CLEVELAND — Some unsolicited advice for the Cleveland Browns, who need to win out but who haven’t exactly exhibited an ability to live in the moment and maximize their opportunities:
- Not singling any one player out, but don’t spend a minute thinking about what kind of watch you’ll wear in Sunday’s game. Even less on whether it matches your visor.
- Choreograph a TD celebration only if you think it will distract you from taunting a player on the other team.
- If you wake up feeling dangerous, that’s a start but keep in mind it might only be because you’re playing the Bengals.
- If you beat 1-11 Cincinnati, it’s expected. Also, remember you travel there on the final Sunday of the regular season. So maybe between Sunday and the finale Sheldon Richardson shouldn’t mention “beating the stuffing out of them” the first time around as he did in the days leading up to Sunday’s Pittsburgh game.
- I’d hold off, too, on Freddie Kitchens wearing a “Sam Wyche started it” t-shirt. But maybe that’s just me.
6. If you’re Odell Beckham Jr. and the media asks about your future in Cleveland with four games remaining because of some internet “rumor,” say something like, “I’m not here to talk about anything except the Cincinnati Bengals and how we can win another game.”
OK, too late.
7. Do and say whatever Nick Chubb does and says.
8. Run the damn ball.
9. Read the Nick Chubb advice again.
10. Finally, if you wake up feeling danger, that’s even better than feeling dangerous. Because now, one slip ends any hope of a winning season, let alone the playoffs.
- Was Beckham being purposely vague about his future?
Well, he can’t really say what is going to happen after this season. Since he’s under contract and not a free agent, it’s not entirely up to him.
He did say he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else (at this moment) and talked about how much it means to him to be locker mates with Jarvis Landry.
But Beckham being Beckham, he went on:
“I couldn’t sit here and tell you whether I’m going to be here, want to be here, don’t want to be here… I don’t know God’s plan.”
Right now, Browns fans can relate to all feelings of uncertainty. Divine blueprints aside, they only care if there’s a plan to get Beckham more than three catches for 29 yards.
- Ravens tight end Mark Andrews caught a TD pass against San Francisco last week and mimicked a flag planting.
Andrews, a teammate of Baker Mayfield’s at Oklahoma, was exacting some payback on the Niners Nick Bosa, the former Buckeyes star, who did the flag plant after sacking Mayfield earlier this season.
You see, a flag-carrying Mayfield ran to the 50 yard line after the Sooners beat Ohio State in 2017 and… never mind, this is exhausting.
- Mayfield got some credit on Twitter for being tough after returning to the Pittsburgh game with a bruised hand suffered when he banged a helmet on his follow-through.
Asked Wednesday why he was sure he could play against the Bengals despite not yet testing his throwing hand, the quarterback said, “Mama didn’t raise a wuss.”
True. He does play with toughness.
And if he’d been raised to play most any other NFL position, he’d play with a lot worse than a bruised hand every week and few would notice.
- Anthony Davis, despite flu-like symptoms, led the Lakers to a 105-96 win over Denver this week.
Davis, who had 25 points and 10 rebounds, required a IV at halftime.
Not that LeBron James cares about being outdone, but he is expected to be rolled to the center jump in an iron lung next time the Lakers play.
- It’s a good thing the NBA is cracking down on traveling violations.
Or LeBron would never have been able to get away with this:
- In the same game James came off the bench in Utah and celebrated a blocked shot, dancing in his socks on the court while play resumed down the other end.
Two things: The Lakers are providing many reasons to celebrate this year with James looking like he’s rediscovered lost super powers.
Based on how the refs reacted to James in Utah, invisibility must be one of those super powers.
- Clemson’s coach Dabo Swinney said a few weeks back it’s not good enough for his team to win games, and that Clemson must dominate opponents for the pollsters to put them in the national championship playoff.
“It’s huge from a national standpoint,” Swinney said after a rout of South Carolina. “Because if we lose this game, they’re going to kick us out. They don’t want us in there anyway.
"Georgia loses to this very same team and the very next day it's, 'How do we keep Georgia in it?' We win to the team that beat South Carolina and it's 'How do we get Clemson out?'"
Georgia is ranked seventh in strength of schedule. Clemson is right behind.
I’m sure Dabo was just about to get to that when he ran out of time.
- In Dallas, Jason Garrett will finish the season as Cowboys head coach but looks doomed unless the Cowboys fulfill the highest hopes of ownership.
For now, he must get his players attention on a daily basis while Jerry Jones talks about going to the Super Bowl.
- Based on Thursday’s loss to Chicago, Garrett isn’t getting his players' attention.
The Cowboys have lost seven of 10 since opening the season 3-0.
They are 6-7.
Or as it’s known in the NFC East, first place
- San Francisco 49ers analyst Tim Ryan is suspended for his take on how Lamar Jackson’s skin color aids in camouflaging play-action fakes.
Somehow Niners fans will have to get by without Ryan’s analysis and — next time Jackson pops up on their TV screens — will have to judge the Baltimore quarterback’s excellence for themselves based on a hundred or so more important factors.
- In Jacksonville, Gardner Minshew will take over at quarterback for the second time this season in relief of Nick Foles.
The first time around, Minshew Mania swept the city.
Now, after four consecutive losses by 23 points, 20, 22 and 17, respectively, it’s more like Minshew Meh.
- Rams head coach Sean McVay joked — we think — that using running back Todd Gurley more recently can be traced to “me not being an idiot.”
McVay pointed to the Pittsburgh game as an example of how he got away from using Gurley despite some good work early against the Steelers.
Now, why does that sound familiar?
- Browns 27, Bengals 13.
- Have a weekend.