As I foresaw, the Browns were embarrassed by the bruised and tired Buffalo Bills Sunday afternoon at Ford Field. Never mind the final score – the Browns never had a chance once halftime fell.
QB Josh Allen was clearly off, WR Stefon Diggs took a long time to get going and the Bills are not a smash-mouth running team, to begin with. But alas, Buffalo wheeled for 179 yards on the ground. Devin Singletary was privately escorted into the end zone in the second half on Sunday.
What the game and the circumstances surrounding the game illustrated, was the stark difference between the Browns and Bills. In theory, these organizations should be very similar. They have two die-hard, blue-collar, “everyman” fan bases that count down the days to fall football. However, the culture of these two organizations couldn’t be any more different.
NFL writer Peter King documented the tumultuous week in Buffalo. Western New York was hit with six feet of snow that buried residents throughout the week. Orchard Park was a snow globe by Friday.
Head coach Sean McDermott credited the Buffalo community, who literally helped dig them out of snow banks so they could make their rides to get out of town. McDermott’s generator went out Friday night and a repairman arrived at 10:30 p.m. to fix it.
Josh Allen was helped by an unbeknownst neighbor named Dave Winter, aka “Squirrel,” with a John Deere tractor with an eight-foot-wide bucket on the front for clearing snow. Winter, who lives in Orchard Park, came across his neighbor’s buried driveway and offered a helping hand. King wrote in detail about the encounter:
“So I did the driveway, cleared a good path there, and I get up to the garage and the door opens and Josh [Allen] is standing there. Probably the whole thing took a half hour. Got out, shook his hand. Told him, ‘Good luck tomorrow,” he said.
“I introduced myself. ‘Dave. Dave Winter. When you think of snow, think of me, Winter.’ I says, ‘We got that red machinery shop, the farm just down the road.’ Looked like he was in a hurry. Didn’t have time to chit-chat. So that was it.”
Allen also shouted out his neighbor after Sunday’s win:
‘”Squirrel, he said, “came with a big old tractor and dug me out. When I was going down the driveway, the radar in my car was beeping, like I was about to hit something.”’
Squirrel’s going to be famous after this, Allen was told.
“He should be. He’s the man.”
Getting to the stadium to fly out to Detroit on Saturday, several players had to walk a half-mile to get rides to the buses. Two main roads were closed down.
“Classic western New York towns,” McDermott said. “Orchard Park, West Seneca, a few more.” Depew, Lancaster, Cheektowaga. “It was so great. People on the side of the road, giving us the thumbs-up, taking pictures, waving, cheering. Just awesome.”
The Bills are a team that the tight-knit community of Buffalo is proud of. Their organization is together and that includes their blue-collar fans.
Compare this to the clown show the Cleveland Browns are. Your quarterback lives in a Hunting Valley mansion is exiled and is actively kept away from the press because of the chaos surrounding his nearly 30 assault allegations against him.
The team plays with no emotion or passion. They go through the motions, they mumble through press conferences, they blame others they make cryptic comments about other players and coaches. The highest-paid players stop running in the middle of plays. They disappear for quarters-on-end.
The fans relegate themselves to singling out those to blame for losses and absolving others for individual accolades. It’s a pathetic culture, stemming from the owner all the way to the fan base.
Is the City of Cleveland proud of its football team? No. In fact, some fans are ashamed to support them or even wear Browns gear after the Deshaun Watson acquisition. Others are completely apathetic and have opted to do other things on Sundays.
Whatever you think about Watson’s situation, his acquisition divided the fan base and turned Browns fans against each other. You don’t do that to your own fans.
It’s a far cry from the truly proud teams of the late 80s. Bernie Kosar was OUR quarterback. Those Browns represented US.
This current organization is shameful and disgraceful. Dysfunction, confusion, misery, division and excuses are a weekly routine. The Bills – steered by the guy Browns brass voted to hire in 2016 – are the best example of what the Browns should be. And much needs to be done to get there.