It’s snowingDrastic Times Call For Drastic Measures

It’s the biggest game of the year for the Browns, and I haven’t done a live game blog since the ALCS, so I figured it’s about that time. It’s cold there, it’s snowing/sleeting there, it’s warm in my house….but you know what? I wish I was there partying with everyone else. Since I can’t be there to do my part in rooting them on, I’ll do what I can from my place in Columbus and keep a running live game blog. Here we go…

12:56 pm: Gus Johnson is doing this game. Is that the most underrated benefit of having a good football team? You get to actually have the “A” Team announcers rather than the “G” Team announcers. Anyway, you know Gus is gonna be jacked up for this one. Welcome to the club, buddy. “Sylvester for THREEEEEEEEEEEEE…………..YESSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I love Gus Johnson.

1:00 pm: “Great weather, we’ve got a blizzard! Buffalo! Cleveland! It’s the NFL on CBS!!” Have I mentioned how much I love Gus Johnson? Anyway, the field is completely white. Snow is coming down hard. But the crowd is not to be deterred. As the Browns come out of the tunnel, you can hear them going crazy. Have I mentioned I wish I was there?

FIRST QUARTER

1:03 pm: Josh Cribbs just took the opening kickoff back to the……..I have no idea what yard line. You can’t see anything. Gus says it’s the 33 yard line.

1:04 pm: This is like watching a game in slow motion. Quick question, why did the Browns choose to receive the kick? Wouldn’t you rather take it to start the 2nd half when the weather might be better and the field might be more clear?

1:06 pm: 20 yard pass to Braylon on 3rd down for a first down. DA doesn’t mind a little snow.

1:08 pm: On 3rd down, Winslow falls down as he slips on the snow. Browns have to punt. Safe to say this weather right now is going to slow down these offenses. Although the announcers keep trying to tell us that sometimes games in blizzards turn into shootouts. Really? When?

1:12 pm: On 3rd and 4, Davis comes in untouched and forces Edwards to just throw it away. Yeah, this thing’s really looking like a shootout waiting to happen. The good news, though, is Gus Johnson is loving this. “This weather is INCREDIBLE!!!!!! Visibility is problem. You can’t see ANYTHINGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!”

1:18 pm: UNBELIEVABLE 3rd down play. DA, with all the time in the world, keeps looking for a receiver, tries to throw to Braylon, who bobbles the ball, before a Bills defender tries to catch it but bobbles it right into Jurevicius’s hands who DOES catch it and picks up a big gain to Buffalo’s 30. 1st down Browns.

1:20 pm: After all the talk about the weather for the Patriots game, they just showed us a highlight clip of that game…and there’s NO SNOW. Meanwhile, the Browns are playing in a blizzard. Makes no sense. Meanwhile, the Titans are up 7-0. Come on Chiefs, step it up.

1:22 pm: After having it first and 10 inside the 2o, a HORRIBLE sequence of plays follows, leading to a Phil Dawson field goal. 3-0 Browns. Kinda nice to score first in a game for a change, isn’t it?

1:24 pm: Correction. It’s just been pointed out to me that the Browns scored first last week, too. My mistake. These are the things that happen when you miss a game.

1:27 pm: Gus: “These Browns fans can FEEL the playoffs coming.” You bet we can.

1:28 pm: 29 yard gain by Lynch. Ouch. Ball is on our 22 yard line. Holding them to a FG attempt in this weather is key.

1:30 pm: Andra Davis just stuffed a Lynch run on 2nd down. Huge game for Davis so far. On 3rd down, Edwards has nothing and throws it away. Now on 4th, the Bills are going for it.

1:31 pm: Incomplete pass, turnover on downs! HUGE early stand for the defense. So far, I feel comfortable with Edwards trying to throw in this snow. He looks totally uncomfortable. Seems to be a good sign. Hope that doesn’t change. 3-0 Browns still.

1:34 pm: What’s the funnier cold weather football tradition……lineman wearing short sleeves or fans wearing no shirt? I would say the fans, but the pneumonia factor probably makes it a toss up.

1:35 pm: Gus: “And Lewis POPS IT!!!!!!!!! HUGE gain!” Nice run by Jamal. 26 yards. He’s close to 50 yards already in the 1st quarter.

1:37 pm: Big Catch Joe catches a huge 3rd down conversion, but there’s an illegal formation penalty. Ridiculous.

1:38 pm: And DA is sacked on 3rd down. Figures. This is followed by some “confusion” on the Browns sideline and Crennel has to waste a time out. Since when does allowing a team to win in spite of your constant game mis-management constitute you as a Coach of the Year candidate?? Anyway, I love wasting a time out so you can punt. Makes sense, doesn’t it? End of the 1st quarter, 3-0 Browns in a shoot-out.

