The NFL gave us another terrible Thursday night game as this time we got to see the Baltimore Ravens beat the Cleveland Browns 28-7. With the win the Ravens took a 1/2 game lead in the AFC North. Of course the Pittsburgh Steelers still have to play in Week 10. The Browns on the other hand dropped to 0-10.
Now believe it or not the Browns had a 7-6 lead at halftime. Neither team as able to put up any points in the 1st quarter; so you got a hint of how the rest of the game was going to go. The Ravens got on the board first with a Justin Tucker 25-yard field goal. The Browns then out together a 7 play 75 yard drive that ended when Cody Kessler hit tight end Seth DeValve for a 32-yard touchdown pass. The Cody Parkey extra point made it 7-3 Cleveland. Tucker got the Ravens 3 more points as he hit a 40-yard field goal the 2nd quarter clock expired and the teams went into half time with Cleveland leading 7-6. Of course as we know by the final score the Browns didn’t score again in the game. The Ravens used a 9 play 64 yard drive that culminated with Joe Flacco throwing a 4 yard touchdown pass to tight end Dennis Wallner. The extra point made it 13-7 Baltimore. The teams traded interceptions before the Ravens put together their next scoring drive. This time it was 6 plays covering 47 yards and it ended when Flacco connected with Steve Smith Sr. on a 11 yard touchdown pass. The Ravens successfully made the 2-point conversion when Flacco hit fullback Kyle Juszczyk. That gave the Ravens a 21-7 lead. With the game pretty much over the Ravens out together a 12 play 90 yard drive for a touchdown in the 4th quarter. The touchdown was a 27-yard pass from Flacco to Breshad Perriman. The Tucker extra point got the game to it’s final score of 28-7.
Flacco went 30 for 41 with 296 yards 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Terrence West led the Ravens in rushing with 65 yards on 21 carries while Perriman racked up the most receiving yards for the Ravens going for 64 yards on 3 receptions and a touchdown.
Cody Kessler went 11 for 18 for 91 yards and a touchdown. Josh McCown took some snaps for the Browns as well and went 6 for 13 for 59 yards with 2 interceptions. Isaiah Crowell was the Browns leading rusher in the game with 23 yards on 9 carries. Terrelle Pryor Sr. led the Browns in receiving as he caught 5 passes for 48 yards.
Some now the question is; will the Browns win a game this season. It look as they would get their first win three weeks ago against the New York Jets, but they found a way to give that game away. The rest of the Browns schedule looks like this. Week 11 vs. the Steelers, Week 12 vs. the New York Giants, Week 13 is the Browns bye week. Week 14 they host the Cincinnati Bengals, Week 15 they’re on the road against the Buffalo Bills. Week 16 they’re home against the San Diego Chargers and then they end the season Week 17 in Pittsburgh for their second game against the division rival Steelers. Let me know if you see a win in there because I don’t think I do. The other question for the Browns is with as bad as this team has been will they be replacing head coach Hue Jackson at the end of the season? Jackson is regarded as a quality coach in the NFL and I’m not sure he’s the issue with this team. Even if the Browns do make a coaching change is there a guy out there that could make this team better as the head coach. Of course you’d have to wonder if any of the top names would touch a job like the Browns.
We had some baseball free agent signings and a trade during the last couple days of the General Manager meetings. The Atlanta Braves made two of them. First they signed knuckleballer R.A. Dickey to a 1 year $8 million dollar deal with an option for 2018. Dickey will be 43 years old at the starts of the season and has spent the last 4 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Braves then added to there starting rotation by signing Bartolo Colon to a 1 year $12.5 million dollar deal. Colon turns 44 in May and has pitched the last 3 seasons for the New York Mets.
The Blue Jays also made two signings. They inked Cuban infield prospect Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to a 7 year $22 million dollar contract. Lourdes is the younger brother of Houston Astros infielder Yulieski Gurriel and is considered one of the top international prospects. Gurriel, a Wasserman client, was declared a free agent several months ago but waited to sign until after the completion of his 23rd birthday in order to be exempt from international spending limitations. Unlike his older brother, he’ll require some more time in the minor leagues before surfacing at the big league level. Gurriel Jr. had a showcase last month where it’s reported that 60 to 70 scouts representing 20 different teams showed up for it. Gurriel Jr. worked out at shortstop and centerfield and ran 6.65 in the 60 yard dash. It’s unclear where the Blue Jays play Gurriel Jr. as they have Devon Travis at 2nd base, Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop and Kevin Pillar in centerfield. All 3 of those players are under the Blue Jays control until 2020. It’s possible Gurriel Jr. fills a super utility type role until he fills a full time position. The Blue Jays also signed Designated Hitter (DH) Kendrys Morales to a 3 year $33 million dollar contract. Morales is 33′ he’ll turn 34 in June and spent the last two season with the Kansas City Royals. With the signing of Morales you have to wonder if the Blue Jays will pursue their own free agents Edwin Encarnacion or Jose Bautista. While Encarnacion can play 1st base Morales is pretty much strictly a DH as he’s played just 30 games at 1st base over the last 3 seasons.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim made a signing as well. They inked Jesse Chavez to a 1 year $5.75 million dollar deal with the intention of giving him a chance to win a spot in the starting rotation. Chavez started last season with the Blue Jays before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Chavez appeared in a total of 62 games last season; all in relief. Chaves did make 26 starts for the Oakland A’s in 2015.
There was another signing. but it didn’t involve a player. The Milwaukee Brewers announced that they extend manager Craig Counsell though the 2020 season. Counsell took over as Brewers manager in May of 2015 after the team fire Ron Roenicke. Counsell is 135-169 as manager, but it looks as though he’ll be the guy on the bench through the teams rebuild. Financial terms of Counsell’s deal weren’t announced.
Then the trade. The Philadelphia Phillies acquired 2nd baseman/leftfielder Howie Kendrick from the Dodgers for 1st baseman Darin Ruf and 2nd baseman/outfielder Darnell Sweeney. It’s not clear how the Phillies will use Kendrick, but he’ll provide a veteran presence on a young team. By dealing Kendrick who wasn’t happy with his role in L.A. the Dodgers cleared some payroll to pursue free agents. Could this be a deal that actually works for both teams?
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