Roda Ramblings

Kenny Roda from WKNR SportsTalk 850 will be writing a weekly blog on Cleveland Scores covering the sports world both locally and nationally. Check back often for his updates!

Buckeyes stay undefeated

I know it wasn’t a pretty Ohio St. win over Penn St. but I don’t care. When we look back on it at the end of what hopefully is a National Championship season, no one will care that the Buckeyes were down 3-0 at halftime. They’ll just look at it as 1 of 13 wins in a run to a title.

How do I know this? Because does anybody look back at the win over Penn St. during the 2002 National Championship season and talk about the 13-7 win over the Nittany Lions and care that the only touchdown scored that day by the Buckeyes was on an interception return by Chris Gamble? No, it was just 1 of 14 wins that season that helped bring home the title! (Good sign though that back in ’02 and now in ’06, OSU’s defense returned INT’s for TD’s versus Joe Pa’s squad)

It wasn’t his best game, but maybe it was his best play of the season. Troy Smith’s 37-yard touchdown pass to Brian Robiskie in the fourth quarter will be the main thing people remember from the Penn St. win, especially if he wins the Heisman Trophy. It’s highlight material that will be shown over and over. Smith avoiding the rush, breaking some quarterback rules by reversing his field and then slinging a pass some 50 yards in the air for the score and a 14-3 lead. I can hear the legendary Keith Jackson saying, “Hello Heisman!”

By the way, that devastated Buckeyes defense, you know, the one that lost nine starters from last year’s squad, has now given up a total of 32 points in four games. That’s right, they’re yielding just 8 points per game so far this season. Not bad for what was supposed to be the weak link. Yes, they’ll be tested more this week in Iowa against Drew Tate and the Hawkeyes, but early on they’re holding there own and then some. They have created 9 turnovers in four games which is just three less than what last year’s “D” had for the entire season. Give credit to defensive coordinator Jim Heacock for molding this group together and watching them grow.

How good is James Laurinitis going to be? Better than A.J. Hawk? Wow, that would be something, but is it really that far-fetched. He leads the team in tackles as a sophomore and already has 3 huge interceptions this year. You gotta love the “Little Animal!”

One final Buckeye note. Will everyone please stop taking Antonio Pittman for granted and give him the love he deserves. All he did against Penn St. was carry the ball 20 times for 110 yards and a score. He tends to go unnoticed because of Ginn, Smith, Gonzo and Laurinitis but he is one of, if not the best, running backs in the Big 10. His number so far in Ohio State’s 4-0 start…71 carries for 450 yards with 4 TDs
and a 6.3 yard average!

Browns lose a tough one

O.I.C. strikes again. How else can you explain the Browns losing to the Ravens 15-14?
Consider that the Browns had a 14-3 lead entering the fourth quarter and even though that lead shrunk to 14-12 with 3:43 to go, they had the ball 2nd and goal from the Baltimore 4 yard line. A field goal forces the Ravens to have to score a touchdown in the final 2:30 minutes to win the game, something they had done only once in the first 56:30 minutes. A TD there puts the game on ice and gives the Browns their first win of the season! So what happens? A Red Right 88 flashback without the cold weather. An interception in the endzone. Frye is hit as he throws over the middle, intending the pass for Braylon Edwards and it’s picked off
by Chris McAlister for a touchback. Zero points and the ball goes over to the Ravens.

And, of course, after some nice throws and great catches by the Ravens offense, former Brown, Matt Stover, who I believe is 88 years old, somehow finds enough power in his leg to kick a 52-yard field goal to beat the Browns 15-14…OUCH!

Was the play call a bad one, going for the touchdown? I say no and yes. No, in that I would have thrown at least once down there. But yes, on the pass play selection. Why not throw the fade, a jump ball to the back pile on with Edwards. That way if he doesn’t catch it, it goes out of bounds or maybe you get a pass interference call. Throwing it over the middle? Too much congestion there, where the ball could be tipped or underthrown if the QB is hit, which is what happened.

Kudos to Charlie Frye for his efforts. Yes, he threw the interception that led to the Ravens’ winning field goal drive. But if not for Frye the Browns aren’t even in this game. He was sacked 7 times and hit 12 other times. And these weren’t just little bumps or little shoves. He looked like a WWE wrestler who was on the wrong end of a pile driver in a Summer Slam event. All that was missing was for Ray Lewis to grab the team bench and hit him over the head with it after he knocked his helmet off! Frye competed, made some big plays and showed a lot of courage, throwing for 298 yards and rushing for his third touchdown of the season while under heavy duress all game long.

More kudos, this time to Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards. First with K2. He spoke out. He was right with what he was saying, but maybe went about it the wrong way. But there was nothing wrong with the way he played on Sunday. He backed up his words, grabbing 7 passes from Charlie Frye for 92 yards and at least 3 of them were on third down plays that resulted in a first down. If you’re going to talk the talk, you better be able to walk that talk, and that’s exactly what #80 did.

As for Edwards. He talked during the week of going back to the basics so he wouldn’t drop any more balls from Charlie. Well, it must have worked. Five catches for 116 yards with a touchdown of 58 yards, but more importantly, NO drops. If Braylon and Kellen can put up those type of numbers week in and week out, then the Browns offense, if Charlie is given the time by the offensive line, will make a lot of big, exciting plays this season and for years to come. They are indeed the playmakers on this team and should rarely be off the field. Hopefully offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon realizes that now!

Yes, it will be remembered as another devastating loss in the long list of devastating losses for Browns fans. But for the players this season, hopefully this will be remembered as the game where they learned what it takes to compete in the AFC North and in the NFL. I know there are no moral victories in this league, but experience, good or bad, goes a long way in building a winning team and hopefully the painful experience on Sunday will help the young Browns start to develop into a solid team.

And let me end this weeks blog on a positive note for Browns fans everywhere. Your hated Pittsburgh Steelers had a miserable week. Losing twice in seven days at the hands of Jacksonville and Cincinnati to fall to 1-2 on the year, only a game better than the Browns! Hopefully that will pick your spirits up, along with the fact that the Browns’ next opponent is the NFL’s worst team, the winless Oakland Raiders. If the Browns play like they did against the Ravens, they’ll pick up their first win this coming Sunday at Oakland.

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