The Aftermath: Panthers vs. Browns

Well that was fun.  The Browns managed not to blow today’s game vs. the lowly Carolina Panthers.  Unfortunately this wasn’t the blow out we were looking for.  Instead, the Browns needed veteran kicker John Kasey to push a field goal wide left in the waning seconds to preserve a 24-23 victory.

Not exactly a convincing victory, but hey, a win is a win and we’ll take them any way we can get them at this point.

Anyways…

5 Things To Look For

  1. Can the Browns commit to the run game and ride Peyton Hillis to victory?  Will we also see more of the trickery that made us so successful against New Orleans and New England, and less of the vanilla offense we saw in Jacksonville? They sure did.  Peyton Hillis was in full on beast mode today.  Three touchdowns and 131 yards rushing, as well as 63 yards receiving.  That’s a huge game.  Good to see the Browns were able to commit to the running game today.  Hillis is the reason the Browns won the game today.
  2. Can Jake Delhomme not lose the game?  He tried, especially on the interception he threw late in the second quarter.  Fortunately enough for Delhomme, Peyton Hillis was an unstoppable force and he didn’t have to do much.  There was some rust but he was able to make just enough plays to not lose the game.
  3. How will the Browns respond as a team after letting a very winnable game slip out of their grasp last week?  Will there be a fire lit under them or will they come out flat against a 1-9 Panthers team?  They didn’t look like a team who had been disappointed last week.  They put last week behind them and focused on the present and got themselves a win.
  4. How will the Browns offense handle the leadership of Jake Delhomme.  Over the past few weeks the offense has looked sharp and more alive under the leadership of McCoy.  Will they be flat now that their new-found leader is down and out?  They performed better than I thought they would t be honest.  I thought they might come out a little more flat after losing their new leader, but they proved me wrong.  They came out fired up and looked assertive early.  That’s a huge positive.
  5. Can the Browns defense, which has been so good this year, shut down a pathetically weak Panthers offense?  They will need to stop the run game first and foremost, but if they pull ahead can they clamp down, dominate the battles on the line, and force three and outs?  Can the secondary build on last week’s amazing performance?  That would be a no.  They managed to give up 23 points and allowed the Panthers to keep the game close, too close actually.  A 1-9 team should have been dominated.  The Panthers looked to be on an equal footing with the Browns.  That in and of itself is kind of disturbing considering the progress we thought we had been making.
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