After an embarrassing offseason for the Browns; Josh Gordon’s suspension and DUI, Manziel’s Drinking Swan and bathroom photos, owner Jimmy Haslam’s $92 million dollar payout to the Feds, the release of a coloring book chronicling Cleveland’s curse, the team actually looks good? How can that be?
Well as it turns out, the defense we’ve seen grow stronger over the past two seasons has finally found its footing has come up big in both games, coupled with strong special teams play (aside of missed field goal today), and an offense which saw Brian Hoyer nearly match Drew Brees’ numbers, going 24 for 40 and racking up 204 yards and a touchdown.
Don’t let the loss to the Steelers in Week 1 fool you, either. They out scored their turnpike rivals 24-3 in the second half, and had it not been for a trick fake punt from Pittsburgh, the Browns could easily be in 2-0 and tied with the Bengals for first place in the AFC North.
Admit Browns fans, any other year and hoping to win the game on Bill Cundiff’s foot would have scared the poop out of you. Instead, a quick drive down the field snapped a nine-game home opener losing streak in a game that seemed destined for the Browns to win.
And look! We got to see Johnny Football’s NFL debut today. Sure, it didn’t go anywhere and he was only in the game for the one play, but Manziel was not injured and the city didn’t drop in to Lake Erie, so let’s consider this progress in the Cleve as it could have gone much, much worse. In past years that ball would have taken out the Browns sideline dog Swagger.
Speaking of mistakes on lakes, all it took was for the Bills to be good was the death of the owner Ralph Wilson.
While the Bills needed an overtime field goal to squeak past the Bears in Week 1, today’s matchup against the Dolphins was an out and out drubbing, courtesy of a 102-yard kickoff return by CJ Spiller, a nifty 12-yard touchdown pass for rookie Sammy Watkins and 17 points out of kicker Dan Carpenter, giving the Bills their first 2-0 record since 2011.
While no one can deny the young Bills have talent, the offseason not only saw endless fights between the players during training camp, head coach Doug Marrone was fighting with the front office and “mother-f-ing” each other for everyone to see just the week before the season began, contention generally not being the markings of a unified team ready to roll through the first two weeks.
How long can it last for either team? The Browns face their toughest opponent yet next week as they host the somewhat-hapless Baltimore Ravens while the Bills have the San Diego Chargers at home. Is it too soon to think of them as 2-1 and 3-0 teams? No not at all, but we’re quite ready for a 11-5 Bills come December even if they do look like the best of the AFC East so far, and we’re certainly not ready ready for a 10-6 Cleveland squad, no matter how easy their schedule is starting to appear after two weeks.
2-0 Bills, 0-2 Saints. We’ll meet you guys down in the bomb shelter to ride out this madness for as long as it lasts.