First Call: Steelers fans, it could be worse; you could be a Browns fan |
Breakfast With Benz

First Call: Steelers fans, it could be worse; you could be a Browns fan

Tim Benz
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield sits on the sidelines during the second half in an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Cleveland. The Titans won 43-13.

In Monday’s “First Call,” our AFC North recap features a rotten start for Cleveland. Also, the Bengals hang tough and the Ravens go bonkers. Plus, Philadelphia fans live down to their reputation, while Saquon Barkley lives up to his.

Cleveland clunker

I’m not one who dismissed the offseason hype about the Cleveland Browns. I picked them to be 10-6.

They looked more like 6-10 in Sunday’s opener against Tennessee.

Maybe more like 0-16 again. Tennessee crushed Cleveland in Ohio by a final score of 43-13.

And some issues that were worrisome about the Browns coming into the season manifested in their first game.

The shaky offensive line allowed five sacks. The questionable secondary gave up plays of 51 and 75 yards. And, mentally, the team had a collective breakdown.

That was offensive lineman Greg Robinson. He got ejected for that kick. It was one of 18 penalties for the team. The Browns argued constantly and got caught up in their fans booing every call that went against the club. Granted, some were awful.

But Cleveland needs to be smarter than that.

And quarterback Baker Mayfield appeared to suffer a wrist injury, too.

Frying the ‘Fins

Well, if Steelers fans want to declare the Browns a bust after one game, should we declare Lamar Jackson a faster version of Joe Montana, too, then?

Because that’s the way he looked Sunday.

The Baltimore Ravens quarterback was outstanding in his 2019 debut. He was 17-20 for 324 yards and 5 touchdowns. The Ravens dominated in a 59-10 win over the Miami Dolphins.

That was the most points scored in a game by Baltimore in the team’s history.

Granted, Jackson was playing against a Dolphins team that looks like it may not be capable of going .500 in the ACC Coastal. But he was impressive nonetheless.

Oh, by the way, that was first-round pick Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. He had 147 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 4 catches. The Steelers may want to keep an eye on him.

Brown’s cousin is, well, let’s just say, recently acquired by New England.

How bad were the Dolphins? reports that multiple players requested trades after the game.

But don’t worry. It can’t get any worse than this for the Fins. I mean it’s not like they have to play New England next week or anyth…. oh.


O.K. D.K.

If you are like me, you have no faith in the Cincinnati Bengals this year.

If you are like me, you think the Seattle Seahawks are going to be pretty good.

If you are like me, you took Seattle at home over the Bengals in your survivor pool for Week 1.

And, if you are like me, you really sweated out the result.

The Bengals played the Seahawks tougher than expected. Thankfully, though, D.K. Metcalf and company were able to close out the game, 21-20.

NFL research posted that Metcalf’s 89 receiving yards are the most by a Seahawks rookie wide receiver in a debut. Hall of Famer Steve Largent had the previous record of 86 in 1976.

Metcalf and company come to Heinz Field next week.

It’s always funny in Philadelphia

This is as “on-brand” as you can get.

Philadelphia fans are so awful, they’ll even fight their own pro athletes at a game.

Philadelphia 76er Mike Scott — a native of Virginia — went to the Philadelphia Eagles-Washington Redskins game in a Redskins jersey.

Apparently, that did not go over well with the Philly faithful.

Scott reportedly got into a parking lot fight with a few Eagles fans on the way into the game.

Sixers management saw the video and issued a statement. “We are aware of the situation and are in the process of gathering more information. We will have no further comment at this time.”

I guess none of those fans were worried about Scott being injured to open the NBA season in October.

Other pictures from Scott showed that he made it into Lincoln Financial Field in one piece and he appeared to be enjoying the game.

Well, aside from the Redskins play, as Philadelphia won 32-27.

Barkley’s buddy

Penn State product Saquon Barkley is renowned as a really good player. And, by most accounts I’ve heard, a really good teammate, too.

He showed evidence of that this weekend.

On Saturday, I was calling the Duquesne season opener against Walsh. During a commercial break, our spotter showed me a video.

“Hey look,” she said. “Saquon Barkley must be watching us.”

Sure enough, Barkley lifted a clip off the broadcast of his former Penn State teammate, Mark Allen, running back a kick for a touchdown and posted it on Instagram.

Unfortunately for Allen, the play got called back on a penalty. But he also busted out a 43-yard run, and Barkley made sure everyone was aware of that, too.

Allen is playing a graduate transfer year with the Dukes. He and his teammates won their season opener 44-3 over the Cavaliers.

And the day before his own game, Barkley — one of the best players in the NFL — took the time to watch a 41-point FCS blowout on a stream, just to track his former teammate.

Allen was complimentary of Barkley during his time with the Nittany Lions, even though Barkley’s presence limited his playing time. And it appears that wasn’t lost on Barkley either.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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