When the news broke Sunday morning that Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden would miss the game because of the injury, admit it, you queued up the Redzone channel and started making plans to head outside mid-afternoon.
Then, the Cleveland Browns dominated the entire first half. In nearly every statistical category, the Browns were blowing the doors off the Dallas Cowboys.
As the second half started, Josh Cribbs let the kickoff hit the ground and the Browns started at their own 11-yard line.
And so began the slow death.
Signs of the disease started in the first half. After taking a 7-0 lead, the Browns could only muster two more field goals after promising drives were derailed by Brandon Weeden missing a wide-open Josh Cooper on third down and another drive in which a Ben Watson dropped a pass that would have given the Browns a first down inside the Cowboys’ 10-yard line.
Still, the Browns dominated the first half, but only led 13-0. Uh-oh.
The Cowboys began attacking the Browns’ soft coverage and lack of skill at the defensive back position.
Reality set in: The Browns are going to lose this game.
But when? At least make it soon so I can turn to the Redzone channel.
The Browns even took a lead with about a minute to go. As quick as we allowed ourselves to get excited, reality returned. There is a minute to go. The Browns cannot stop the Cowboys passing attack. Sure enough, more penalties called on the Browns defensive backs allowed the Cowboys to force overtime.
The Browns got three offensive plays in overtime and gained a total of six yards.
The end was oh-so-near.
By the time Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey put his foot to the ball and the game-winning 38-yard kick sailed through the uprights, the sun was setting. So much for an outdoor activity today. The crappy 4 p.m. games were underway. So much for the Redzone channel.
Unfortunately, this type of game has become the norm this season. The Browns are a competitive football team, especially now that the roster is scattered with some actual talent. They are making each and every game interesting.
Gone are the 30-point blowouts that were so common early in the Eric Mangini era. Instead, these types of losses might even be more painful.
A dumb mistake here, a poorly executed football play there and the Browns are finding ways to lose these football games. These losses are causing you to re-asses the reasons why you root for the Browns.
But they could have won Sunday’s game. Just like the could have won the Eagles game, the first Bengals game, the Bills game, the Colts game, both Ravens games and who could forget the 14-0 lead on the Giants?
The Browns didn’t win those games and six more remain including next week at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers are without their starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Hey, the Browns could win that one.