Browns quarterback Derek Anderson's comments after the victory over the Ravens:
(On the TD to Braylon Edwards): It's always good to take a shot after a turnover. I think Chris (McAlister) kind of guessed and I threw it out there and Braylon made a great catch and finished it off for us.To read more or comment...
With 2:38 left, the Browns lead 27-13
1 -- Defense gives up a fourth-quarter touchdown, but Baltimore cannot afford a mistake the rest of the game.
2 -- Willis McGahee is averaging 7.4 yards per carry for Baltimore at this point.
3 -- Down 14 with less than six minutes left, the Ravens go to a no-huddle, hurry-up offense. Baltimore just does not seem to have enough time left to take this game.
4 -- They don't. The Browns force a turnover on downs, which should lead to a win. If only they hadn't had that field goal blocked in Oakland ... but then again who'd have predicted they'd start 2-2 with this opening schedule.
Cleveland 27, Baltimore 6
1 -- Steve McNair looks old. Matt Stover misses two field goals. It would take a miracle for the Browns to lose this game.
2 -- Braylon Edwards continues to play extremely well. The guy has lived up to his draft position, and to the vows he made in the offseason.
3 -- Same for Kellen Winslow, who is playing through a tough shoulder situation. Yet he keeps coming up with big play after big play. This is the kind of game that changes the expectations for this Browns team.
4 -- Something must be going right with the play-calling -- and the offensive line. Baltimore punished Charlie Frye a year ago. They pressure every passer. But they are not getting near Derek Anderson. Anderson is getting rid of the ball, but the passes being called are quick routes. Combine that with good protection and you have a 27-6 lead.
Cleveland 24, Baltimore 6
1 -- Surprising success by the Browns on the ground. Baltimore started the game giving up 61.7 yards per game on the ground, and the Browns had runs of 28 yards (Jamal Lewis) and 15 (Jason Wright) on a field-goal drive.
2 -- With 9:17 left in the first half the Browns have 65 yards rushing.
3 -- Phil Dawson misses a field goal and Baltimore is offside on the kick. Amazing. Might this be the Browns day?
4 -- Did not look like Jamal Lewis scored a touchdown, but the Ravens for some reason waited to challenge. Brian Billick waited too long to throw the flag. The Ravens just do not seem into this game. The Browns score 24 points in the first half -- more than most figured they'd score the entire game.
Cleveland 14, Baltimore 0
1 -- Nice opening drive by the Browns, sparked by Joshua Cribbs' return of the opening kickoff. Derek Anderson's ability to get rid of the ball was a key again.
2 -- Go figure. Baltimore faces the 31st-ranked run defense in the league. And the Ravens open the game with four straight passes and six passes on the first eight plays. It ends with an interception. Just doesn't make sense.
3 -- Browns turn it into a touchdown with a perfect call on first down to take advantage of the Ravens' defensive aggressiveness. A 78-yard touchdown pass to Braylon Edwards gives the Browns a 14-0 lead with 5:46 left. Credit Rob Chudzinski for the call, Anderson for the throw and Edwards for getting by Chris McAlister. Now ... can they hold the lead?
4 -- After Matt Stover misses a field goal, Anderson telegraphs a throw to Joe Jurevicius. Ed Reed intercepts. The good Derek Anderson started the game. The bad one made that throw.
Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Troy Smith of Ohio State slipped to the fifth round in April's draft, largely because he stands 6-feet tall. Baltimore kept only two quarterbacks last season, but Smith survived the final cut and is No. 3 behind 34-year-old Steve McNair and Kyle Boller.
Ravens coach Brian Billick was curt in his assessment of Smith's progress this season when he said, ''Like most first-timers.''To read more or comment...
