CLEVELAND — He was the perfect quarterback. Completed all of his passes. Never got hit. He was cool. He was unrazzled. He came into the locker room after the game and his uniform was still gleaming white, and he took it off and strolled casually in for a shower.
“How many of those have you thrown in your career?” someone asked Brian Brennan of his dramatic big pass, the longest of the Lions-Browns game Sunday.
“Three,” he said, wrapping a towel around himself. “I’m three-for-three. I am 1,000 percent.”
Three-for-three. One thousand percent. He has never thrown an incompletion.
Very cool. He pulled on his jeans and ran a hand through his wet curly hair and, presto, it was neatly in place.
He is the perfect quarterback. Except that he is a wide receiver.
A wide receiver?
“Aren’t you nervous out there, having to throw a pass when that’s not your real job?” someone asked.
“Nervous?” he said, looking surprised. Best on the field With one play, Brian Brennan, wide receiver, was the best quarterback on the field here Sunday. The Lions’ Eric Hipple was racking up countless five-yard completions, but missing when he went for the big gainer. Cleveland’s Bernie Kosar was throwing screen passes or incompletions, but nothing of any consequence.
Could they go long? No they could not. Could they throw and not get clobbered? No they could not. But in the fourth quarter, with the game close, Brennan, who had not caught a pass in the first three periods, took a lateral toss from Kosar at the Detroit 49 and heaved a perfect spiral to Herman Fontenot, who was racing downfield. It rose like destiny and delivered itself like a newborn from a stork, plop, right in Fontenot’s hands for a 35-yard completion.
Two plays later the Browns scored a touchdown, going ahead, 24-14. The game was all but over.
One pass. One completion. The perfect quarterback.
“What did Kosar say to you when you came off the field?” someone asked.
“He said, ‘Nice pass,’ ” Brennan replied.
Some of you might remember Brennan as a standout quarterback at Birmingham Brother Rice High School. He hoped to play that position at college, but he chose Boston College, and a year later a kid named Doug Flute showed up. “And that about did it for my quarterbacking,” Brennan said.
So he went undercover, became the Clark Kent of quarterbacks, a mild-mannered receiver with a big red Q underneath his uniform. He is in his third year with the Browns. He has thrown three passes. Three-for-three. No incompletions. One thousand percent.
“Aren’t you worried one day, you’ll go out there and throw one incomplete?” he was asked.
“Incomplete?” he said, grinning. “Me? No way. I’m on the money.” Right place, right time A teammate walked by in the locker room. “Nice pickup, man,” he said.
Oh yes, the pickup. In the second period, the Browns ran Kevin Mack on a pitchout, and he fumbled on the Detroit 1. But there was another Brown just waiting there, and when the ball popped free, he pounced on it and scored a touchdown.
One pass. One completion. One touchdown.
“I was supposed to be blocking on that play,” he said. “But I missed my block. I just happened to be down there when the ball popped out and I jumped on it.”
When the game ended, the scoreboard read 24-21, Browns. Brennan had six of those points. He was the key to six more. His uniform was still gleaming white.
“So you have never messed up,” someone observed. “Never had a pass that missed the mark?”
“Well, once,” he said, “back in college. We had a play where Doug threw me the ball and he went out and I threw it to him. We tried it against Pittsburgh one year, and I remember that one was an incomplete.”
He paused. “Actually, Doug dropped it.”