Downright ugly

The Browns scored a late touchdown on a Derek Anderson pass to Braylon Edwards to avoid the shutout, but the damage was already done. For the third time in three weeks, the Cleveland Browns were utterly embarassed by their opponent. The Pittsburgh Steelers issued a 27-7 beatdown of the Browns in a game where Willie Parker rushed for a Pittsburgh single game record 223 yards.

The Browns continue to have no answer for the Steelers, who once again pushed them around like they were a bunch of children. It’s been almost a year since last season’s 41-0 destruction. The score this season wasn’t as bad but the game sure seemed just as pathetic. The Steelers were more physical than us and owned the line of scrimmage. The final net rushing stats were simply deplorable: Pittsburgh – 303, Cleveland – 18. Put me in the backfield, I’ll run for 18 yards, are you kidding me? If a team outsmarts you and out “gameplans” you, that’s one thing. But for Pittsburgh to ram it down our throats was sickening to watch. I mean, the Steelers offense isn’t exactly rocket science. First and foremost, they will run, run and run some more. Everyone knows what they’re going to do offensively but we still couldn’t stop it. Maybe it’s time we think about changing our defensive line personnel.

After such a dramatic and emotional comeback last weekend against the Chiefs, you would think the Browns would come out with some momentum and motivation, especially after they blew a 10-point fourth quarter lead to the Steelers three weeks ago. But of course, these are the Browns, and another inconsistent performance just begs the question whether or not this team really understands the Pittsburgh rivalry. Perhaps I was a little too naive to think the organization had turned a corner after last week’s come from behind victory. No passion, no drive, nothing. Sure it was cold, but that’s no excuse. Looks like we’re headed towards another winless season in the division.

But I guess the real culprit here is us fans for taking time out of our weeknight to watch this sorry excuse for a football team.

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All around solid game for Cavs

The Cavaliers used a big, fourth quarter run to charge ahead of the Toronto Raptors as they beat them 95-91 at the Q on Wednesday night. They bounced back from their dreadful 63-point performance against the Rockets last weekend and notched a much needed victory. The Cavs, wearing their retro orange uni’s once again, sank some big three pointers down the stretch. None was bigger than Donyell Marshall’s trey with less than 20 seconds left and the Cavs only up by one.

LeBron finished with 26 points and 10 assists, Marshall had 19 off the bench, and Daniel Gibson had 18 (3 0f 6 on three-pointers) in his first ever NBA start. The Cavs saw five players in double figures in points.

It’s obvious Mike Brown is trying anything possible to jumpstart the Hughes-less Cavaliers by juggling the lineup. The Gibson addition worked wonders for one night at least. I’ve been really impressed with this kid so far with this athelticism and ability to shoot the ball. Eric Snow has his good days, but when Larry returns, anyone opposed to starting Gibson at the point along with Larry at the two and having Snow come off the bench? Gibson is a good enough defender and is light years ahead of Snow offensively.

A night of lows

The Cavaliers still have 65 games left to play in their 2006-07 season but you can already book Saturday night as the worst performance of the entire season. After all, it can’t get any worse could it? I sure hope not. The Cavs’ 81-63 loss to the Rockets pretty much was the worst basketball you could play. LeBron was 7 of 22 from the field for 21 points, the Cavs shot 28 percent as a team, and were mighty close to tying a franchise record for fewest points in a game. Six of 23 from beyond the arc for the Wine and Gold. In a combined 57 minutes, Shannon Brown, Damon Jones, and Sasha Pavlovic together were 0-11 from the field and 0-6 from three for a whopping two points.

“You shoot 28 percent from the field, you don’t have a chance to win,” said James.

We are missing Larry Hughes more than ever as Mike Brown continues to tinker with the lineup and experiment with players in his absence.

Tribe adds bullpen arms

Mark Shapiro and the Indians made the first steps in trying to solve last season’s bullpen woes by signing veteran relievers Roberto Hernandez and lefty Aaron Fultz to one year contracts Saturday.

With the Pirates and Mets in ’06, Hernandez went 0-3 with a 3.11 ERA in 68 appearances during the regular season.

“He’s a guy that can handle both good and bad outings,” Shapiro said. “He’s been a consistent performer throughout his career. He has strong character, he’s a professional. If things do get bumpy, he can handle it and provide veteran leadership to the guys on our staff.”

“He’s (Fultz) coming off an ’06 season in Philadelphia, where he went 3-1 with a 4.54 ERA in 66 appearances, which tied a career-high. He was tough on lefties, holding them to a .212 average.

“He’s a guy that has been consistently effective against left-handers,” Shapiro said. “I’m sure we’ll use him for more than just left-handed hitters, but our ability to get left-handed hitters out has been a problem.”

Although he rising in age, Hernandez should provide quality late inning relief for a Tribe bullpen that was a disaster last season. He has a very solid 3.32 career ERA and has postseason experience if the Indians are to somehow make it to that point next season.

They aren’t superstars, but if they can settle into the proper role, Fultz and Hernandez could prove to be very nice signings for the Tribe.

Cavs close November with a loss

The New York Knicks took the Cavs down to the wire and pulled out a 101-98 win at the Q. The quickness and athleticism of the Knicks put a lot of pressure on the Cavaliers’ defense for most of the night. Their D had trouble stopping the Knicks’ one on one penetration. When the Cavs sagged off the defenders to make up for that, the Knicks were able to knock down the three-pointer. The Cavs lose for just the second time at home this season. LeBron finished with 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. The Cavs finally got their offense going and played solid defense in the third quarter. They closed the quarter on a 17-2 run and led by four going into the final period but weren’t able to sustain the momentum.

Down 101-98 with less than a minute remaining, the Cavs had a couple of opportunities to cut the deficit but failed to do so. A LeBron missed layup on a drive, a Damon Jones bad pass, and a Donyell Marshall missed three-pointer doomed the Cavs in their final three possessions. With just under eight seconds left and the Cavs needing a three to tie it, they executed two inbound plays very poorly, leaving Marshall with no choice but to hoist up a long three with a hand in his face at the end.

Once again, we continue to play down to the competition and are having difficulties playing a full 48 minutes of basketball.