Baltimore flip-flopped first-round picks with Cleveland in the 2006 draft to move up one spot and draft defensive tackle Haloti Ngata at No. 12. Cleveland preferred pass rusher Kamerion Wimbley and had no problem making a deal with a division rival. The Ravens also gave up a sixth-round pick, which the Browns used to select defensive tackle Babatunde Oshinowo, who did not make the team this season.¶
Wimbley has started 18 career games and has 13 sacks, 11 in 2006 to set a Browns rookie record. But Ngata has been a starter since his first game and Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis thinks his side got the better end of the deal. When Baltimore picked Ngata, there were rumors that Lewis wanted to be traded.¶
''You hear all the speculation and all this crazy stuff going on, 'Ray wants to be traded,' all this and that,'' Lewis said this week. ''The bottom line is Ray said, 'If you put a (defensive) tackle in front of me, we’ll go back to being what we were.'¶
''For the first time since I have been in the NFL, we went to the number one (ranked) defense as soon as we had Haloti Ngata, because that is what you're built by. Defenses are built by front sevens. That's where your money is made.''¶
Lewis said the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2000 with Tony Siragusa and Sam Adams as the defensive tackles, but they were let go after the 2001 season. ''Then we might as well just let everyone do their own thing,'' Lewis said of the aftermath of those moves.¶
''When you look at a young guy like Ngata, you tell yourself this guy is so young and so talented that it's scary,'' Lewis said. ''It shows from last year to this year, it's much more of a pleasure just seeing his growth. Me and him, we’re just like a quarterback and a receiver. If me, him and (defensive tackle) Kelly (Gregg) are on the same page, then things are going to roll in our run game.¶
''That’s why we haven't seen 100-yard rushers and that's why our defense has been in the top whatever it has been for the last two years or so, because he is a great addition for us.''¶
In 2006, Baltimore allowed only two 100-yard rushers -- Tennessee's Travis Henry (107) and Kansas City's Larry Johnson (120).¶
But Browns' defensive coordinator Todd Grantham isn't second-guessing their choice of Wimbley, even though Cleveland is 31st in the league against the run.¶
''In a 3-4 you have to have outside 'backers because they generate your pass rush and play-making ability,'' Grantham said. ''In theory, it's a little bit easier to find a bigger guy who can press the pocket inside and be stout later on, as opposed to a pass rusher. Generally, guys who can rush the passer are going to go pretty quick.''¶
Grantham said he thinks the majority of teams would have made the same choice of a pass rusher over a defensive tackle.¶
A breakdown on the left side of the line allowed the Raiders to block Phil Dawson's 40-yard field goal attempt as time expired Sunday in Oakland's 26-24 victory over the Browns. But considering the same situation happened to Oakland the week before against Denver, when Broncos coach Mike Shanahan called timeout as kicker Sebastian Janikowski's presumed game-winner sailed through, the Browns should have been on their guard.
Yes, they knew the timeout was coming from Raiders coach Lane Kiffin. But when Browns coach Romeo Crennel said his team relaxed after Dawson's first (and unofficial) kick off the dirt sailed through, what Crennel might have meant was his players didn't realize that the Raiders weren't really trying that hard on the first one. Oakland knew Kiffin was calling timeout and didn't want to give away its blocking strategy.To read more or comment...
Oakland 26, Cleveland 24 (3:33 left)
First -- Easy to second-guess, but Joe Jurevicius was wide open on a third-down throw that Tim Carter dropped. Carter is a disappointment. Jurevicus catches everything. Hard to figure.
Second -- Then again, it won't matter a bit if the Browns can't stop the run.
Third -- What a pleasure it is watch Kamerion Wimbley, who plays hard, plays smart and does not celebrate his plays.
Fourth -- A 27-yard screen pass to Lamont Jordan on third-and-23? Are you kidding me? Sets up a field goal that gives Oakland a 26-17 lead.
Fifth -- Nice drive by the Browns to cut the lead to two. Braylon Edwards continues his fine start with a big catch. This game comes down to whether the Browns defense will stop the Raiders, which hasn't happened the last two drives.
Oakland 23, Cleveland 17
First -- Josh McCown has a 109 rating the first half and there are cheers when he is replaced.
