G-L-C! G-L-C! Great Lakes Classic! Clunk. For the second time in the same week, the Browns lowered the bar in their season of great expectations.
G-L-C! G-L-C! Great Lakes Classic!
For the second time in the same week, the Browns lowered the bar in their season of great expectations.
Six days after trailing the Giants 30-3, they fell behind the Lions 13-0, getting outclassed on both sides of the ball.
“Not talkin’ today,” Kellen Winslow said after catching four passes that did nothing to prevent Saturday’s 26-6 loss. “I’m tryin’ to get outta here.”
Anywhere but Ford Field was the place to be after the Browns fell to 0-3 in a preseason for only the second time since 1972.
“We’ve got a ways to go,” said wideout Donté Stallworth, who barely new the meaning of ‘loss’ as a 2007 Patriot. “It starts tomorrow in the classroom, seeing things we’ve got to get corrected. There’s plenty of that.”
The Browns trailed 19-6 midway through the third quarter when Brady Quinn left what wasn’t much of a show.
“Say it was a short week. Say whatever you want. I completely take he burden for this loss,” Quinn said after going 14-of-24 for 106 yards in his first NFL start. “I didn’t execute the way I would have liked to. I didn’t get in a rhythm.”
GLC? Never has a game that meant so little stunk so much.
The last two times the Browns have been 0-3 in a preseason were 1972 and 2003. The 1972 team, which believe it or not wound up 0-6 in exhibition games, recovered to make the playoffs and nearly stun the unbeaten Dolphins. The 2003 team, which was creamed 38-17 at Detroit to drop to 0-3, got off to a 1-3 regular-season start and finished 5-11.
Quinn was asked if there’s any reason to be mildly alarmed.
“I don’t know if you’d say mildly alarmed,” he said. “I think it’s just a situation where we need to get everyone back and get into a flow. We really haven’t had that.”
Give the Browns somewhat of a pass for operating without 10 injured regulars, but how big can the asterisk be? They were playing a team that went 1-7 in the second half of 2007, a franchise that is 53-107 in the last 10 years.
As a franchise that is 50-94 since coming back as an expansion team, the Browns need to establish themselves as more than just a theory.
They have not done so in a preseason that has gone nowhere since lightning ripped the skies of the Aug. 7 Jets game. In that game, the first-team offense scored on its only series. The first-team defense made a stop on its only appearance.
Neither unit has showed up since the one-hour weather delay. At least it seemed that way Saturday, when the Lions outgained the Browns 386 yards to 250, and had only 24 yards in penalties to Cleveland’s 67.
Ex-Lion Shaun Rogers, the best player in an orange helmet Saturday, asked for patience.
“There’s a lot of big pieces still missing,” he said. “Jamal (Lewis) and Braylon (Edwards) were out. Those guys are very much impact players. “When they get back, hopefully they can shake the rust off pretty quickly.”
Starting in place of Lewis, Jason Wright fared all right, rushing eight times for 42 yards. But so much of this outing was all wrong.
“I don’t think there’s any one thing you can point to,” Wright said. “Each man individually has not played up to his ability. I can say that for myself. I’m sure every single guy on the offense can say that.”
With Derek Anderson nursing a concussion back home, the offense came out in a fog.
Quinn’s first three drives ended in a hurry, the first two on short incompletions aimed at Syndric Steptoe and Stallworth, the third when protection on the right side (guard Rex Hadnot, transplanted from Miami, has become a suspect) broke down.
Even Quinn’s fourth series, which produced a field goal, seemed disjointed, partly because the Lions were making some hay with their pass rush.
That held true on Quinn’s fifth and final series of the first half, salvaged by Phil Dawson’s 53-yard field goal.
Veteran Jon Kitna led the Lions to 104 yards and a pair of field goals in his first two series. Coach Rod Marinelli opted to rest Kitna after that.
Quinn’s first three series netted 24 yards and three punts. Quinn stayed on and dueled Dan Orlovsky, who once won a Connecticut-Akron shootout against Charlie Frye.
In an abbreviated first-half shift, Orlovsky was barely out-passed by Quinn, who played the entire first half, 77 yards to 74.
Orlovsky’s first series ended with a 35-yard touchdown run by rookie running back Kevin Smith.
The GLC couldn’t have ended soon enough.