By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave while watching the Cleveland Browns wear football uniform costumes for Halloween and not to play winning football. They had no tricks and they are not a treat.
—Call the coroner and the undertaker because the Cleveland Browns are dead and buried. The only award they will win this year is the Overhyped Trophy.
On Sunday, playing a 2-and-6 team, the Denver Broncos, who started a quarterback who had never started an NFL game, the Browns suffocated themselves in a 24-19 loss.
Obviously it is too hot in the kitchen for first-year coach Freddie Kitchens and it might be time for him to get out of the kitchen. He calls the plays and most of them are head-scratchers, especially on third down.
The offense looked as if it was playing in high heels and was as productive as a one-legged caterpillar.
They were beaten by a quarterback named Allen, and it wasn’t Josh or Kyle. It was Brandon Allen and the first snap he took Sunday was the first he ever took in the NFL. And he threw two touchdown passes.
When the Browns enter the red zone, it is as if the Great Wall of China is spread across the goal-line. They can’t cross it. All they can do is kick the ball over it for field goals.
They were in the red zone four times in the first half and each time had to resort to field goals to score points.
The fifth time was early in the second half. They had a fourth-and-one and quarterback Baker Mayfield appeared to get the necessary yard, but a myopic official gave the Browns an incorrect spot, short of the first down.
Finally, early in the fourth quarter they scored a touchdown, a Mayfield-to-Jarvis Landry pass. Because they had to take nothing but three-pointers in the first half, they were short 24-19 with 10:47 left and that was that.
—QUOTE: From former Oakland Raiders defensive lineman Dan Birdwell: “You have to play this game like somebody just hit your mother with a two-by-four.” (The Browns play like they get hit with a two-by-four on every play.)
—From my dear friend Joe Henderson, long-time Tampa sports/political journalist: “Parents: Please check your children’s Halloween candy. Just found two Cincinnati Bengals tickets in my kid’s bag. Some sick people out there.” (Dig deeper. There are probably a couple of Browns tickets, too.)
—I was correct on one NFL prediction this week. I predicted that the Cincinnati Bengals wouldn’t lose. But they lost last week at the trade deadline. Just like on the field, they did nothing.
Said one NFL National Conference GM, “It’s a waste of time to call them (the Bengals). You may as well be speaking a different language.” (It’s called gibberish.)
—The New England Patriots went to Baltimore undefeated and to steal from Edgar Allan Poe, “Quoth the Raven(s), nevermore.”
They said Lamar Jackson couldn’t succeed in the NFL because he isn’t the ‘prototype’ stand-in-the-pocket like a statue. They were wrong.
It is because he is different that makes him a pain in the pancreas for defenses and fun for fans to watch. Too many NFL quarterbacks stand in one spot so long looking for receivers that pigeons can take aim at his head. Viva Lamar Jackson.
—QUOTE: More from poet/writer Edgar Allan Poe, the world’s expert on ravens: “Once upon a midnight dream, while I pondered weak and weary.” (That’s the New England defense talking after spending Sunday afternoon chasing Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson.)
—Sorry to hear that Eduardo Perez was the runnerup to Carlos Beltran for the New York Mets managerial chair. Perez is outstanding on baseball broadcasts. When he was with the Reds he was a master at stealing the other team’s signs.
And the Perez family deserves a break after former Reds general manager Jim “Leather Pants” Bowden fired Eduardo’s father, Tony, after only 44 games as Cincinnati manager.
—After all the race horse deaths at Santa Anita this year, why did they have to run the Breeder’s Cup there. During the Breeder’s Cup Classic Saturday, a fabulous horse named Mongolian Groom broke a leg during the race and was euthanized.
Mongolian Groom was the 37th thoroughbred to lose its life at Santa Anita in less than a year.
I love horse racing, but I love animals even more and it is sinful what is happening at Santa Anita.
—QUOTE: From good friend Tony Vittorio, former University of Dayton baseball coach, now coaching at Wilmigton College: “You never forget the moment you fell in love with the greatest game on the planet.” (Amen, Tony, amen. I have been in love with baseball for 75 years, since the day my dad put a baseball in my hand when I was four.)
—The new athletic director at the University of Southern California is former University of Cincinnati athletiic director Mike Bohn. He is extremely close to both UC coach and former Ohio State assistant Luke Fickell and with former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer.
Just sayin.’ Stay tuned.