It's been over 24 hours since the Cleveland Browns snatched defeat from the jaws of victory versus the New England Patriots. I've seen the highlights multiple times. I still don't believe what occurred in the final two minutes of that game.
The plight of the Cleveland sports fan worsens with every year, and the Browns are largely responsible for it. This franchise continues to find baffling ways to lose games and crush the dreams of its supporters in the process. Maybe those who claim that the city is cursed aren't far off.
It's as good an explanation for Sunday's events at Gillette Stadium as I can come up with.
Sober thoughts on Browns losing to the Patriots: Reality
Some Browns fans looking for a silver lining have pointed out how well quarterback Jason Campbell played in New England. Campbell completed 29 of 44 pass attempts for 391 yards and three touchdowns. He didn't turn the ball over, and one could have easily argued that Campbell outplayed Tom Brady up through the first 57 minutes of the game.
Don't buy into any hype.
Campbell is a serviceable, and sometimes even a very good, backup quarterback, and nothing more. He turns 32-years old at the end of 2013. He is not Cleveland's QB of the future.
Odds are that Campbell is going to finish out the season as the starting QB of the Browns so long as he can remain upright. I don't see how that does the team any good. December is a lost cause for this side minus searching for talent who can help Cleveland win games next fall.
I'd rather see either Caleb Hanie or Alex Tanney leading the offense when the Browns host the Chicago Bears this coming Sunday, but that's just me.
Sober thoughts on Browns losing to the Patriots: That was needed
Lost in discussions about bogus pass interference calls and onside kicks was that tight end Jordan Cameron had his best game in about two months. Cameron caught all nine passes tossed to him, and he found the end zone for the first time since October 20. Most importantly, he looked like the dominant force that was unstoppable back in September, something that offers hope that Cameron could possibly be the two of a one-two punch that features Josh Gordon as the star.
Cameron has the physical skills to be one of the top players at his position. He now has to show that he can consistently be counted upon. Four catches for 43 yards, his numbers against the Jacksonville Jaguars, isn't going to cut it.
Sober thoughts on Browns losing to the Patriots: The test
Nobody inside the Cleveland locker room could be blamed for having his head down after Sunday's heartbreaking defeat. That is as tough a way to lose a football game as you'll see. With that said, those who will be wearing brown and orange in 2014 have to put the most recent disappointment in the past.
The Browns have done the “well, at least we'll have a high first round draft pick” thing. It hasn't brought a winner to Cleveland. This franchise has a culture of losing, and that has to change for the team to even flirt with becoming a playoff contender.
Joe Haden. Cameron Gordon. Such cornerstones of the team need to experience December victories. Those who say otherwise are making far too big of a deal about the difference between picking fourth and picking eighth overall next spring.
Winning breeds winning. The Browns have to learn that if they are to rise out of the basement of the division standings.