SECOND QUARTER

1:44 pm: Trent Edwards continues to look uncomfortable throwing, blowing an easy pass attempt on 2nd down. It’s 3rd and 10 now.

1:45 pm: On 3rd, Edwards finally completes a pass, an 8 yard pass to Lee Evans, who has to push off to even get open. It’s short of the first down, so the Browns decline. Bills to punt.

1:45 pm: HOLY COW!!! The snap goes over the punters head, who has to just kick the ball out of the back of the end zone for the safety. 5-0 Browns. For a team from a cold weather city, the Bills do not seem to be handling this snow as well as the Browns are.

1:49 pm: And the Bills kick the ensuing kickoff out of bounds. Gotta love this. Now the refs are trying to find the yard markers so they can know where to put the ball.

1:50 pm: My buddy Matt just called me from the game. He says, “This is everything you could want from a Browns game in December!” I love Browns fans. Most fans would complain about this. Not us. We’re trying to clinch a playoff spot.

1:53 pm: After a 9 yard pass to Braylon on 1st down, Lewis just leaped one defender and bounced off another for a nice gain for the first down. The offense is managing this snow. They’re not playing at 100% obviously, but they seem to be marginally effective, which is more than you can say about the Bills offense.

1:54 pm: On 3rd and 6, the Browns hand off to Wright for a 4 yard gain. I didn’t get it, until I saw they’re going for it on 4th. Come on guys………

1:54 pm: Weak play action flare pass that pretty much gets blown up from the beginning and DA has to throw it away. Not the greatest 4th and 2 play I’ve ever seen, but also not the worst. It just didn’t work out this time. Bills ball, 5-0 Browns.

1:58 pm: Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson are reminding people of Thurman Thomas and Kenneth Davis? Really? Are there many more underrated players in NFL history than Thurman Thomas? The guy was a monster of a RB. Meanwhile, after yet another Edwards incomplete pass on 3rd down, the Bills fake the punt and get the 1st down. Way to be alert guys. Seriously. 1st down Bills.

2:00 pm: Run, run, pass. Wash, rinse, repeat.

2:01 pm: On the 3rd and 8, the Bills convert a screen play for the first. This is looking like one of those drives where the Browns defense lulls themselves to sleep.

2:03 pm: On 2nd down, the Bills try to run a reverse, but Andra Davis is all over it, causing a 5 yard loss. Davis has been huge. 3rd and 16.

2:04 pm: On 3rd down, Edwards stands there forever, looking uncomfortable again, and throws it away just before getting hit. Bills punt it away, where Cribbs decides to try to field it inside the 5, muffs it, recovers it, and is immediately dropped inside the 5. Not his finest moment. Oh well, at least the defense held once again. 5-0 Browns still.

2:08 pm: 12 yard gain by Jamal on 1st down. He’s having a monster game also. 14 carries for 74 yards so far. I love it!

2:09 pm: On a hitch and go play, Braylon leaps up and makes a SENSATIONAL catch. Sorry, Gus is rubbing off on me. Seriously, though, it was a great play and an even better catch. The Browns are doing a nice job of mixing things up so far. Like I’ve been saying. The snow is bothering the offense, but it’s not stopping them. They’re still doing their thing. It’s just hard to sustain for a whole drive.

2:10 pm: Two Minute Warning, and Jamal just went over 1,000 yards for the season. Nicely done, Jamal.

2:13 pm: Big Catch Joe converts yet another 1st down coming out of the warning. I love a good play call coming out of a break. It always amazes me how often teams come out of break and run a dive play. Never makes much sense to me. Time out Browns now, as they’re looking for points. Sure would be nice to have that earlier wasted time out back, huh Romeo?

2:16 pm: Another GREAT catch by Braylon for a first down, leaping to make the grab against the sideline. 6 catches for 65 yards for Braylon.

2:17 pm: 2nd and 10, and K2 drops another pass. Out of the entire offense, K2 is the only one who seems bothered by this weather. Meanwhile, an incomplete pass on 3rd and 10. The Browns are gonna try a tough FG.

2:18 pm: Wow. Kevin Shaffer is late getting on the field for the FG attempt and the Browns have to burn a time out. It’s not that the Browns needed that time out, as much as it’s just the principle of the thing that bothers me. Meanwhile, Tasker is convinced this is a fake. We’ll see.

2:20 pm: “The Browns are gonna kick….line drive…..AND IT’S GOOD……….HOW ABOUT THAT?????!!!?!?!?!” Thank you Gus. Seriously, though, what a kick. 48 yards in this weather. Probably the best kick of Dawson’s career. “Believe-land! The Season of Dreams! The Browns are playing like there’s no tomorrow today!!!” Someone check Gus’s pulse, I’m worried something’s about to blow. 8-0 Browns.