Second -- A fumble by Mike Williams gives the Browns the ball and they capitalize with a touchdown pass to Braylon Edwards. Anderson has thrown some poor passes, but that was a good one -- helped by Edwards' two moves that beat Oakland's fine corner, Nnamdi Asomugha.
Third -- Joshua Cribbs' kickoff return changed the entire nature and tone of the game. At this point, the Browns lead 17-16 and the crowd is out of the game.
Fourth -- The Raiders come back, though, with an 80-yard drive that was old-fashioned football. Thirteen runs that used 9:06 of time. That was smashmouth football.
Oakland 16, Cleveland 10
First -- Not a good read or decision by Derek Anderson on Thomas Howard's interception. Threw it right to him, and Howard was in the short zone the entire time.
Second -- Very early, but to this point the Raiders seem a little more into the game.
Third -- Brodney Pool flagged for a blatant interference in the end zone as Browns safeties continue to struggle. Sean Jones recovers to break up a third-down pass in the end zone, though, which holds Oakland to a field goal.
Fourth -- Oakland gets the ball back and moves down the field. Five yards every play. What is up with this?
Fifth -- The drive ends on a 41-yard touchdown pass as Eric Wright fell for the play-action on third-and-inches. That touchdown ends a six-game stretch when the Raiders did not score a first-half touchdown.
Sixth -- Not a good start for the Browns.
Seventh -- Another poor throw by Anderson is intercepted. It followed three other poor throws. Will Brady Quinn play today?
Eighth -- After a field goal the Raiders kick one to Cribbs and he brings it back. Joshua Cribbs: Football player. This might change the game.
Ninth -- After a fumble, the Browns get a field goal but could have had a touchdown. Anderson overthrew Steve Heiden in the end zone on a two-minute drill that was not run well.
Jamal Lewis wasn't bragging Wednesday after rushing for 216 yards on 27 carries and a 66-yard touchdown in Sunday's 51-45 victory over Cincinnati. When the 28-year-old free agent running back from Baltimore was asked what his third 200-yard game meant to him, he said, ''We can go out there and put up points. I hadn't done that in a long time.''
As the Browns prepared to visit the Raiders, Lewis seemed more intent on keep his team on the right path than rehashing his big day.To read more or comment...
The Browns' first two games couldn't have been more disparate, which makes one wonder which is the real team? The one that managed 221 yards against Pittsburgh, still one of the toughest defenses in the league? Or the one that piled up 554 yards against Cincinnati, which has one of the NFL's most porous secondaries? My guess is that it's somewhere in the middle. But it was encouraging that the Browns playmakers finally made an impact. Braylon Edwards was diving for balls, Kellen Winslow was his usual consistent self, Joe Jurevicius was in the mix after inexplicably being lost, even in the preseason. Was it just the change in quarterbacks that made the offense click? Maybe so. But it was also the fact that Anderson quit trying to win the game by himself and started taking what the defense gave him. Plagued by interceptions even at Oregon State, Anderson may finally be figuring out that he doesn't need to force the ball into coverage when he has this many playmakers.
But the most encouraging thing about Sunday was the performance of the offensive line. Cleveland sank millions of dollars into Joe Thomas and Eric Steinbach and it looks like it was money well spent. They've spent only two games together after Steinbach's preseason injury, which bodes well for the future. Browns fans have finally gotten their wish -- an investment in the offensive line -- and it looks like they were right all along in what the organization's priorities should have been.To read more or comment...
First down -- Before the play, I say I agree with the Browns decision to go for it on fourth-and-inches with more than 14 minutes left. Gotta keep scoring to win this game, and punting the ball does not let you score.
Second down -- The Browns don't make it. Guess they should have punted.
Third down -- Well it's safe to say that Derek Anderson has justified the faith the Browns front office and coaching staff showed in him. Ditto for Jamal Lewis.
Fourth down -- Apparently both teams agreed before the game that rushing the passer and tackling would be illegal in this game.
Fifth down -- Braylon Edwards lays out for a touchdown pass. Anderson now has five. This is the team that was described to the world during preseason. Gigantic credit to them for hanging tough after a dismal opening week.
