Hey, Cleveland! What a day for a road win! Once again, the powers controlling the football universe scripted a spot-on backstory for this season’s “Battle of Ohio” part one.
After former head coach of the Browns, Hue Jackson, was relieved of his duties and wished luck in his future endeavors, the Cincinnati Bengals hired him as a ‘special assistant.’ The Browns, fresh off a convincing win at home against the Atlanta Falcons and a bye week, had a good bit of pride on the line going into the Week 12 matchup; I am so happy to say they met and exceeded the expectations of many.
Once again, when the team looks good, choosing a player to be my Top Dawg is pleasantly challenging. Our rookie QB was flawless in the game. Nick Chubb found a lot of daylight rushing as well as the end zone, twice. And with five receptions, including one of the most interesting touchdown catches I believe I have ever seen, David Njoku looked good. All solid choices, but none are my Dawg.
This week my Top Dawg is number 23, corner Damarious Randall. His interception of Bengals signal caller, Andy Dalton, was exactly what the team needed at the time. However, Randall grabbed my attention for what happened after the play. Randall walked to the Bengals’ sideline and handed the ball to his former head coach, Hue Jackson. The handoff looked nonconfrontational and Jackson patted Randall’s head as though they still shared the same sideline.
This felt very fitting to me. I have no ill will towards Jackson, but this gesture on the part of Randall seemed to be the symbolic last page in the Hue Jackson/Cleveland Browns story. A small signal that this is NOT the same team Jackson coached. Indeed, our Browns seem destined to move forward and continue the positive strides.
So, thank you, Damarious Randall, for the beautiful interception and for putting the exclamation mark on the end of the Jackson era. You are the Top Dawg for Week 12.
Week 1: Denzel Ward – 2 INT
Week 2: Larry Ogunjobi – 2 Sacks
Week 3: Carlos Hyde – 2 TD’s 98 yards rushing
Week 4: Nick Chubb – 100+ yards rushing and two touchdowns
Week 5: Baker Mayfield – 25/43, 342 yards and a touchdown
Week 6: Britton Colquitt- 242 yards punting averaging 40.3 yards a punt
Week 7: Christian Kirksey- Fumble recovery and an interception
Week 8: Myles Garrett- Sacking and harassing the Q.B.
Week 9: Duke Johnson- Two touchdowns through the air
Week 10: Coach Gregg Williams- Steering the team in the right direction