still had a bad game.
“When you turn the ball over four times, you didn’t play very good,” Crennel said. “There were a couple of throws he’d like to have back. He did bring the team back and that’s kind of how the season has played out.”
Crennel was asked if he wished the Browns would’ve just run the ball in the final two minutes of the first half, rather than throw two interceptions that resulted in 13 points.
“I regret we threw the picks,” he said. “We’ve had times in those situations where we’ve went down and been aggressive and scored points in that situation.”
Kelley, Adams to IR: The Browns were hit again on the defensive line as Ethan Kelley, Orpheus Roye and Robaire Smith were banged up. Kelley has been placed on injured reserve, as has DB Mike Adams. Smith returned in the second half and Roye played, but Kelley did not. Adams injured his knee against the Bengals and will have an MRI. He was helped off the field. Kelley (knee) and Roye (foot) will also have MRI’s and be updated. LB Antwan Peek (ankle) returned to action. DL Shaun Smith was on the injury report, but didn’t suffere any setbacks against Cincinnati. Of the six defensive linemen on the roster, only Simon Fraser and rookie Louis Leonard are not on the injury report.
Potential replacements for the active roster for Kelley would be 2007 draft choices, Chase Pittman or Melila Purcell, who are currently on the practice squad. A.J. Davis is a DB on the practice squad.
Who’s Call: K Phil Dawson and H Dave Zastudil said a gust of wind came up just before the botched snap on the first field goal attempt. Zastudil said Dawson was trying to wait as long as possible to see if the wind would die down.
Crennel was asked if Dawson could’ve called a timeout in that situation.
“That’s a coaching call,” he said. “He thought it would settle down, but you never know if it will.”