That result felt predictable.

This is precisely why you don’t trash talk and act too arrogant before you accomplish anything. I know Browns fans haven’t had a chance to be arrogant for a long time and really deserved a chance to look down on people, but you gotta do more than win on paper. You gotta win games. That was a gross, undisciplined smackdown that highlighted a lot of the flaws that the more arrogant fans seemed very willing to overlook because OH SHIT WE GOT OBJ AND A QUARTERBACK NOW.

First off, let’s be fair. This is one game. There is a lot of football left, and this might honestly be the precise gut-punch the team needed to put them into a better mindset than “we already great”. This team is still full of potential. It might even be a blessing to get this smackdown to earth game so early in the season instead of say, week 8. You get too uppity, the gut-punch always comes for you. Best take it and learn from it, and there is plenty to learn from the beat-down by the Titans.

For one drive, this team made me believe. Their first offensive drive was stupendous and watching it made me briefly go “oh shit, what if I was wrong to be skeptical and this team is going to be awesome?” Then they shanked the extra point and I realized I broke my own rule: The Browns are the Browns until they prove otherwise. The Titans didn’t look incredible or anything during this game and the final score is a bit lopsided. The game was fairly close for the most part and the Browns even briefly got back into it before immediately getting spanked again by an answering touchdown, at which point the wheels came off.

The Titans weren’t very good, but they controlled the line of scrimmage and Baker’s lack of O-line became extremely apparent. Baker himself put in a remarkably bad performance in the final quarter as he started forcing throws big time to make stuff happen. This sucked for the game, but I wouldn’t be too worried about it if I was a Browns fan. Baker will learn how to better control his late-game panic attempts with time. He’s a gunslinger and sometimes this just happens to gunslingers. I’d rather have a QB with a fearless attitude that keeps throwing picks than a super-safe Alex Smith-type who is too cautious to really ever take those important and necessary risks. For one thing they are more fun to watch.

The most damning thing about the game though was the penalties. The Titans, despite not playing well for a while, kept getting extra chances because the Browns were woefully undisciplined. The sloppy arrogance carried over in the worst way possible, and anyone who may have been skeptical that Freddie Kitchens might be in over his head on controlling a locker room of big personalities was proven fairly correct. Discipline is earned by controlling and coaching the little things, and Freddie needs to focus on that really hard this week. Without the 18 penalties for 182 yards, there is an extremely good chance the Browns come away with a win. Some penalties will always be kinda bullshit and undeserved, but if you get flagged 18 times, you can’t really say it was mostly the refs.

All in all, it was one game. Over-reactions to single games are par for the course in week 1. Outside O-line I didn’t really see the lack of talent that was present on most previous iterations of the Browns. This team really does have the talent required to take the next step and reach the playoffs and if they can calm down, focus, and use this loss as a learning experience, I don’t see why the hype can’t be at least partially realized.