CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 11: Halfback Cedric Benson #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates with Chris Pressley #36 after scoring a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns during the season opener at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
+ Tony Grossi. You know the name, evoking the same level of anger as someone drafting the player you targeted one spot ahead of you during fantasy football. He writes a column for Cleveland's The Plain Dealer and last week he wrote that the Browns should be ashamed if they lost to the Bengals.
If Andy Dalton comes in here and win his first game in his first NFL season, the Browns should be ashamed of themselves. I think that's the thing that I can't get over.
Of course not only are the Browns ashamed, but Browns fans are waking up with a migraine-induced hangover. Many call it a game that they gave away. Maybe; but isn't that how games are won and lost in the first place? The underlining principle of games isn't always about how good or talented you are, it's about how you manage and limit the mistakes. We've always heard that the difference between the best and worst teams in the NFL is microscopic. And all it takes is a mistake from a team for that gap to either widen or close.
And we're not talking about seven first quarter penalties; rather busted pass protection that lands the team's quarterback on the sidelines, or a questionable use of Marvin Lewis' first replay challenge (where he thought Morgan Trent tipped a pass that led to a Leon Hall defensive pass interference). We're talking about decisions to take the ball out of the back of the endzone during a kickoff, or a busted coverage.
The Bengals won Sunday using strategy (keeping Benson fresh until late), unexpected creativeness (the 41-yard touchdown reception to A.J. Green) all the while limiting their own mistakes. That's a sound approach to any football game.
How does Grossi react Monday morning?
Excessive penalties, offensive inefficiency and a defensive brain cramp on the crucial play of the game tarnished the beginning of the Browns' latest new era.
Raised expectations from an encouraging preseason were blown to smithereens when the Browns blew a fourth-quarter lead and were outfoxed by journeyman quarterback Bruce Gradkowski on a quick snap that caught the Browns napping in their defensive huddle.
No mention of being ashamed. Oh well. I guess the Browns, their fans and media have more things to worry about after losing to the 0-16 Cincinnati Bengals.
Make that Mike Brown 1, Carson Palmer zilch.
Something changed here Sunday. Some worm turned, some karma got major-ly readjusted. It was seismic or cosmic. One of the ‘mics. It might have been just for a day. Or, maybe it was a tell-your-grandchildren event:
"Billy, come over here and let grampa tell you about the day the Bengals stopped being the Bengals."
+ On the other hand, Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, while impressed with Cincinnati's win on Sunday, re-iterates the "one-win rule" stating that while it was a great win, considering the adversity this team faced, it's still just one game.
It’s going to be interesting seeing the comments after this one because guess what? At 1-0 and fresh off their first opening week win since 2007, the one-game rule still applies. Four years ago after beating Baltimore the Bengals then proceeded to go 2-5 in their first seven games and ended the year 7-9.
The Cincinnati Bengals, at least for a day, slapped on a fresh set of stripes, showing resiliency and clutch play despite the gloomy forecast of outsiders.
Cincinnati, what we thought was the worst team in the NFL before Sunday, laughed its way out of Cleveland with a 27-17 win that essentially left new Browns coach Pat Shurmur using the liar-liar, pants-on-fire defense.
+ Sports Illustrated's Peter King's lone acknowledgement about Cincinnati's win was really a comment about the game-winning play.
g. Bruce Gradkowski was more than a clipboard-holder in Cleveland. His on-target 41-yard touchdown pass to rookie A.J. Green, the first in Green's career, was the winner in Cincinnati's 27-17 upset of Cleveland.