The Cleveland Browns replaced their general manager last week and so you might think I was worried heading into yesterday’s game against Green Bay. I wasn’t. I was in a full-blown panic.
That’s like changing the catcher in the seventh inning of a no-hitter. Why would you do that? There was great chemistry in that organization and the goal was in sight. Then they go and change up everything by bringing in John Dorsey.
Yes, I was tripping. And so was everyone living the 0-16 dream right alongside the Browns. Now, I have to admit, when the Browns started quickly falling behind 7-0, I felt a helluva lot better. That was so comforting. Like, changing the GM on the Browns was just switching curtains on the Titanic. You can’t keep a good team down. But then something happened.
The Browns scored. DeShone Kizer hit Josh Gordon for a touchdown:
There are a lot of things I could say about that play and about Josh Gordon. Like the fact that he’s been out of the game for years and comes back looking like he didn’t even miss a snap. Like the fact that his return is the thing that scares me the most about the Cleveland Browns. And that throwing on sunglasses on the sideline was truly awesome.
And it was cool that he scored, I guess. But then things got really weird. Because not only did the Browns tie the game at 7, they did something even more bizarre and troubling. They scored again.
Now it’s 14-7 Cleveland, and the Brown choke is on. They’re not focused, they’re not paying attention to detail, they’re not executing, they’re not doing their job, because they’re trying. And it’s working. And it’s infuriating. Because they’re winning. And while I was cool on the outside, I’m not going to lie: I badly rattled. To be really honestly, I was a wreck. I thought I was having an anxiety attack. I couldn’t catch my breath. Then I thought it was going to explode. For me I thought I suffered a stroke. Because it was all coming back to me. Blowing this in December would be the most Cleveland thing ever. And I was sure they were going to do it. . Especially when Kizer hit Corey Coleman for a 2 yard touchdown pass.
Now it’s 21-7 and Kizer is just lighting up the Packers secondary. And it’s not like the Packers don’t have something to play for, they had everything to play for. Win this game, get a healthy checkup for Aaron Rodgers, and they’ve got their MVP candidate back on the field for the stretch run. But they were blowing it and more importantly, the Browns were blowing it, too.
Trust, me, for a franchise that has repeatedly stabbed their fan base in the heart over and over again, choking and beating this busted up Packer team with a backup q.b., would officially be rock bottom for this franchise. And their fans. This is not how it’s supposed to go; this was my worst nightmare playing out right before my eyes. Those chokers went into the fourth quarter with a two t.d. lead.
Green Bay cut it to 21-14, but that was just window dressing. Cleveland had already put together touchdown drives of 88 yards, 70 yards, and 84 yards. They were going to find a way to blow this and beat the Packers. I was sure of it. I was looking for my all-time favorite Browns fan. You know who I’m talking about the: the “oh my god, this is not happening” lady! We were going to scream it together as another dream season went up in flames. OH MY GOD! THIS IS NOT HAPPENING!!
That is, until this happened Packer Trevor Davis breaking off a 65-yard punt return to the Browns 25 yard line with 2:37 left in the fourth.
Now we’re talking! That’s my team! That’s the Browns I love. Man down, baby! When the going gets tough, the tough quit! When life gives you lemons, quit!
Bret Hundley then hits Davante Adams for a 1 yard t.d. to tie the game. And then all seems right in the world. It seemed right, but you never really know with these guys; they’ve come close before going right into the tank. Personally, I think the worst thing you could ever say about an athlete or a team is that they choked. But these guys have choked. In the biggest moments, and I couldn’t help but wonder if they would do it again. In o.t. but then that’s when my man DeShone Kizer remembered he was DeShone Kizer. A guy who had a very good game,only to throw a very bad pick.
The Packers then drove to the Browns 25 and then this happened:
Davante Adams went Flipper Anderson with it. Caught it, ran into the end zone, and down the tunnel. Game over. Perfect season still alive. Joe Reedy of the AP tweeted: That is now the 22nd time since 1999 #Browns have lost on final play (fourth with Hue). 26th loss in final 10 seconds or OT.
That is incredible. And awesome. And awful. And way too close for comfort. Stop….messing…with…me.
The easy thing would be to just keep playing one clip after another of angry Browns fans and talk about the Factory of Sadness, to say “how very Browns of you to blow a two-touchdown lead at home to a backup quarterback,” and say that’s so Cleveland. That’s what most people are doing. Not me. I’m not about that.
I’m not here to destroy the Browns: I’m here to hype them up for finally showing the heart to man the hell down when they had to. This is what it takes if you want to go down in history as arguably the worst team; but you have to want it. And choking away a two t.d. lead in the fourth quarter shows me they do. And that they have what it takes. I no longer need to lecture them about how no one remembers 1-15, but that 0-16 is forever: judging from that huge loss yesterday, every last one of them knows it; and wants it.
Fellas, I have never been so proud of you; really of anyone, ever, in any walk of life. Now do what you do; namely nothing. 13 down, 3 to go. Eyes on the prize. You can do this. You will do this. And when you do, no one will ever be able to take this from you. And you will be some of the biggest losers ever. And will always be known as such. Don’t choke now. You can do it. I’m with you. We all are.