I’m sure readers of our blog get sick of postings about the Cleveland Browns. I ask for forgiveness. The Browns have been so wretched for so long that I just can’t help myself. And when the Browns reach 7 wins, as they did today with a lucky victory over Atlanta on the road, I feel that I need to acknowledge the occasion.
The Browns’ success this year demonstrates the wisdom of the NFL statistical gurus who take a team’s record into account and try to design schedules that will result in every team ending up 8-8. Teams that stank last year play considerably easier schedules than the tough teams that made the playoffs. That’s the sole reason the Browns have reached 7 wins this year. Still, hitting 7 wins feels good — if only because the Browns have been terrible and gotten the benefit of the cupcake schedule in past years and still laid egg after colossal egg.
I don’t think the Browns are one of the best teams in the NFL by a long shot, but their defense is improving and they have some weapons on offense with the return of Josh Gordon, the development of their two young running backs, and the fact that they finally have some reliable possession receivers. If Jordan Cameron gets healthy, the Browns could pose a challenge to opposing defenses — if they had a quarterback who didn’t make stupid decisions. Unfortunately, Brian Hoyer is regressing in that category, and his bonehead plays today produced three interceptions that almost gave the game away.
It was lucky for the Browns that they overcame three bad interceptions and won — but the main thing is they won. They remain in the hunt for a playoff spot, and it’s the latest in the season that they’ve been in contention for a long, long time. It feels good to write that.