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TODD PORTER

BEREA — Shortly after Sunday’s historic 51-45 win against the Bengals ended, the Browns were receiving calls from the national media. ESPN Radio wanted Derek Anderson. Peter King of Sports Illustrated wanted to talk to the Cleveland’s latest savior. Kellen Winslow chatted on The Sporting News Radio.

The NFL Network called. It will replay the game tonight at 8. In all, Cleveland players were on nine national media outlets. The Browns went from laughingstock to buying their stock in a week.

Now coach Romeo Crennel — as silly as it sounds — has to worry about, gulp, overconfidence.

Seriously.

How many times has it happened before? Cleveland wins a game few thought it would — and lays an egg few thought it could.

Anderson breathed life into Cleveland’s playmakers.

Braylon Edwards sold out a couple of times.

Winslow was his normal self. Anderson used Joe Jurevicius the way the Browns should have last season.

On one afternoon, everything worked.

“I think the thing we have to fight is to expect there’s going to be 51 points every week,” Crennel said. “That doesn’t happen in the NFL.”

The Browns offense isn’t as awful as it was two weeks ago and not as sterling sharp as it was against Cincinnati. Crennel’s task is to get his players not to believe either.

“What’s going to happen now is a lot of these guys are going to be told they’re the best thing since sliced bread because they can run for 200 yards a game and can throw five touchdown passes and put 51 points on the board,” Crennel said. “The thing we have to do is get those guys to understand nothing has changed.”

The Browns haven’t understood that under Crennel. They haven’t understood it since Oct. 12, 2003, the last time they won two straight.

Crennel cracked through with a division win Sunday. Could the words winning and streak be used together inside the team’s headquarters next week?

Maybe.

Not because it’s the Oakland Raiders across the field.

Last week, the Browns took a giant step toward maturing. For more than two hours, they discussed themselves and accountability. It was a sign of growth.

“That shows some maturity, and maybe they’re really truly becoming a team,” Crennel said. “That’s what it takes to win in this league.”

A loss like Cleveland started with against Pittsburgh can bring individual egos together. A win like they had against the Bengals can repair fractured psyches.

Cleveland is staying in San Francisco this weekend. They’ll head across the bay to Oakland. Before then, they have a week to decide what’s panning out:

Something worth buying into or fool’s gold.



Porter is a columnist for the Canton Repository. Reach him at todd.porter@cantonrep.com.

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