Like most of you, I’m still in recovery mode with the Cleveland Browns loss Sunday to the Kansas City Chiefs. Who would have imagined the Browns playing the Chiefs in the divisional round of the NFL Playoffs when the season began?
NONE OF YOU DID!
So the fact that we are criticizing a number of decisions from the game over the weekend is truthfully a bit overplayed.
If I can summarize those griping for a moment. Here are the “What Ifs.”
What if…. The Browns hadn’t deferred the ball to the 2nd half? I mean of course, KC was going to score with that potent offense given the ball first. Why would Browns Coach Kevin Stefanski do that? Did he want to play from behind?
What if… the Browns had run the ball more in the 1st half? We have the best running backs and best offensive line in the NFL.
What if… Rashard Higgins hadn’t gotten hit in the helmet by the Chiefs defender and forced the ball out and resulted in a touchback instead of the touchdown? What a terrible rule!
What if…the Browns had just gone for it on 4th and 9, from their own 32-yard line with just over four minutes left in the game? Mayfield would have made it, of course, and led us to the game winning touchdown.
What if… Browns coach Stefanski hadn’t thrown the challenge flag and preserved the extra timeout that the Browns could have used later and obviously help them win the game?
Of course, I say all this with a bit of sarcasm.
I play the “What if” game a lot like all of you do, but I’ve learned over these many years as a Browns fan they don’t help with one’s mental state.
Today, I even heard local media sports personalities already comparing the Browns going up against the Chiefs and Mayfield going up against Kansas City’s QB Patrick Mahomes as eerily similar when the Browns used to battle the Denver Broncos and pitted Browns QB Bernie Kosar versus Broncos QB John Elway.
Ok, let’s slow down there a second, folks. Why even go there? Yes, in the mind of some older Browns fans the image of John Elway and the Broncos repeatedly beating Kosar and the Browns in the AFC Championship game three times is still a haunting memory. However, that was 35 years ago. Times have changed!
Everyone let’s try to stay focused and listen to these Browns players of the present. These players believe in themselves and believe they will be back in the playoffs next season.
Remember at the beginning of the season when we weren’t even sure we’d have a season? Throw in a new coach and a new system for the players, the fact that the Browns finished with 12 wins and put a legitimate scare into the Chiefs is really awesome. And let’s leave it at that at least for a little longer!