Browns players didn't question why Browns coach Eric Mangini went for a victory in overtime instead of settling for a 20-20 tie Sunday against the New York Jets. And neither do I.
Backed up at their 3 yard line with 1:35 left in the extra period after an interception by rookie cornerback Joe Haden, Mangini could have called for three Peyton Hillis runs and run out the clock. Instead, rookie quarterback Colt McCoy fired an incompletion over the deep middle for tight end Ben Watson, then ran Hillis off right tackle for 2 yards. On third down, McCoy was sacked for a 3-yard loss by Jason Taylor and Shaun Ellis, McCoy barely wiggling his way out of the end zone to avoid a safety.
Asked why he didn't play for a tie, Mangini said, ''I really liked the shot we had on first down and I think we had a real chance for it. It looked like Ben had some room there.''
If this had been the first game of the season against the New York Jets, one of the teams favored to go to the Super Bowl, I might have played for the tie. But with the Browns 3-5, going for the win made sense. A tie would have felt like a loss. The Browns were on a real roll with victories over the Saints and Patriots. One more victory and they're the talk of the NFL.
As a fellow member of the media proclaimed afterward in reference to the battle between twins Rex and Rob Ryan, ''A tie would have been like kissing your brother.''
At this point in the season, I totally agree.