Cleveland is a sports town, but we've been through a drought. This weekend has the city on a high, with the Indians (hate the name, love the team) making it into the finals, and the Browns, after two straight wins with a young team led by the third string quarterback, showing itself to be a team that deserves respect.
I'm not a sports nut by any measure, but it sure is good to know that the city is feeling good about itself for something.
I imagine this could sum up Cleveland's attitude:
(I had to put it in, this thread needs a reference to religion.)
♬Clev-e-land swings, like a pendulum do --♪
Yankees heads on a platter and corned beef, too!
Rock-n-roll Museum and Hall of Fame.
And the Browns this year ain't a source of shame.
I think Roger Miller would not have disapproved --
I mean, Shakespeare it ain't.
The Indians lost to Tampa Bay last night, knocking them out of the playoffs. Hopefully, next year they'll end up in the main playoffs where they would play a series of five games rather than the "one loss and your out" wildcard play.
All ball games involve a certain amount of luck. The best pitcher in the world is going to give up some hits and runs from time to time. The worst batter will hit the occasioal ball and get or set up some runs. I could say similar things about football.
A series of five games takes a good deal of the luck out of it. A one-shot means you need to have a good night. Last night was a good night for Tampa Bay. Congrats.
Oh well. We have a Browns game tonight, but even if they lose tonight, they have a lot of games ahead of them.
Cleveland does have something to crow about after last night's NFL win, but a Cleveland victory wouldn't be complete without something to worry about. It's just part of being a Clevelander.
We lost our quarterback, Brian Hoyer, to a knee injury in the first quarter of the game with Buffalo last night. And this was after the Buffalo Bills got on the board with a touchdown and extra point within the first two minutes of the game. Cleveland fans, used to disappointment, were all thinking the same thing: "Oh no, not again."
When that happened it felt like the air came out of the stadium. In came Brandon Weeden, the quarterback who captained the team through the first two games (both losses) to replace him. Hopes were not high. Before long, he showed that he really did have the stuff to quarterback the team. The result: a 37-24 win that might have been a 30-24 win had it not been for a very long kickoff return for a touchdown by Travis Benjamin, which helped to put much of the air back into the stadium. During the course of the game Benjamin ran for a total of 179 yards on seven returns, breaking a 20 year old team record. The team went into halftime leading Buffalo.
Halftime helped to cheer things up due to a tribute to Jim Brown with Mr. Brown present, arguably the greatest NFL player who ever lived, and certainly an unsurpassed ball carrier. He is to football what Pele is to soccer.
The game remained winnable for Buffalo until well into the third quarter when EJ Manuel, the Bills' quarterback also left the game with a knee injury and was replaced by their second string quarterback Jeff Tuel.
Hoyer and Manuel, both promising rookies may be off the field for a few games, if not the season. Despite Weeden picking up the slack, I expect Hoyer to be back at the helm when/if his injury is recoverable during the season. Clearly, Hoyer is more talented than Weeden, but Weeden is supported by a lot of talent, including a defensive line rated as the third best in the league.
Browns' safety T.J. Ward intercepted a Jeff Tuel pass and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown followed by an extra point with 1:44 left in the game, making a Bills win pretty much a practical impossibility since a win was two touchdowns away. A touchdown and field goal wouldn't have done it..