Sixth down -- Carson Palmer is pretty unbelievable. And where does Glenn Holt come from? With 3:39 left, the Bengals cut it to six. Now is when good teams win games by running the ball and the clock. Can the Browns do it?
Seventh down (we've completely lost the concept on this down thing, by the way) -- You would hate, hate, hate to give Carson Palmer one more chance to win this game when you're ahead by six.
Eighth down -- Leigh Bodden's interception ends the game. What a game. What a win. What an effort by the Browns, who rebounded from an amazingly tough opener. Credit to them all.
Browns 41, Bengals 38
First down -- Hate to start the second half with an interception on the first play, but that's what happened. But the Browns defense does a good job holding the Bengals to a field goal.
Second down -- Another good drive by the Browns after they hold Cincinnati to a field goal, with Kellen Winslow converting a key third down before a 32-yard score to Braylon Edwards. This is the team we were told about prior to the season.
Third down -- The Browns are using Winslow effectively as a third receiver on third down. Which is smart in a game that is pretty much defenseless.
Fourth down -- Cincinnati responds with a touchdown. Someone in the press box looked up and said, "This is like a MAC game."
Fifth down (bear with us) -- Jamal Lewis runs through a huge hole for 66 yards and a score. Browns lead 41-31. At this point you wonder if the first one to 50 wins.
Sixth down (hang in) -- As Cincinnati drives again, the same guy looked up and said, "This is like a high school game." Doesn't matter if it's like grade school if it's a win.
Seventh down -- Palmer throws his fifth touchdown pass. Now 41-38. First one to 50 does win.
Eighth down -- Both teams could have used Donald Rumsfeld for this game.
Browns 27, Bengals 21
First down -- Browns cornerback Leigh Bodden is limping noticeably. He hurt a groin muscle during the week. That has to affect him covering Chad Johnson.
Second down -- The defense forces a fumble, with Antwan Peek ripping the ball from Rudi Johnson. Big chance early in the second quarter for the Browns to seize the momentum. They do that with a touchdown -- Kellen Winslow's third-down catch setting up Joe Jurevicius' 17-yard touchdown catch. The Browns take advantage of turnovers to take a 13-7 lead. Now it's up to the defense.
Third down -- The Bengals throw a touchdown pass to T. J. Houshmandzedeh, who just gets his feet down (or so the official said). But the play clock had run out ... Cincinnati clearly snapped the ball after the play clock hit zero. It should have been a delay of game. The Bengals take a 14-13 lead when they should have had second-and-15.
Fourth down -- Joshua Cribbs sets up another Anderson-to-Jurevicius touchdown pass. The Browns lead 20-14, and provide the kind of effort that was missing a week ago. This is more like it. A week late is certainly better than never.
Fifth down (bear with me) -- Brodney Pool levels Glenn Holt after a catch down the sidelines and is penalized. The fans don't like it, but Pool led with his helmet, and the rules say that's illegal against a defenseless player, which Holt was. Chad Johnson ends the drive with a touchdown, aided by three defensive penalties. Johnson gave Leigh Bodden an inside-out move, and you wonder if Bodden was able to turn to cover him.
Sixth down (keep bearing with me) -- Joshua Cribbs? Football player.
Seventh down (this is getting hard to keep up with) -- Derek Anderson leads the Browns to a touchdown and Cleveland scores on five possessions in a row. Officialy, let it be known: This is impressive.
Cincinnati 7, Cleveland 6
First down -- Rudi Johnson finishes an easy opening drive with a 13-yard touchdown reception for Cincinnati. That's the first touchdown reception of his career. The Browns continue to set marks in the wrong way.
Second down -- First Browns series is three-and-out, with two Derek Anderson throws behind Braylon Edwards. The next possession starts with good field position and a first down, but Braylon Edwards drops a pass and Anderson loses the ball, then overthrows an open Joe Jurevicius in the end zone. The Browns get a field goal, but field goals are not enough points against this Bengals offense.
