Wednesday, October 14, 2009
By Dennis Manoloff
October 13, 2009
My first instinct --and second and third -- was not to review the CBS Sports game tape from the Browns' 6-3 victory over the Bills last Sunday in Orchard Park, N.Y. My instincts were to burn it.
I was there. I didn't need to see the monstrosity again.
But I went against my better judgment and took another look, primarily because I wanted to see if Browns punter Dave Zastudil had as good of a game as it appeared.
Zastudil and teammates Mike Adams, Shaun Rogers, Kamerion Wimbley, Robaire Smith and Jamal Lewis performed superbly.
Those who know me know I have a bias in favor of Z-Man. We are both products of Bay High School and I've known his family since he was in middle school. Even if I were totally objective, though, I would have concluded that he was the player of the game. Dealing with nasty winds, Z-Man placed six of his nine punts inside the 20-yard line and one on the 20. He pinned the Bills at the 1 (generous spot put ball closer to yard line than goal line) and the 4 in the fourth quarter. He also stopped one at the 1 in the second quarter.
He had zero touchbacks and Roscoe Parrish mishandled his last punt, leading to the game-winning field goal.
Bottom line: the Browns probably would not have won if Z-Man simply had a good day. Zastudil, when factoring in weather conditions and what his team has asked him to do with his punts, is one of the game's best since the beginning of 2008.