Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Browns-Dolphins: Game Analysis

I'm going to make this a bit briefer than usual, since most of the points I am bringing up are the same things that have gone wrong in weeks past. The team might be looking for solutions, but they clearly can't find any.

I also want to concentrate on the upcoming game against the Patriots. The Miami-New England games are always the biggest games of the season for me, as I am a New Englander. These are the games that stir the most emotions in me and the games that I usually have the most riding on in terms of pride and enjoyment. I hope to get into some more in depth analysis about the Pats game in the coming week so check back for more on that.

Also, if you haven't seen it yet, go watch the postgame interviews from the Browns game. The video is on the team's official site. Specifically, fast forward to the 12:20 mark and watch what is probably the most depressing interview I've ever seen a Dolphin player give. It hurts that much more because it's Zach Thomas, who happens to be my favorite active player, and second favorite all-time behind Dan Marino.

I have often extolled the values of Thomas as a player on this site, and in this video it is clear that he is now broken down emotionally. I've seen him very upset over poor performances before, but nothing to this effect. It's actually a bit scary. The tone of his voice seems to suggest that things have simply gone too far and have become too much for him to continually deal with. If this isn't a prelude to a retirement at the end of a season, I don't know what is. (I'm not saying he will retire. Attitudes always change during the offseason, but it is certainly a looming possibility.)

Here are a few of his quotes from the interview:
  • "We're not the same defense that we used to be, and we're horrible."
  • "If we don't pick up on defense, we're not going to win a game this year, and that's the honest truth."
  • "What more can I say? I try not to be negative here, but you got to be, and like I said, I've never played with a defense this bad."
  • "It's never been this low. Never."
More than the quotes though, it was the tone that scared me. He sounded like a man on the verge of tears who has finally given in to his fate. I really feel for this guy.

Here's a quick recap of what went wrong and what went right:

The Bad
Third down conversions allowed - I don't need to go into any detail here. It's the same problem the defense has had all season - getting off the field on third downs. What's most frustrating is when the defense can't even stop the third and long situations consistently. They gave up two first downs on 3rd and 11 in crucial situations. Overall, the defense allowed the Browns to convert on 8 of 12 third down attempts.

The secondary - Donovin Darius can't stay on the field, so what good is having him here? Cameron Worrell is almost as bad as Travares Tillman in coverage, and inexplicably the team was playing Courtney Bryan. Let me get this straight. The team actually thinks it will be better by playing an undrafted rookie than by putting in last year's 16th overall selection, Jason Allen? I know that Allen was just moved back to safety, but when is he going to get a chance? Will he ever be given a chance? We've had to endure Tillman, Worrell, and Bryan struggle in the secondary. What's the worst that can happen by putting Allen out there? I want to see for myself that he can't do it, if that's what the coaches think. It's not like he would be unseating a star. At the very least put him out there so we can tell if he can one day be a starter. This secondary couldn't cover Braylon Edwards at all, and they didn't make any plays against a guy that had 8 INTs coming into the game. This unit needs help.

Cleo Lemon - Let me qualify this one. Lemon played well, but only in the second half. He started off very rocky and while his stats look good at the end of the day, he did not look good to start the game. His accuracy really needs to improve. He missed Chris Chambers multiple times on deep routes, and the offense lacked a killer punch because of that.

Derek Hagan - His penalty on Ted Ginn Jr.'s kickoff return was a killer. Can you imagine what would have happened had that TD stood? A whole mess of people would finally get off of Ginn's back and stop prematurely calling him a bust. As it is, a quick look at his stats seems to say he's been disappointing, but he's really been getting better with each week. The worst thing is that Hagan's penalty did not factor into Ginn's ability to spring the return.

Joey Porter - Will you stop talking now? Kellen Winslow put you in your place. I guess you can call this a battle now, since he finally beat you.

The Good
Ronnie Brown - For the fourth straight week, Brown went over 100 yards rushing and he caught 9 balls for another 69 yards. Like Jason Taylor last year, Brown is turning into one of the only reasons to get excited about watching team.

Jay Feely - Maintained his run of perfection. He is now 12/12 on field goals this year.


Play of the Game - Derek Anderson's 24 yard TD pass to Edwards on the first play following a Leigh Bodden INT. The score put the Browns ahead 24-3.

Player of the Game - Derek Anderson. He really looked good out there against this defense and always found the open man. He went 18/25 for 245 yards and 3 TDs. He also rushed for a TD.


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