Third down -- Anderson drops the ball or has it knocked out more than any quarterback in recent memory. It happened several times during training camp. He must have the smallest hands in the league.
Fourth -- The Browns come up with another field goal and trail by one, which is encouraging. Still, getting field goals against the Bengals just doesn't seem like enough.
The Browns have not been able to bounce back on the field under coach Romeo Crennel, failing to post back-to-back victories in his two-plus seasons. But Thursday's mood in the locker room was surprisingly upbeat after Sunday's 34-7 loss to Pittsburgh and Tuesday's quarterback upheaval. It seemed Wednesday that players like Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards were saddened by the loss of their friend. But Thursday Winslow grabbed a radio reporter's microphone and playfully asked Leigh Bodden a couple questions. (Not newspaper-worthy though: ''Who was the Madden champ last year? Who was it the year before?'' Bodden said he won both years.) The funniest part was Winslow's exasperation in trying to get a question in.
It may not translate to a victory Sunday against Cincinnati, but at least the debacle against Pittsburgh seems to be behind them.
Charlie Frye could be upset or bitter at the way the Browns' quarterback competition was handled this summer, but he's not that kind of person. He's probably more excited about where he ended up when he was traded to Seattle Tuesday. As recently as Monday night, ex-Browns tackle Doug Dieken said he thought Frye was a West Coast quarterback. As the Jeff Garcia experiment showed, the Browns have never known what to do with those type players. They also haven't shown any knack for building a team around what their players do best. Heaven forbid Brady Quinn turns out to be a West Coast guy.
Frye can learn under Matt Hasselbeck and coach Mike Holmgren. Ex-Browns quarterback Trent Dilfer raved about the time he spent with Hasselbeck and chances are he told Frye the same thing in the past few hours. Holmgren may not have been able to handle general manager duties, but he got the Seahawks to the Super Bowl after the 2005 season. He has another quarterback who can run in Seneca Wallace, so there should be plenty in the Seahawks playbook that will fit Frye if he's called upon. Plus, Seattle comes to Cleveland on Nov. 4. It's not likely to happen, but just imagine a Frye vs. Quinn matchup....To read more or comment...
Charlie Frye's days with the Browns have ended.
The Browns confirmed this afternoon that they have traded the former University of Akron quarterback to the Seattle Seahawks for an undisclosed draft choice, pending Frye passing a physical examination. The Browns also said they have signed free-agent quarterback Ken Dorsey to a one-year contract.To read more or comment...
When Charlie Frye was pulled in the second quarter of Sunday's loss to Pittsburgh, there was an overwhelming feeling of sadness surrounding the third-year quarterback. Veteran linebacker Willie McGinest approached Frye on the sideline, presumably to offer support. But for much of the game, Frye stood alone, apart from heir apparent Brady Quinn, diligently charting plays until the final whistle. Frye's teammates know how hard he worked in the off-season; Kellen Winslow said last week Frye was studying at 2 a.m.
I can't help but think back to the Senior Bowl, when ESPN decided to chronicle Frye's every move for 'Outside the Lines' and was rewarded when Frye was named the game's MVP. That week, Frye's receivers said he was the best quarterback they'd ever played with. Frye was confident yet humble. That March, the Green Bay Packers showed some interest in Frye as the replacement for Brett Favre. The kid who had a Bernie Kosar poster in his bedroom was on top of the world when he was drafted by the Browns.To read more or comment...
Score: Pittsburgh 34, Cleveland 7
Forget it folks. There's nothing left to say about this dismal game except go down and hear what the Browns have to say.To read more or comment...
Score: Pittsburgh 31, Cleveland 7.
First down -- Could the Steelers first drive of the second half been any easier. Eight plays, 71 yards, touchdown and a 24-0 lead. If it's not game over it's game as close as it possibly can be to being over.
Second down -- The Steelers really didn't do much in the first half on offense. Two short fields and one big play gave them two touchdowns. You can imagine them at halftime being angry, and talking about playing better in the second half. So they start with a touchdown. This, after all, is what professional teams do.
