First Impressions: Game 15 (@ Carolina)

Serves ’em Right

The Browns can’t have a winning season. Unless Baltimore, who has been eliminated from the playoffs, phones the next game in, they won’t reach .500.

The losing record is entirely deserved. It’s difficult to point to a more winnable game (Jacksonville and the first Baltimore game). Carolina and Cleveland kept playing Alphonse & Gaston with the win. Carolina made a noble attempt to lose, but the Browns simply would not be denied.

Famous First Words

Ripped from the game preview:

The crew working the game can decide it– the loser in a game called by Jeff Triplette, Terry McAulay, Ed Hochuli or Jerome Boger will usually feel it got screwed by the officials.

Every game that jackass works will have 3-4 penalties you’ve never seen before (or haven’t seen in years). There were be a slew of calls overturned on replay (at least one that the play-by-play crew and the retired official will not agree with) and everyone will be constantly standing around.

With Johnny Greer out of the league, Hochuli is the guy who delays the game the most.

Hochuli’s crew makes phantom calls and they blow the whistle either way too early or way too late. The three calls that really infuriated me were:

  1. The “illegal shift” call- with 1:45 left in the second quarter. That’s a dead ball call– the minute you see it, you’re supposed to stop the play. Hochuli let the play run to completion, burning 11 seconds off the clock in a two-minute drill, then didn’t reset the clock.
  2. The reversal of Puff Gordon‘s catch, where retired supervisor Mike Carey disagreed about ti not being a catch.
  3. Calling a “fair catch interference” on Marlon Moore, even though the Carolina player didn’t signal for it until less than half a second before Moore hit him.
  4. Calling back the touchdown on Billy Winn‘s interception and Jordan Poyer’s return, because one of his idiots blew the whistle.

I don’t usually complain about the referees– and these clowns didn’t decide the game. But you watch Hochuli’s clown show and it gets annoying, because you know that no other crew would call some of the stuff his guys do.

Mr. Kurtz Was Right

In Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the narrator finds a report Kurtz drafted, before he went mad, about how best to help the natives of Africa. On the very last page, he discovers an addendum scribbled in a wild hand: “Exterminate all the brutes!””

Which pretty much sums up my take on the quarterback situation.

Johnny Jamboogie (3-8 for 32 yards, game rating 50.0) did manage to double his 27.3 rating from the first game, but he still didn’t resemble a professional quarterback to any significant degree.

Brian Hoyer, in case any of you were nostalgic for him, squelched those desires. His day (7-13 for 134 yards, a TD and an INT) received a rating of 83.5.

Surprised it was that high? If you remove the 81-yard TD pass to Poke Cameron, Hoyer’s rating drops to 27.4, which is a better representation of his value.

If Mr. Jamboogie isn’t medically available– they still need to evaluate him (on the hope that he will double his ration to 100 next week)– I’d just as soon watch Connor Shaw next week.i

Objective #2 for 2015

Carolina ran 45 times for 209 yards. That’s the third 200-yard game (Cincinnati; Houston); three other teams (Jacksonville, New Orleans and Baltimore) were over 160 yards.

They’re not too bad at the pass defense, but, Dear Lord, they can’t stop an 8th grade field hockey team from running on them.

Stars of the Game

1. CB Pierre Desir, who showed himself worthy of a #4 pick, by playing surprisingly effective pass defense. He made mistakes, but he often played well. He’s a converted soccer player from Haiti who played in Division 2, so the learning curve can be justified.

2. LB Scott Solomon. Two tackles, a run-stuff and a sack that produced a fumble? Maybe a fluke, but worth seeing more.

3. WR Travis Benjamin. He had a marginal day (0-2 on passes; a 24-yard punt return, and a another punt return for 0 yards), except for one play. But what a play…

With 7:07 left, Cleveland has the ball at the 20. Hoyer heaves it in Benjamin’s direction, but it’s underthrown and is intercepted at the Carolina 38– 42 yards from the line of scrimmage.

Justin Norman runs it back 33 yards, but Benjamin gives chase, knocks the ball out of his hands at the Cleveland 29 and then falls on it.

That’s 75 yards running– and since the ball was thrown to the right sideline and the fumble occurred at the left hashmark, that’s another 10-20 yards– nearly 100 on a single play.

More hustle on one play than half the team displayed in the whole game…

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