Derry: Thank You, Phil Dawson
Phil Dawson
OBR Columnist
Posted Nov 18, 2008


Frank Derry's thoughts on the Browns 29-27 win over the Bills...

 

Thank you, Phil Dawson.

Thank you for not allowing the Cleveland Browns to become a negative part of NFL history before a national television audience on Monday Night Football. Thank you for providing Browns fans everywhere with a little bit of pleasure in an otherwise disappointing, disgusting, dreadful (fill in your own adjective) season.

Dawson’s personal-best 56-yard field goal with 1:39 to play lifted the Browns to the thrilling two-point victory over the faltering Buffalo Bills, who fall to 5-5 with their fourth straight loss.

Had Buffalo won, and it wasn’t decided until Rian Lindell’s 47-yard field goal sailed wide right as time expired, the Browns would have become the first team in NFL history to blow 13-point or better leads in three straight games.

As you undoubtedly remember, the Browns led the Ravens by 14 in Week Eight before losing 37-27. Four days later they blew a 13-point lead against the Broncos and came out on the short end, 34-30.

This time they led 13-0 in the first half and 23-10 in the fourth quarter.

It’s highly doubtful this game will matter much in the long run for the 4-6 Browns, but for a few hours Browns fans throughout the land had the opportunity to bask in the glory of the team’s second Monday Night victory of the season. We all remember the romp past the World Champion New York Giants, who still have that setback as the only blemish on their record.

***

Memo to Phil Savage:

Sometime this coming February or early March, when you have come to the inevitable conclusion that Cleveland isn’t big enough for both Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson, give a call to Ralph Wilson, Jr.

Begin the conversation by congratulating him on his many successful years as owner of the Buffalo Bills, first in the American Football League and since 1970 in the NFL. Then remind him of that chilly night in mid-November when his team pretty much saw its playoff hopes end with its last-minute loss to the lowly Cleveland Browns.

Make sure that he remembers it was the Browns who made the trade that allowed him to draft Jim Kelly, the Hall of Fame quarterback who led the Bills to their finest years. And tell him that he can achieve that same success with a Pro Bowl quarterback in Anderson.

And all that you’ll ask in return is, say, a first round draft pick in 2009.

After watching Trent Edwards, Wilson might jump at the chance to acquire a quarterback who has shown of flashes of brilliance in his limited time as an NFL starter.

I doubt very seriously whether Brady Quinn before Monday night had ever hit on one of eight passes in a quarter and been by far the best quarterback on the field. But that was the case in the first quarter against the Bills.

Quinn’s only completion was to fullback Charles Ali of all people. But that was far better than Edwards’ horrendous performance that included three interceptions. The first pick, by Kamerion Winbley, came as a result of Shaun Rogers’ tipped pass on the first play of the game. Rogers, who was questionable right up to game time, was triple-teamed on the play but still managed to elevate his 350-plus pound body high enough to get a hand on the ball.

The first quarter picks allowed the Browns to build a 6-0 lead despite getting no first downs.

Quinn’s stats would have been a little better in the first quarter if Braylon Edwards hadn’t dropped a perfect pass on the 5 yard line. It was Edwards’ 13th drop of the season, matching his total for all of 2007.

Both Edwards—Braylon and Trent -- finally got on track in the second quarter. Braylon caught three passes in what might have been his best overall quarter of the season and he finished the night with eight receptions for 104 yards. Trent, meanwhile, had a touchdown pass and also led the Bills to a half-ending field goal that cut the deficit to 13-10.

***

The more I see of Brandon McDonald, the more he reminds me of Deion Sanders. Unfortunately, that’s not a compliment. Sanders was, in my opinion, the worst tackler in the history of the NFL. Now, however, that title goes to McDonald, who seems scared to death to even try to make a tackle.

It happened against the Broncos when Daniel Graham scored on a 28-yard pass in the fourth quarter. And it happened again in the second quarter against the Bills when Marshawn Lynch scored on an 18 yard pass.

It was mentioned by the announcers that seven Browns had a chance to tackle Graham. In reality, only six had a chance. McDonald had no chance because he refused to give up his body to try and make the stop.

On the other hand, you also have to give McDonald a couple of props. He not only made a nice play to intercept a pass, but he also forced a key fumble in the second.

Still, his attempt to tackle is definitely Sanders-like. And until he starts covering receivers the ways Sanders did, I look at him as a detriment to this team.

***

Hopefully, Jerome Harrison’s 72-yard touchdown run to begin the fourth quarter will finally convince the Browns’ coaching staff that he MUST be used more than just a few times a game.

Nothing against Jamal Lewis, who can definitely still pick up the tough yards, but Harrison provides a scoring threat every time he touches the ball.

 


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