2:22 pm: Funny how the snow and wind stopped just long enough for Dawson’s kick, and now it’s coming down harder than ever for the Bills possession. I’m just saying….

2:23 pm: The Bills just run out the clock, and it’s halftime. 8-0 Browns. What a game so far. With everything on the line, with the weather, the emotions, the longing…….It really doesn’t get much bigger and better than this. It’s like a home playoff game in December. “This is everything you could want from a Browns game in December.” Sorry, it bears repeating.

THIRD QUARTER

2:40 pm: Hey, how about that?….Trent Edwards just converted a 3rd down pass.

2:41 pm: By the way, Tennessee is losing 14-10. Come on Chiefs!

2:42 pm: On 3rd and 8, the Bills run a draw play….stuffed. No chance. They clearly have no confidence in Edwards right now. Bills punt, Browns ball, 8-0 Believe-land.

2:46 pm: Run, run, pass. Wash, rinse, repeat. Because conservative play always wins in the NFL.

2:47 pm: K2 is finally in the box score, catching his first ball and converting the 3rd down in the process. Nice play.

2:48 pm: Gus just says “Jamal picks up 3 the hard way.” Made me wonder what the easy way to gain 3 yards is. Think about it for a second.

2:49 pm: Incomplete pass on a poorly thrown ball towards K2. He never had a chance to catch it, and Browns have to punt. Zastudil UNLEASHES a monster punt, and the ball just DIES at the 2 yard line. Unreal. I’m just saying…

2:52 pm: Listen to this crowd, as the Bills are backed up against their own goal line.

2:53 pm: And like the defense usually does whenever they feel comfortable, they let up. The Bills get a nice run by Lynch, to get out of the shadows.

2:54 pm: Quick side note during this injury time out….Isn’t remarkable how much better the field is holding up than Pittsburgh’s field in incliment weather? I mean, honestly. It’s the NFL. If the Steelers can’t put in a field that can hold up against some bad weather, can we just retract the Steelers from the league? When is the last time Pittsburgh DIDN’T have the worst field in the NFL? /end Steelers rant

2:57 pm: Bills have to burn a time out as they try to get lined up for a 3rd and 4 play from their own 27. Nice to see someone else having to waste meaningful time outs.

2:59 pm: On the 3rd down play, Edwards has all the time in the world, is scared to throw, and takes off and gets the first down on the ground. Where was the D-Line on that one???

3:02 pm: Um, not sure what just happened. On 3rd down, Edwards had all day long in the pocket AGAIN, threw a pass which the ref came out to mark the spot, then called incomplete. Then there’s a penalty on the play. 5 yards against Buffalo. 3rd and 13 now. Hey defense, how about some pressure?

3:03 pm: Horrible throw by Edwards on 3rd and 13. Nowhere near anybody. Davis was applying a little bit of pressure. So the Bills have to punt, and its a miserable punt. Browns will get the ball at about their own 40. Meanwhile, Tennessee got a FG and is now trailing KC 14-13. Always tough to ask Brodie Croyle to help you clinch a playoff spot. Seriously. 8-0 Browns still.

3:05 pm: The nice thing about that last Bills possession was that they ate up a good amount of game clock and only made it to their own 40, before a pathetic 20 yard punt. Gotta love this.

3:06 pm: Tasker: “Look at this playoff situation…..if Cleveland keeps winning, they’re gonna be ok.” Thanks Steve. Wouldn’t have figured that. Meanwhile, Jacksonville is beating Pittsburgh. Keep it in the back of your mind. You know what I’m talking about.

3:08 pm: Not a good possession by the Browns at all, resulting in a quick 3 and out. 1:40 left in the 3rd, Bills ball, Browns lead 8-0.

3:11 pm: One of my favorite things about this game…..whenever they go to a sideline camera, you can hear the field crew blow drying the field. This is December football in Cleveland. Meanwhile, Jax is now up 22-7 over Pittsburgh. Shhhhhhhhh!

3:12 pm: End of the 3rd quarter. 8-0 Cleveland. I’m starting to worry that after blasting Edwards this entire blog he’s going to make a huge play to tie this game up. So let me say something nice about him………..Um……….Well……….For a rookie, he’s managing this game pretty well, and he hasn’t turned the ball over. Not once. Not one lousy turnover. He’s doing a great job protecting the ball. /end jinx attempt

FOURTH QUARTER

3:16 pm: On 3rd down, Edwards stands in the pocket for, oh, about 30 seconds before throwing an incomplete pass on a terrible throw. You know the drill….Bills are punting.

