Coming off their first week of Hard Knocks on HBO, the Browns were probably ready to deliver some “hard knocks” to someone wearing a different uniform. They did just that on Thursday night in New Jersey when they took on the New York Giants. The final score doesn’t matter and you can’t say the Browns are going to the playoffs after their showing, but most of the things we wanted to see from the Browns, we saw. Let’s dive in.
Tyrod Taylor was fully competent and efficient. He was 5/5 for 99 yards and a touchdown to David Njoku. He found Jarvis Landry twice for 36 yards. He showed the ability to extend plays enough to make them bigger. It’s exactly what we wanted to see.
Meanwhile, in Buffalo, the Josh Allen experience was happening…
Baker Mayfield did everything you could have wanted him to do against the second-stringers. He threw for over 200 yards and two touchdowns. David Njoku got in a second time and then Mayfield hit Antonio Callaway on a slant and he toasted the defense thereafter.
It wasn’t all gravy. I’ll spare you the stats but just keep in mind Browns rookie running back Nick Chubb averaged less than one yard per carry. In fairness, it wasn’t like he missed holes like Trent Richardson in a Colts uniform. The defense was getting penetration on nearly every play and the kid never had a chance. Carlos Hyde had a negative one-yard rushing as well on one carry.
Saquon Barkley looked really good for the Giants, which is bad for the Browns. He had a 39-yard run to start off the game. He ended with five carries for 43 yards, so the Browns woke up, but he looks explosive just like he did in college. It’s just a pre-season game, but for Giants fans, it sure beats the alternative.
The mop-up duty began thereafter and there wasn’t much to watch. Preseason is a little rough, in case you’d forgotten.
I’ve got to say that I loved Jay Crawford and Tim Couch on the call on WEWS in Cleveland. I loved having Dustin Fox and Bernie Kosar on the sidelines. We’ve talked about this frequently over the years, but it would be awesome if the NFL would embrace the local TV broadcast like MLB and the NBA do. I’d prefer to have a somewhat homer take on TV all the time. I know people complain about some of our home TV broadcasters in other sports, but it’s worse when the Cavs are on TNT or the Indians are on ESPN or Fox National or Facebook or whatever. The NFL is missing the boat on this forever and ever.
I happened to be in Chicago last weekend and scored a ticket to see Manchester Orchestra at a sold-out Lollapalooza aftershow at House of Blues. Going in, Manchester Orchestra was already one of my favorite bands, but I hadn’t yet seen them on tour for their latest album, A Black Mile to the Surface. What I saw and felt on Saturday night cemented Manchester Orchestra into my musical in immortal perpetuity.
At this point in my life, I’ve listened to thousands and thousands of bands and many more thousands of albums. I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of bands live. Most bands that are well past their first decade in existence are no longer making the best music of their careers. Their live shows are relying heavily on older hits, assuming they even have them.
Manchester Orchestra killed the audience with older favorites like I’ve Got Friends and one of the greatest live songs I’ve ever seen from any band, Shake it Out, but those moments didn’t overshadow the new stuff. Manchester Orchestra has a mini-trilogy of songs in the middle of their new album that runs like this. The Alien runs into The Sunshine, which Runs into The Grocery. The vocal highs that Andy Hull hits in The Grocery were so impressive on the album that I questioned whether he would go for them live. He didn’t slack at all, hitting every inch of those impressive notes. It brought the house down completely.
They hit the encore with their big hit this year The Gold, before leaving the audience breathless with The Silence. This isn’t from the show I attended, but watch (or skip) to the end and see how Andy ends the song by himself a capella with a backdrop of darkness. It’s an unorthodox way to end a set, but it killed me.
Manchester Orchestra is one of the best rock bands in America and it’s not normal at all at this stage of their career. I won’t take them for granted.