Third down -- Lo and behold Derek Anderson finds Kellen Winslow a few times and the Browns drive for a touchdown. It was a good drive. Too bad it came when the Browns were down 24-0. Then again, force a punt and score again ...
Fourth down -- Then again, when the Browns just miss sacking Ben Roethlisberger on a third down and Najeh Davenport spins in and out of five tacklers to get the first down, you just get the feeling it is not the Browns day. Again. On the next play Roethlisberger throws his fourth touchdown pass, Sean Jones whiffs and Pittsburgh leads 31-7. Is there a 10-run rule in football?
Pittsburgh 17, Cleveland 0
First -- First chant of "Brady, Brady" -- 9:51 left in the second quarter.
Second -- Guess the change from Bill Cowher to Mike Tomlin mattered, eh? Halfway through the second quarter Charlie Frye had been sacked five times. Frye is pulled for Derek Anderson with 6:34 left.
Third -- As bad as the first half has been, and it's been very, very, very bad, if the Browns get a touchdown prior to halftime it's a 10-point game. It's not like Pittsburgh has sustained many drives.
Fourth -- So much for that notion. A Steelers blitz on third down leads to a fumble and turnover to the Steelers.
Four downs (it means thoughts) from the first quarter of the Browns-Steelers at the stadium.
Score: Pittsburgh 17, Cleveland 0.
First -- It's mind-boggling. Four penalties and one dropped punt on one play for the Browns after their first possession. Combine that with a three-and-out (sack by Aaron Smith, who beat Kevin Shaffer on third down ) and that's not really the way to roar into a season. How in the world can one special teams unit commit four penalties on one play?
Second -- Welcome to the NFL Eric Wright. Two of Pittsburgh's first three passes were toward the rookie, with Hines Ward making a beautiful catch for Pittsburgh's first score.
Third -- I don't know what has happened to Charlie Frye. He plays with very little confidence.
Fourth -- After a Jamal Lewis fumble (two turnovers and one four-penalty play in the first quarter) Ben Roethlisberger finds Santonio Holmes for a 40-yard touchdown on first down last in the quarter. What a surprise. Bruce Arians goes deep on the first play. Might be time to say "game over." This comeback might be an impossible task for the Browns.
Kickoff approaches, and the Browns have a couple surprise inactives.
Kelly Butler will not play, meaning Nat Dorsey is the third tackle. Wide receiver Travis Wilson also is inactive.
The rest of the inactives are punter Dave Zastudil, defensive back Gary Baxter, fullback Charles Ali (Lawrence Vickers apparently is over his hamstring injury and will start), linebacker Willie McGinest and guard Isaac Sowells.
Derek Anderson will be the backup quarterback. Brady Quinn is listed as third.
One item to watch: Who will hold for Phil Dawson? Zastudil, the normal holder, is out with a back injury. The new punter is Paul Ernster. Zastudil and Dawson worked together all last year and all training camp.
On to the game
Marla Ridenour is the Browns beat writer for the Akron Beacon Journal, and Patrick McManamon is the sports columnist at the Beacon Journal and a former beat reporter for the Browns and Dolphins.
Marla will add her views and news several times during the week with Pat adding his additions Sundays during and after the game.To read more or comment...
Here is how I see the games involving the AFC North Sunday with the team in all capital letters as my predicted winner:
PITTSBURGH at Cleveland: Roethlisberger lights up Browns' secondary.
BALTIMORE at Cincinnati: Chad Johnson may not dance against this D.
And the rest of the NFL for Sudnay and Monday:
Atlanta at MINNESOTA
MIAMI at Washington
NEW ENGLAND at N.Y. Jets
Tennessee at JACKSONVILLE
DENVER at Buffalo
Carolina at ST. LOUIS
Kansas City at HOUSTON
Tampa Bay at SEATTLE
Chicago at SAN DIEGO
Detroit at OAKLAND
N.Y. Giants at DALLAS
ARIZONA at San Francisco