Sunday, November 25, 2007

Nice 'n easier

That’s more like it.

No need for fortuitous bounces or nail-biting uncertainty this week. No weirdness or controversy. Just strong play on both sides of the ball by the Browns leading to a solid victory. They looked a little uncertain on offense in the first quarter—I hate that quick handoff to Vickers on short yardage. Chud needs to ditch that play and give it to Jamal Lewis all day in those situations...Lewis was used much more effectively in the second half to grind down the Texans’ defense. What more can be said about the offensive line and D.A.? One sack today and one poor decision on the interception...otherwise Anderson had time to make plays, and he made some huge ones when needed. (Quick tangent: During the CBS post-game Phil Simms was talking about Eli Manning’s bad game against the Vikings. Simms opined that Manning needs to step up, even though “he’s no Tom Brady or Derek Anderson.” That’s a direct quote from Simms. How...weird is it to hear D.A.’s name being spoken in the same breath as a chewy, cleft-chinned, 3-time Super Bowl champion putting up Arena-ball stats this year?)

My man-crush on Kellen Winslow, Jr. continues to blossom. Once the symbol of this franchise’s luckless incompetence, #80 is now a beacon for its resurgence. Winslow is a beast with soft the guy in that Disney movie with the talking china. He (Winslow) seems to catch every ball thrown in his direction despite taking a lot of big hits...all this playing with a sore knee and shoulder.

Perhaps the nicest surprise was the play of the defense. This is the second week in a row the Browns have gotten solid pressure on the QB, and the result was a couple of forced turnovers. This Brandon McDonald guy, a fifth-round pick out of Memphis, had the INT that pretty much sealed the win and did a nice job on Andre Johnson.

Now the Browns have five very winnable games left....I would be disappointed if they go any less than 4-1. It’s go-time now...they are in the driver’s seat for the playoffs and with continued improvement on defense could make things very interesting come post-season. I never thought I’d be typing those words after game one...but here we are.

No Country for Old Men

I’m a big Coen brothers fan. I enjoy their edgier, more straightforward films over some of their irreverent fare-i.e. “The Big Lebowski.” But “Fargo,” “Blood Simple” and “Miller’s Crossing” are probably among my top 50 favorite flicks if I were to make such a list. “No Country for Old Men” may be the Coens' best movie yet. “No Country” follows an average Joe who stumbles across $2 million, the spoils of a drug deal gone bad in the dusty Texas borderlands. On his trail is a psychopath whose weapon of choice is a compressed-air gun of the sort used for killing cattle. On the killer’s trail is a weathered sheriff who fears the monster he’s chasing. In the ham-fisted clutches of Michael Bay or some other hack this scenario would make for a loud action movie. But the brothers go a different way—finding the perfect pitch of eerie suspense intermixed with spasms of gruesome violence, and translating damn near to the letter Cormac McCarthy’s pared-to-the-bones “minimalist” novel. Go see it, folks.