The Cleveland Browns are hanging in there against some of the league’s best teams. Are they legitimately good or getting very lucky?
Alright, nobody can be that excited about 0-1-1. It’s not winning a single game, although wen you’re the Cleveland Browns, that’s at least cause for excitement.
After going 1-31 in the previous two seasons — including an 0-16 campaign last year — Browns fans are rightfully looking for anything to celebrate. While the signs are still faint, they are beginning to appear. In an almost impossible situation, the Browns nearly beat the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome, losing 21-18 in a contest that many believed would be a blowout.
Last week, the Browns needed six turnovers to tie the Pittsburgh Steelers at home, playing through a driving rainstorm. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t even all that effective in terms of game plan, but Cleveland was able to make plays it couldn’t in the past. Without a blocked field goal at the end of overtime, the Browns could have very well won the game, putting a smile on the faces of everybody in BelieveLand.
This week, much of the same. The Browns were going into one of the toughest places in the league to play, with the Saints coming off an embarrassing 48-40 defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The general consensus was that the Browns would get exposed. Instead, they stood their ground and took a playoff team from a year ago to the brink of 0-2. Not bad.
The defense wasn’t perfect, but holding New Orleans to 21 points at home is an accomplishment. Drew Brees only threw for 243 yards, while Alvin Kamara could muster only 46 yards on 13 carries. Ultimately, none of it matters in the final analysis because a loss is indeed a loss, but it still denotes progress.
The Browns aren’t making the playoffs. Hell, they might not win four or five games. Still, this isn’t the same team no matter how many missed kicks continue to bedevil them.