December 14th, 2014. Little Ohio's Tate was sitting in the desk under the lofted bed in his dorm room at The Ohio State University, trying to balance having a college football team vying for the first ever College Football Playoff (we won) and a professional football team vying for the playoffs. Unfortunately, that figured to be too much on my plate. The Mike Pettine led Browns, who came into the week with a 7-6 record, were unable to capitalize off Johnny Manziel's 0 touchdown, 2 interception, 27 passer rating performance in his first NFL start. Andy Dalton and the vaunted Bengals knocked the Browns down to 7-7, and they have not been over .500 since. They have been 18-65-1 since that day.
BUT THAT ALL CHANGES TODAY.
The Browns host the Washington Football Team and are 7 point home favorites. They absolutely have to win. Like, this is a make or break type of game for the future of this franchise. If you are any good at all, you cannot lose to the Washington Football Team. I know our defense has given up 30+ points in each of the first two games, but that was against high-flying, electric offenses like the Ravens and Bengals. The Football Team comes to town ranked 30th in passing offense and 31st in yards per game. This defense absolutely has to feast today. If Washington carves us up, my optimism for the rest of the season is over. But my optimism for today would drop substantially if Denzel Ward is ruled out……
Folks, with no Denzel Ward, I'd put Terry McLaurin in every type of fantasy lineup you can. Hammer his props, too.
Man, I love that guy. And if they weren't playing the Browns today, I'd love the Washington Football Team. They're basically a post-grad program for the Ohio State football team. Terry McLaurin, Dwayne Haskins, and Chase Young? Might as well call the nation's capital Columbus East.
But here's the thing: as much as I love Chase Young, he's the one we need to stop today. Him and that defensive live. The Browns absolutely must protect Baker Mayfield in order to be successful this afternoon. I know the Browns offensive line has been good, but Washington's defensive line leads the NFL in sacks. And Chase Young leads the NFL in individual sacks. Run the ball and protect Baker Mayfield = the key to success today. Oh, and keep them under 30.
Listen, I feel great about today. I think the Browns win and cover. At home, better team, chance to get in the thick of things for the playoff race. All things point to Cleveland. THE ONLY THING I don't like today is the officiating crew.
No, calm down. I'm not talking about this…..
What I am talking about though is the fact that the head referee for the game today is Shawn Hochuli. He's the one who announced to the world that Baker Mayfield was legally allowed to be hit in the head.
Is this dude an idiot or does he hate Cleveland? Either way, not good. Looks like the Browns will have to beat everyone today. The Washington Football team, the refs, and the haters -- of which there are many.
Browns 31, Football Team 17
And when we win….are we talking…….