3:18 pm: Rich Rodriguez is the new Michigan coach. *snicker* Can’t wait for the first spotting of the famous Rich “Oh my gosh my team is choking in a big game yet again, whatever should I do?” Rodriguez face. *snicker*

3:20 pm: Jamal Lewis just broke a tackle, and then bowled over another defender for nice first down pickup. By the way, Jamal is now over 100 yards for the day. Meanwhile, Tennessee has just reclaimed the lead over KC. Who didn’t see that coming?

3:22 pm: Oh, look, a penalty against the Browns on a 3rd down conversion, killing another nice drive. Makes me angry.

3:24 pm: A field goal there would have clinched this game. Instead, the Browns had to punt. It’s never easy in the NFL.

3:26 pm: Andra Davis just stuffed Lynch for a loss on 1st down. Defensive Player of the Game thus far is easily Davis.

3:27 pm: 4 yard completion on 2nd down, before an incompletion on 3rd down for Edwards. Has he completed a pass over 4 yards all day today? Bill are punting, 9 minutes left, 8-0 Browns.

3:32 pm: Yawn…..this game has slowly devolved into a battle of 3 and outs. Bills ball.

Still snowing3:35 pm: 22-14 Jax. 23-17 Tennessee.

3:37 pm: 3rd and 8, and the Bills hand it off. Yep. Can you feel the sense of urgency?? Bills finally get a nice punt off and the Browns are backed against their own goal line, at their own 3 yard line. 6:08 to go. 8-0 Browns.

3:39 pm: Jamal just picked up 13 yards on first down, carrying defenders with him. This guy is a beast.

3:39 pm: The next play he goes for 8 more yards. 29 carries for 142 yards on the day.

3:41 pm: Jamal Lewis is taking over this game. After picking up another first down, he picks up “3 the hard way”. Then Wright picks up 10 more yards on the next play to pick up the first down. The O-Line is punishing the Bills’ D-Line right now. 2:47 and counting in the game.

3:42 pm: The Bills just used their 2nd time out. CBS used this time to show us some nice clips of that fateful Browns-Bills playoff games. One of the more pleasant Browns playoff memories.

3:44 pm: Jamal comes back in and picks up a nice gain and Buffalo uses their final time out with 2:24 left in the game. Interesting to say the least. If the Browns can pick up a 1st down here, this game is over.

3:45 pm: On 3rd and 7, Jamal gets about 5 or 6, leading to a 4th and 1 as we head to the 2-minute warning. 8-0 Browns.

3:46 pm: HOLD ON………after measuring, the Browns are going for it?!?!?

3:47 pm: Well, lets go to the real 2 minute warning first. I wonder if they didn’t just leave DA out there to get to the warning. We’ll see. If the Browns really are going for it, this is one heck of a gutsy call.

3:49 pm: The Browns lined up, tried to draw Buffalo offsides, and then called a time out and are now punting. Probably a good call. Although, does anyone remember the last time Roscoe Parrish returned a punt late in a game against an Ohio team? I sure do. Yikes!

3:50 pm: Bills ball at the 30, no time outs, 1:51 to go in the game. It’s Trent Edwards time, ladies and gentlemen.

3:51 pm: On 1st down, Edwards throws a pass that is tipped and should have been intercepted. Give me a break.

3:52 pm: Oh come on………On 2nd down, Edwards is hit as he throws and the duck somehow finds a wide receiver at midfield. Lame.

3:53 pm: A screen play picks up 15 yards. Bills ball at the 35 with 1:02 left. Gotta love the Browns defense.

3:53 pm: Edwards’ first down deep throw goes out of bounds. Nice throw buddy.

3:54 pm: 2nd down, incomplete. 2 to go.

3:55 pm: 3rd down, incomplete. 1 to go.

3:55 pm: Browns call a time out. I don’t like this at all. Why give Buffalo time to come up with a nifty play? Meanwhile, Pittsburgh has tied the game, and the Chiefs are still losing 26-17. Nothing’s ever easy.

3:57 pm: 4th down, complete. Typical. Bills ball at the 15, 28 seconds left. Here we go.

3:58 pm: Unreal. On 2nd down, the Bills throw a short pass which the Browns should have tackled in bounds, but they miss the tackle and the Bills get out of bounds. 21 seconds left.

3:59 pm: Gus Johnson is going nuts. It’s 4th and 5 at the 10, 15 seconds left.

3:59 pm: Edwards dumps it short, AND HE’S STOPPED FOR NO GAIN. BROWNS BALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4:00 pm: The Browns take the knee, AND THIS ONE’S OVER!!!!!! The Browns are almost certainly on their way to the playoffs. It doesn’t get any better than this. Meanwhile, Jax has taken a 29-22 lead in Pittsburgh on that wreck of a field. What a roller coaster ride this has all been. “This is everything you could want from a Browns game in December!” Ain’t that the truth.

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