After the Cleveland Browns win against the New York Jets on Sept. 20, I fantasized over the slim possibility that the Browns were close to becoming a playoff team. Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield led a dramatic comeback, FirstEnergy stadium was loud and my optimism was at an all time high after that victory. The magic of that night deceived me into thinking we were a great team, led by a stellar defense with an exciting offense led by Mayfield.
Now back to reality. The Browns were back to being the same team that I’ve watched lose for years on Sunday, losing 45-42 to the previously winless Oakland Raiders.
Mayfield turned the ball over four times with two fumbles and two interceptions. The Brown’s defense gave up 437 passing yards to Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. Carr fumbled the ball after being hit by Browns defensive end Myles Garrett with 6:32 left in the fourth quarter, only to have the turnover taken away from us by the referees. They blew the whistle as Carr was hit, not noticing the fumble.
Despite all these negatives, the Browns lead 42-34 with 1:51 left in the game. We even had the ball. Yet, in typical Browns fashion we found a way to lose.
On 3rd and 2, Browns running back Carlos Hyde stretched the ball over the first down marker to give us the win. The referees ruled that we got the first down, and I could finally breathe calmly.
However, the referees reviewed the play and stated that Hyde didn’t get the first down. We had to punt the ball back to the Raiders, giving them a chance to tie the game.
With no timeouts and 1:24 left in the game, the Raiders marched down the field with ease. Carr connected with tight end Jared Cook on a seven yard touchdown pass to cut our lead to two points. Then, Carr completed a fade to wide receiver Jordy Nelson on the two point conversion to send the game into overtime.
Raiders kicker Matt McCrane gave the Raiders the win, nailing a 29 yard field goal in overtime to ruin my Sunday.
Despite all this talent on this 2018 Browns team, watching this game was like watching a movie I’d seen before. It was like dozens of other Browns losses I’ve seen before, filled with turnovers, missed opportunities and blown chances.
Even with stars like Garrett and wide receiver Jarvis Landry, exciting rookies like Mayfield and running back Nick Chubb and new coaches like Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley, these were the same Browns that always find a way to lose.
NFL fans, be grateful you weren’t raised as a Browns supporter. You got lucky.
I have to come back and watch the Browns lose next Sunday. And the Sunday after that. And the Sunday after that. Every game, I try to convince myself that this will be a week were we find a way to win the game, not find a way to lose the game. However, deep down I know the game is probably going to end poorly. Every week I convince myself that the Browns are going to win, only to have my Sunday ruined. The reality is that the Browns lose almost every game they play, but that’s not going to stop me from dreaming. My playoff dreams live on even when reality stings me like it did on Sunday.