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Browns Roller Coaster Season Continues with Huge Win

The Cleveland Browns clashed with the purported best team in the NFL on Sunday. Under ominous skies that chose to drop precipitation at opportune times, a football game for the ages was played. Many saw this as a David versus Goliath battle, and few expected David to pull another win out of his hat.

The Browns came in off their week five bye and a drubbing by division-leading Baltimore in week four. With Deshaun Watson and Joel Bitonio out for the game and Nick Chubb lost for the season, the short-handed Browns were a 10-point underdog at home. We last saw the 49ers annihilate the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football in a game many expected to be much closer.

The odds were stacked against the home team just like they’ve been stacked against Browns QB P.J. Walker throughout his career. He’s been told he couldn’t play more times than the Browns have missed on QBs in the draft. Here’s where it would have been great if Walker would have been the hero of the story. He wasn’t. He played well enough to keep his team in the game and put points on the board. At times, he looked like a guy who hadn’t seen game action recently. However, he never looked flustered. His head was in the game.

Players like Amari Cooper, Jerome Ford, and Elijah Moore stepped up and had very productive games. Cooper was quite simply the number one receiver we have come to expect him to be. Ford ran hard as did Kareem Hunt. Elijah Moore had his best game so far as a Brown.

The story in this one was the defense. Jim Schwartz was the man behind the curtain to Kyle Shanahan’s impression of the frustrated wizard. Schwartz has Shanahan’s number, but then he is compiling a list of names for the same category. The list is filled with well-respected coaches. Schwartz has come into town and turned this defense into the best unit in the league. Schwartz is having fun, his players are having fun, and it’s translated to the best defense the league has seen in 50 years. Andrew Berry deserves a tip of the cap, too.

Now the Cleveland Browns sit at 3-2 after fighting their way through the gauntlet that was the beginning of their schedule. Criticism had been flying from fans and media before Sunday’s win. It is hard to call a game against the best team in the league a must-win, but many people did exactly that. Well, the Browns showed up and played. They didn’t make injuries or penalties or the weather an excuse.

The division is tight, yet the remainder of the schedule should provide opportunities for this team. While we don’t know if Watson will play next week, there is the possibility. The fans want to see it. The team proved they believe enough in themselves to win with starters out. They hope to start stacking wins, but as we know, it’s really about trying to go 1-0 every week.

Two things stood out about the crowd Sunday. First, it seemed to contain half San Francisco fans. Second, the Browns fans there were louder in the second half than I’ve ever heard them. We have to protect our house. We can’t ever let another team take over our stadium. We have to be loud to help our players. The crowd makes a difference. It’s a good thing the fans that showed up were so noisy or the game may have turned out another way.

Now the team moves on to another week of preparation. They hope for no distractions, no new injuries, and for the player and coaches to maintain their focus.

The question is, can the fans take a leap and believe what they saw Sunday? People will keep talking down about Cleveland. They’ll say it was a fluke. They’ll keep betting against the Browns next week. One game doesn’t earn much respect in this league. The fans should believe in this team. Sunday was a statement. A change in the hierarchy of the league. More wins are coming.

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