Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

They did what I wanted

I know I said it aloud. And if you are a Browns fan, I am pretty sure you were thinking the same thing.

It was second and goal. Time was running out. The Browns led 14-12. The smart thing to do would be to run into the middle of the line for no gain two more times. Kick the field goal and pray your defense can keep Baltimore out of the end zone.

It was the safe thing to do.

But no, the safe thing has cost the Browns so many times over the years. I got greedy. I wanted the Browns to throw the ball to Braylon Edwards or Kellen Winslow. I wanted a touchdown and a truly secure nine point lead. I wanted to win the game and not just build the lead.

So when the ball got picked off, I was disappointed but not angry. Romeo Crennel, Maurice Carthon and Charlie Frye just did what I wanted them to do.

For me to rant and rail would be hypocritical. There was no way the Browns were going to rush the ball in the end zone. Without Reuben Droughns, they couldn't run all day. And with the game on the line, it wasn’t going to happen into the heart of one of the best run defenses in the league. A good player rushed our young quarterback and a great player made a big play with the interception. It is what they are paid to do. And still it took a 52-yard field goal to beat us.

It may have not been the safe play, but it was the play we as fans wanted. It just didn't work out. I can't help but believe it was also an extension of the week that was.

While the national media took some whacks at Winslow for his comments, most Browns fans accepted and even liked what he said. Winslow just said aloud what the majority of the fans were saying and what much of his locker room had to be thinking.

Sort of like that play call. It certainly wasn't the right thing to do, but it had to be done. The Browns played for the win on that play and it didn't work. I can't criticize that.

I went and watched Tyler Sparks and Olmsted Falls play football Friday night. It was a good game to watch, but it really wasn't the game I wanted to be at. My head sent me to Falls. My heart wanted to go to Lutheran West's game against Brookside. The Longhorns, one year removed from the playoffs, started the year 0-4, but were in every game. Some morons on the Internet (and I am sure in the stands) have questioned the coaching of Troy Fehrs. Last year the man coached Lutheran West to the playoffs, did it in a classy way and then lost the majority of his team to graduation. What do people expect? Anyway I ended up at a watering hole near Lutheran West because I wanted to know how they did. Last year West "upset" Brookside and used that momentum to run the table and make the playoffs.

West scored late in the fourth quarter. They lined up for the extra point to tie the game at 20 and Brookside jumped offside. The half the distance penalty doesn't seem like a lot, but gave the coaches the confidence to go for the win. Brookside jumped again.

It was the right call to go for the win. Lutheran West just came up short. I am sure the coaching staff didn't sleep much and their guts were ripped out. But I also know by Monday, they were back on the field coaching up the kids, trying to find a way to start Patriot Athletic Conference Stripes Division play next week on positive note against Clearview.

It is easy to forget football is just game and that games are played to be won. And playing to win is what sports is all about even if you come up short.

And I have no problem with that.