Monday Morning QB (cont.)
Posted: Sunday November 18, 2007 11:19PM; Updated: Monday November 19, 2007 3:06PM
The Browns get their first break since Bernie Kosar landed in their laps in the Supplemental Draft.
I detailed the strangest field goal of all time (and I mean it; this one was weirder than Tom Dempsey's 63-yarder, or Adam Vinatieri's through the Foxboro blizzard) at the end of regulation on NBC. My colleague Don "Donnie Brasco'' Banks described it exquisitely, so I won't repeat much, other than a few details from the officials' perspective, and from the hero of the moment, Dawson, the only Brown left from 1999, the year the Browns came back to Cleveland.
"I'm still overwhelmed, to be honest,'' Dawson said from Baltimore, an hour after the strangest ending to a game this season gave Cleveland (6-4) a 33-30 overtime win over the ticked-off Ravens.
Weirdo Stat of the Week: The Browns picked up their second 33-30 overtime win in history -- and second in the last 15 days. Remember the 33-30, Dawson-won dogfight over Seattle a couple of weeks ago?
I kept wondering how a 51-yard kick could doink, with momentum, off the left upright and onto a spot two feet beyond the crossbar on the curved portion of the pole going down to the ground -- and then bounce back through the uprights back onto the field. Dawson had an idea. "When I kicked it, I really kicked it well, but there was some wind,'' he said. "And when you kick a long field goal into the wind, right near the end it starts to slow up, like it's hitting a wall, and comes almost straight down. You see it with a lot of punters on pooch punts. The punts come almost straight down and sometimes the punters can get the ball to bounce back. I think that's what happened with my kick.''
As you probably know by now, the kick was ruled no good by field judge Jim Saraceno. But back judge Keith Ferguson thought it was good, and Saraceno thought it wasn't, and Ferguson convinced ref Pete Morelli with a more adamant argument.
"I thought I kicked it well enough,'' said Dawson. "And when I saw it bounce off [the crossbar, apparently], I was sick to my stomach. Just sick. But the way it bounced, I thought something odd had happened. Then I saw the refs huddling, and people at that end of the field were insisting [the ball] was over. So I thought we had a chance. But the whole time they're huddling, it's like a jury being out. You're powerless. It's agonizing. When they said it was good, I just thought: Sweet justice. It's justice, to be honest with you. We've had some pretty weird things happen to us over the years, none of them good.''
Dawson, of course, won it with a field goal in overtime.
And how about this delicious possible matchup: If the season ended this morning, the Browns would make the playoffs. And they'd play a wild-card game the first weekend of January at the third-seeded team ... the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Tony Dungy gets it right ... even though most of us in the NBC viewing room thought he was out of his mind late Sunday afternoon.
Indianapolis 10, Kansas City 10. Fourth quarter, 2:00 left. Not a good day for the Colts offense. Again. Fourth-and-1, Chiefs' 3-yard line.
The play, obviously, was to kick the field goal. But here was Manning and the first-unit offense on the field, with two timeouts left. Kansas City had one. Kick it, Tony. Kick it! What are you doing?
Dungy flashed back to last week, at San Diego. With a fourth-and-1 at the Chargers 7, down 23-21 in the final two minutes, Manning tried to draw the Chargers offside -- but it was the Colts who got called for illegal motion. Adam Vinatieri missed the chippy field goal that would have won it, and Indianapolis lost.
"The only difference this week is we were tied, not behind,'' he said Sunday after the game. "You feel like [if the Colts don't convert], Kansas City's going to have to move it from being backed up. They only had one timeout. We could use our timeouts ... and we probably would have gotten the ball back at midfield at the end.''
Said Manning: "Maybe they [the Chiefs] got a little heavy in their stance, thinking, 'He's really not going to run it,'' and then when we did, we got a pretty good surge.'' That was the key -- Manning knowing he could get a yard. That, and Dungy knowing with, essentially, a rookie quarterback, Brodie Croyle, on the other side, there was no way the Chiefs were going 97 yards with one timeout in 100 seconds on the road.
Manning gained one. First down. The Chiefs called their last timeout. Manning knelt with 1:44 left. Tick, tick, tick. With 1:03 left, Manning knelt again. Tick, tick, tick. With 22 seconds left, Manning knelt again. Fourth down. Tick, tick ... timeout, Indy. Six seconds left. Vinatieri's 24-yard field goal was good. Ballgame.
Just like I said in the NBC viewing room: Dungy's a genius.