This afternoon the Cleveland Browns had to beat the Baltimore Ravens to stay in contention for a playoff spot. Somehow, someway, they did it.
This Cleveland Browns team is not pretty. In fact, they’re about as far from pretty as you can get. It’s a blue-collar team that managed to win today in a blue-collar way — with tough defense, quarterback pressures, and big plays on offense when it counted.
I don’t think Baltimore is very good, but that’s part of the reason why today’s game was crucial. If you can’t beat the crummy teams, you don’t have a future in the NFL. Jason Campbell isn’t an all-pro quarterback, but he can make plays that Brandon Weedon can’t, and today it was just good enough. As long as the offense doesn’t give up turnovers, this Browns defense should be good enough to keep the team in a lot of games.
When it comes to the Browns, my needs are few. They’ve sucked for years; I don’t expect a sudden conversion to a Super Bowl team. What I do expect is a team that plays tough defense, doesn’t give the ball away on offense, and makes a few big plays to put some points on the board. Today, the Browns met those limited goals, and as of week 9 they are still in the hunt.
When you consider that the Browns often have been out of the playoffs by week 9, what this Browns team has delivered is good enough for me.