Originally posted on Cleveland Frowns  |  Last updated 12/18/12

SAN FRANCISCO - DECEMBER 07: Head coach Eric Mangini of the New York Jets looks on the field against the San Francisco 49ers during an NFL game on December 7, 2008 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
We’d been saving this for a rainy day and here we are (at least metaphorically speaking), so enjoy this gem from a few weeks back by Jonathan Knight at The Cleveland Fan, who took a look back at “the Browns’ finest performance of the expansion era … a victory over the best team they’d faced in more than 40 years.” That’s Eric Mangini’s Browns’ 2010 drubbing of the New England Patriots in Colt McCoy’s third game as an injury-forced third round rookie starter. It was the precise opposite of Shurmurball and it was glorious. As is Knight’s piece at TCF, which only has two significant factual inaccuracies in it which, for articles about Mangini’s Browns, qualifies the writer for a Pulitzer, but nevertheless should be addressed: Error #1. Knight says: “By Week 9 of 2010, the Browns had already done a nice job of firmly establishing themselves as absolutely nothing for any opponent to worry about. They stood at 2-5 coming out of their bye week and loomed as anything but a threat to the Patriots, who strutted into town with a 6-1 mark  and had easily dispatched the Browns the previous four times they’d played since becoming the NFL’s elite franchise a decade earlier.” But the truth is that by Week 9, the Browns were just coming off a 30-17 beating of of Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in the Super Dome where they got out to a 20-3 halftime lead and never let the Saints within 10 points. By Week 9, what the Browns had actually established themselves as was a team that, despite a D-grade roster and a rotating carousel of quarterbacks that wouldn’t crack a starting lineup in the Arena League, would nevertheless routinely beat playoff teams (Chiefs, Ravens, Falcons) and 10-win teams (Bucs) if only Jake Delhomme and Peyton Hillis could avoid making multiple red zone turnovers per game. Error #2. Knight says: “New England['s] offense [was] continually stymied by a suddenly resurgent Cleveland defense – using quirky alignments dreamed up by long-haired wild man Rob Ryan.” Nobody doesn’t love Rob Ryan but there’s no basis to assume that Mangini didn’t have a significant hand in dreaming up these alignments, if he didn’t dream them up entirely himself. Anyway, as much as it’s hard to say that Mike Holmgren wouldn’t have brought us Shurmurball even if that D-grade 2010 roster hadn’t been irretrievably ravaged by injury two weeks later, it’s still some look back. ————— In other news, here’s Tony Grossi saying that Nick Saban wouldn’t come to Cleveland for $100 million dollars, and just a note that the comment thread to last week’s post comparing Brandon Weeden’s 2012 stats to Colt McCoy’s 2011 stats through 13 games is as live as ever. Who is Anne Dunn? Alright, back tomorrow hopefully with X’s and O’s. Tweet
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