Monday, December 01, 2008
Tony Grossi's edge at Browns-Colts
December 1, 2008
Offense: The Browns did well to control the clock and keep Peyton Manning off the field. It was Derek Anderson's misfortune, however, that his offensive tackles failed him on the two biggest plays of the game. First, Joe Thomas was bull-rushed by Dwight Freeney, resulting in the fumble and touchdown return by Robert Mathis, and then Kevin Shaffer was bull-rushed by Mathis on the play that injured Anderson's knee. EDGE: Colts.
Defense: The last time the Colts failed to score an offensive touchdown in a regular-season game was also here in the 2003 season-opener -- 91 games ago. Brandon McDonald turned in his best NFL performance, saving one TD with a breakup in the end zone, and the Colts were stopped twice at the goal line to save another. Holding the Colts to 215 yards and Manning to a 46.8 rating is an exceptional feat. EDGE: Browns.
Special teams: The only standout here was Dave Zastudil, who averaged 50.5 yards on four punts and landed one at the 4. Phil Dawson made two field goals, but his miss from 34 yards forced the Browns to try for a touchdown at the end. Adam Vinatieri had a welcome to Cleveland moment: He missed badly from 46 yards. And that was at the easy end. EDGE: Browns.
Coaching: The Browns' offensive gameplan allowed them to keep Manning at bay. Defensively, coordinator Mel Tucker had Manning frustrated most of the day. The Colts made a good adjustment in their rushing scheme to pull off the two biggest plays of the game. And they did escape with a much-needed win. EDGE: Colts.