Raiders 16, Browns 14
Summary: The game was lost, and then a win seemed possible, then it seemed lost again, then it seemed like the Browns would actually win, and then, on the last play of the game, they lost.
The key moment: Our story begins with a virus …
Happiness level (scale of 1-to-10): 4. Look, the Browns played their hearts out. And, look, I didn’t really expect them to win the game. And, look, this has felt like a blah season for a long time now … this game just fit right into the narrative.
So, my friend Eddie introduced me to this iPhone game called “Retro Bowl,” which feels a little bit like the old Tecmo Bowl game we fixated over in the 1990s. It’s an obsessive little game, and I (of course) am coaching the Browns. My team is 11-0 this season. Nick Chubb has run for 1,924 yards and 29 touchdowns in 10 games. My top receiver is Odell Beckham, who seems to have connected well with eight-bit Baker Mayfield — Little OBJ is averaging 38.6 yards per catch and has scored 18 touchdowns.
I tell you this now because Browns’ reality has become kind of blah. It’s clear now that the Browns are not a good team and they’re not a bad team, they are certainly not a lucky team but they’re also not a particularly unlucky one, they are not well-coached and they’re not poorly-coached, they are not exciting and they are not hapless, they are not a playoff team and they’re not out of the playoff picture. The Browns are just there, serviceable, perfectly fine, vanilla ice cream, a Toyota Camry, a bowl of Smarties at the bank, a Huey Lewis song on the radio, honeydew in your fruit salad, a store clerk telling you to have a nice day.
If the Browns were a Spice Girl, they’d be Sporty Spice.
And so, yeah, I like these Browns just fine — Sporty Spice is, you know, great and all — it’s just that maybe I find my Retro Bowl Browns team to be a bit more interesting.