Somehow Gary Barnidge came up with that miracle touchdown catch that not only put the Browns up by 1, but also managed to simultaneously suck all of the air out of an entire stadium.
For those of us at home watching in shock/disgust while listening to the CBS broadcast team, we had to endure Kevin Harlan jumping for joy at the touchdown, and then Rich Gannon drops this line:
“Man, this is terrific by Josh McCown.”
As I’m yelling back at Gannon (who can clearly hear me) that McCown threw a bad jump ball, that Flacco would be chastised for that very same pass, and in no way was it a ‘terrific’ play, my phone goes off with a text message that simply says (edited for the family friendly audience) “I hope you rip these Cleveland-loving announcers a new one.”
And I planned on doing just that.
But here’s the thing about that broadcast team: As much as I couldn’t stand all of the pro-Browns hype they were spewing in the second half and overtime, I honestly can’t blame them one bit.
And really that Browns-heavy chatter wasn’t the entire game. In the first half, Gannon and Harlan were very insistent to discuss both teams in equal capacity. Browns O, then Ravens O. Browns D, then Ravens D. If somebody made a great play, they’d key in on that player for a moment. And once the Ravens took control in the first half, they shifted more focus towards positive Ravens notes, and less about the Browns.
Don’t believe me? Here’s some first half notes from Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon.
KH- “…linebackers including one of the most underrated guys in the league, Daryl Smith.”
RG- “Webb had really played well this year.”
RG- (On Flacco’s 117 consecutive game streak) “…he’s never missed a start in 8 years and trust me, that’s not easy to do as a quarterback in the National Football League.”
RG- “Joe Flacco throws the prettiest deep ball, maybe in football.”
Heck, even the Flacco-to-Juice touchdown received the halftime McDonald‘s ‘Who Do You Love’ play!
But then the tides started to turn, and a catastrophic series of events would take place, starting with injury after injury.
The second half started well for the Ravens, but after being up 21-9 in the first 44 minutes, the Ravens were outscored 21-9 in the final 16 minutes of regulation. The makeshift secondary couldn’t stop McCown, and the Ravens offense (along with questionable redzone play calling) couldn’t break the plane anymore.
How should a broadcast team react?
Exactly how Gannon and Harlan handled things. Praise the 36-year-old McCown running in that touchdown, enjoy the Barnidge mindblowing butt catch, and applaud their final TD in regulation to Crowell.
What do you expect? The broadcast team to call Cleveland lucky because the Ravens were injured? Or because Barnidge busted out some yoga poses to nab that ball with the back of his leg? Or would you rather they take the opposite approach and say the Ravens look terrible?
None of those options are legit, and we should realize that. Facts are facts, and the Browns were the better team in the second half and earned that praise.
Ultimately, this team just isn’t what it once was. The glory days are gone (not to say they won’t be back) and the broadcast team is no longer going to gush about the young talent we don’t have, nor will they go on about our injured vets, our questionable playcalling, or our inability to not draw yellow flags every other play.
So good ya Rich and Kevin, and hopefully we get back in your good graces sooner rather than later!
Potential bias concerns aside, I would remiss if I didn’t take the broadcast team to task for some miscues, so let’s get to roasting, shall we?
KH: “Ravens call up Butler with their 2 return men out…” (So Camp and who exactly Harlan? Are you calling Smitty a PR/KR? That was by default with no other options. Try again.)
KH: “Boomer’s the man.” (Nobody likes Boomer. I’m not even sure Boomer likes Boomer. Actually that’s a lie. Andy Dalton loves him since Boomer constantly gushes about Dalton like a 13-year-old at a One Direction concert.)
RG: “Great play by the Lions there.” (Not only are you in the wrong game Rich, but the Lions weren’t even in action at that point in time. Also, I’m not sure anybody has muttered those words yet this year for the 0-5 Lions.)
Dana Jacobson: “________________” (That’s not a typo. They went to her on the sidelines and we got a whole bunch of nothing coming out of her mouth)
Freeze Frame of the Game
A seemingly random screen shot with #71 of the Browns highlighted. Why you ask?
That’s rookie Danny Shelton, nose tackle for the Browns. All 339 lbs of Shelton managed to track Buck Allen downfield on his 44 yard break. In real time, Shelton ran from the LOS to this point (34 yards) in 5 seconds, and was within a few steps of Buck Allen. Given his sheer size, that is EXTREMELY impressive!
Then again, I suppose that’s what a team should expect out of their first round pick. Something we haven’t seen around town as of late…