Monday, October 02, 2006

What's Japanese for "They're still shitty"?

I'll begin this whole Quixotic venture with a request for the Browns to heed the one big lesson of their first win: Please do not attempt to "establish the run."

When the Browns fell behind the Oakland 21-3 on Sunday I ventured to the knowledgeable, friendly and Danish (seriously) Raiders fan next to me that this could be the catalyst for a bit of a comeback. After all, down 18 points, offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon would almost certainly have to abandon the run and begin passing more. And from what I've seen of the Browns this season, abandoning the run and passing is about the only way they can move the ball, even against a sorry team like the Raiders.

That's almost exactly what happened. Before the Raiders took their 21-3 lead, the Browns had run the ball 14 times (for 61 yards) and attempted to pass 10 times (with five completions, a pick and 44 yards to show for their troubles. To be fair, it was the kind of performance which most likely prompted aphorisms like Neyland's Razor.

But the Browns seemed to undergo a metamorphosis after they stopped trying to "establish the run." From that point on, they threw 24 times and ran 16 more. The passing game was much better: Charlie Frye completed 16 of 22 passes for 142 yards _ and those three touchdowns that provided the final 24-21 margin. (We're leaving the incredibly ill-advised fourth-quarter throw that resulted in a pick alone for now). Even the running game was more efficient, though only moderately so.

It's been pointed out elsewhere, mostly by Mistake by the Lake Sports and Football Outsiders, that the concept of establishing the run is a classic post hoc fallacy. Of course, I doubt very much that the Browns top brass spends much time on those sites _ or studying symbolic logic. So we're probably doomed to more drowsy, scoreless first quarters in which Carthon chases his Holy Grail of a properly established running game until a sufficient deficit exists to force him to play to the real, and not imagined, strengths of the Browns offense.

The Browns rushing attack encounters unexpected resistance


Blogger Chris said...

Wow, Flop, it's like the spam commenter knows you personally!

8:52 AM  

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