America's Team

They never left.

Jim Rome
September 18, 2020 - 9:25 am
Odell Beckham Jr.

USA Today

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Well, well, well. What do we have here?! Look who’s back. America’s Team, the Cleveland Browns and YES…I will now accept your apologies. ALL OF THEM. How could anyone, anywhere, at any time, doubt America’s Team and America’s quarterback?  HONESTLY.  It’s offensive. It’s insulting. And you should be grateful as hell that we’d even think about accepting your apologies. But I’m like that. And by like that, I mean a bigger man that you. I don’t carry grudges. Everyone makes mistakes. Especially those of you who doubted America’s team, American’s and America’s sports talk show host. I mean. do better. 

Because. Ever since Sunday afternoon, you’ve heard the chatter. Correction, you’ve heard the slander.

You’ve heard people saying that the Browns were a bust again. They were saying that this team doesn’t work. That Cleveland is just going Cleveland again. And they were coming in with all they idiotic takes about the city being ugly and their oh-so-fresh resets of the river catching on fire.

There was talk that Baker Mayfield wasn’t that good. That he was a flash in the pan. That Odell Beckham Junior should be traded. That Kevin Stefanski was just another in a long line of guys who could not turn around the Browns.

Everyone was having a really good time at Cleveland’s expense. But not the Browns. They weren’t buying into that noise. They weren’t getting rattled by that bullcrap either.   They weren’t’ and I wasn’t. 

You want to question them? That’s fine. You go right ahead. At your own risk. But they know better. Because they know what they’ve got.

And what they’ve got is this:

Cleveland 35
Cincinnati 30 

Baker Mayfield – 2 touchdowns and a passer rating of 110.6

Myles Garrett – strip sack

Nick Chubb – 124 rushing yards and two touchdowns: did I or did I not say on this show yesterday he was a top five back: and did you or did you not come at me when I said it. 

Yeah, well, I accept your apology for that as well. 


Kareem Hunt – more than 100 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. And I did I or did not say that Chubb and Hunt were the best tandem backs in the league; and did you or did you not come at me hard for that too? And for that, I also accept your apology: again, because I am the bigger person: the more understanding and forgiving person. I’m used to being right, and you’ve never admitted to being wrong. I get it.  

But even those numbers don’t do it justice. Because the Cleveland Browns aren’t just about stats, they’re about that action, boss.

And this was that action. This was primetime, under the lights action. Primetime is when the stars come out to shine and C-town was sparkling like a bleeping diamond last night.

Baker Mayfield, who launched his career on a Thursday night in September, did what he does in primetime in September.  Did what he does on the BIG STAGE. He came out firing… and completed his first five passes. He was electric. And so was the rest of the team.

Here’s Nick Chubb for a first quarter touchdown...

 

Oh, are you impressed by the ground game. Are you getting suckered into that and sending too many guys into the box to stop the law firm of Chubb and Hunt? Suckas!!!

Because now Baker Mayfield is going over the top to Odell Beckham Jr for a touchdown

 

Not good?!? Trade that?!? Hell no. That’s the Baker Mayfield everyone was expecting and I knew would show up last night. That was the Odell Beckham Junior everyone was expecting and I knew would show up last night. And that was the play-action bootleg everyone was expecting and I knew would show up last night.

The play-action bootleg didn’t show up in Week 1. Right. Did you think Kevin Stefanski just forgot about it? Did you think he forgot that Mayfield thrives on the run, when he can cause havoc? Of course not. Stefanski, just like the whole team, knows this is a marathon, not a sprint. You can’t open up the full arsenal in the season opener.

They held some back for Cincinnati and then they started unloading. Earlier in the week, Beckham said he’d like to get off to a good start: “It’s like a shooter putting up a couple of 3s early -- you hit one, two of them, like, you might drop 60. Just how I feel. I would love to get involved early.”

Well that was a damn good start. He and Baker were like Klay and Steph, hitting from deep, and you felt like they could go for 60.

But let’s shake it up again. We’ve shown that we can punish you with a Pro Bowl wide receiver, how about wreaking havoc with a back out of the backfield? Baker Mayfield to Kareem Hunt for a touchdown.

Cincinnati bows up and stops the Browns on a 4th and goal? No problem! The defense has this. Meet Myles Garrett and Porter Gustin!

Try another Nick Chubb rushing touchdown on for size. And don’t ever disrespect this beast or me ever again

That is how you bounce back from a rough Week 1. They got punched in the face by Baltimore, they tasted their own blood, and then doled out an ass-kicking of their own. That is what champions do. That is what the city of Cleveland does.

When Muhammad Ali was down did you count him out? When Jiminy Cricket was down, did you count him out? This is the comeback. Did you see Nick Chubb?! This is the game... WOOO!

For anyone who counted out Cleveland after Sunday, I’ve only got one word: embarrassing. And Shame the hell on you for giving up and quitting. Because that’s not what Cleveland is about.

Never count out Cleveland. Cleveland is out when Cleveland says they’re out, and even then, they’re not out, they’re just lulling you into a false sense of security.  The ol Ali rope a dope. 

And do not tell me that it was “just” the Cincinnati Bengals.

These are the same Cincinnati Bengals who gave the Los Angeles Chargers all they could handle. The same Cincinnati Bengals who have plenty of weapons and the most pro-ready rookie quarterback ever. The Bengals have been in the hunt for the title of “second-best professional football team in Ohio” for years. You will not disrespect them on my watch.

Sure, Baker wasn’t perfect. Yes, he threw a pick that kept Cincinnati in the game. That’s genius. You need to test yourself.

You don’t want to be peaking in September. As I told you on Monday, this isn’t a team built to win in September. They’re built to win in December and January. They’re not looking to be the September champs. They’re looking to be something much bigger than that.

The NFL Network postgame show tried to set up Baker to say that he woke up feeling dangerous yesterday, but he wasn’t taking the bait. He’s locked in. And this is just the beginning. As he said after the game: "That’s gonna build confidence for us, and us playing complementary football with the defense. That’s the scary part -- if we start clicking and [get] better, it’s gonna be a fun ride."

All right, that’s the one thing I’ll take exception that Baker said or did: when he said, IF we start clicking. Bro, WHEN you start clicking. And when was last freaking night. And yes, it’s going a great ride: the best ride. And all you chirping before this beat down, don’t be bitter, be better:  there’s still room on America’s team’s bandwagon: and if you’re smart you’ll snatch up one of the remaining seats: and you’ll be glad you did. 

America’s Team isn’t back, they never left.