Calling the Sunday night matchup between the Cleveland Browns and the Los Angeles Rams an emotional game is a lot like the Lombardi Trophy a shiny trinket. The city was electric, and the fans hyped to a fevered pitch.
The game was Cleveland’s first Sunday Night Football game in 11 years, and one of the highlights would be the Cleveland Browns inducting former first-round draft pick, Clay Matthews Jr. into the Browns Ring of Honor. Matthews played linebacker for the Browns from 1978 to 1993. He was one of the cornerstones the team relied on, and Matthews did not disappoint.
To add an extra touch of sentimentality to the halftime festivities, Matthews’ son Clay Matthews III would be on hand in Cleveland as a member of the Los Angeles Rams.
The Cleveland Browns led the Rams 6-3 at the half when Clay Matthews Jr. accompanied by his family made his way to the field of First Energy Stadium. Matthews was characteristically humble and graciously named fellow players during his acceptance speech.
Although Clay Matthews III, recorded a message for his father, that was played on the stadium’s screen; the younger Matthews managed to share a moment on the field with his dad towards the end of the ceremony.
Looking at Matthews’ career of 278 games over 19 years and some of his impressive stats 69.5 Sacks, 1595 tackles (1561 solo) and 27 forced fumbles it is difficult to understand why Clay Matthews is not enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His family, led by daughter Jennifer, and fans have picked up the standard, calling for Mathews’ induction, which is, in my opinion, long overdue.
The result of the game was not the victory fans sought. A Baker Mayfield interception in the endzone with 27 seconds to play sealed the victory for the Rams. As with their game one loss to the Tennessee Titans, if you listen closely, you can hear more bandwagon fans falling off.
The next few days will be awash with armchair quarterbacks and wannabe coaches and general managers telling the world what they would have done to assure victory. *yawn* Pardon me while I tune you all out.
The Browns went into a tough game minus seven starting players. They hung with the defending NFC Champions and moved the ball with some success. I expected Donald, Fowler, and Matthews to eviscerate our O-line, but our guys held their own, for the most part.
No, it was not a win, but it was not a soul-crushing defeat. Do we have more work to do? Of course. When the dust settles, we can look ahead to Sunday in Baltimore. Until then, congratulations to Clay Matthews Jr. on the Ring of Honor Induction. Next stop Canton, Ohio, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.