The final four games of this season were supposed to serve as an audition of sorts for Derek Anderson, the Browns quarterback who came out of nowhere in 2007 to lead the team to 10 wins before getting benched earlier this month.
Brady Quinn, Cleveland's latest submission for franchise quarterback, was shut down for the year after doing more damage to the broken index finger on his throwing hand during the Week 12 loss to the Texans, which opened the door for Anderson to get another shot at the gig.
Through the first three quarters against the Colts this afternoon, Anderson was actually serviceable; he completed 16 of 26 passes and didn't throw an interception. Of course, he fumbled on a Dwight Freeney sack early in the final period and Robert Mathis rumbled 37 yards to give Indy a 10-6 lead.
With just over a minute to go, Mathis sacked Anderson, but not before Browns offensive lineman Kevin Shaffer was pushed back into the quarterback's knee, likely ending Anderson's season. According to ESPN.com's James Walker, Anderson suffered an MCL injury to his left knee and the recovery time is 3-4 weeks. Which means curtains for Anderson in 2008, and quite possibly his Browns career.
"It didn't look good with him coming off,'' Browns coach Romeo Crennel said after the game. "I'm not encouraged by the way he came off the field." ...The bad news keeps on coming, via NFL.com:
"It's always hard to see any guy come off the field like that,'' [backup Ken] Dorsey said of Anderson. "Injuries are part of the NFL, but you hate to see it anytime it happens."
The Browns also lost Winslow to an apparent lower left leg injury on the first play of the third quarter. Winslow was blocking when his left leg was hit from behind and his ankle was caught underneath another player, causing his leg to buckle. He was able to leave the field under his own power and was checked by trainers on the sidelines before later walking to the locker room.On the upside ... okay, there is no upside. Those players who aren't injured probably wish they were, the head coach and general manager appear to have checked out, and the fans can now fully devote their attention to what LeBron James will do after his current contract expires in a year and a half. Welcome to Cleveland.
Winslow, who did not return to the game, declined interview requests after the game, according to the AP.