Browns Blunder Results in Victory

The Bears have gotten a lot of breaks this year, but the luck looked as if it had run out against the Browns. Cleveland dominated Chicago for 58 minutes. However, the Bears were able to pull off another miracle finish to win the game 27-21 in overtime, again on a Mike Brown interception return for a touchdown.

The Bears trailed 21-7 with 1:52 to play. Shane Matthews led two scoring drives of 80 and 53 yards. Marty Booker caught a nine-yard touchdown with 34 seconds left. After a Paul Edinger on-side kick was recovered by Bobbie Howard, Chicago had the ball on the Browns 47 with 24 seconds to go. With 8 seconds left on the clock Matthews dropped back to pass and threw a ball up into the back of the endzone. David Terrell leaped up and tipped the ball backwards. James Allen dove for the ball and held it in his fingertips as he fell to the ground scoring as time expired. The 34-yard touchdown meant victory would be determined by sudden death for a second straight week.

"That last throw, it's something that everybody practices," said Dick Jauron. "We practice it often enough and everybody was where they were supposed to be. Shane threw the ball where it's supposed to go – no doubt about it. But you've got to have your start lined up, somebody looking out for you to have it bounce the way it did. James made a tremendous play."

Chicago won the toss and elected to receive. The offense wasn't able to continue its magic and was forced to punt. Brad Maynard's 52-yard punt pinned Cleveland inside their ten-yard line.

Shane Matthews had eight passes deflected by the Browns defense, ironically the game ended on a blocked pass. However, it was Tim Couch, who had his pass tipped by Bryan Robinson. Mike Brown caught the ball and ran the interception back for the game winning score.

"Well, two weeks in a row -- it's an unbelievable feeling," Jauron said. "Again, to finish the game (that way). You never give up. You've got to give it everything you've got for 60 minutes and that's what we've done." The Bears luck is making some consider the possibilities.

"Where's Mike Brown at? I'm taking him to Vegas tonight and I'm not even a betting man," said safety Larry Whigham.

The Bears offense turned the ball on the second play of the game, which put the team behind early. Shane Matthews fumbled as he was blindsided by Wali Rahner. Courtney Brown returned the fumble 25 yards putting Cleveland ahead 7-0 less than a minute into the game.

Chicago was able to move inside Cleveland territory on their second possession, but another turnover stopped the momentum. Matthews was picked off by Earl Little after Gerard Warren deflected the attempt. Although, Matthews threw three interceptions two of them were tipped in the air.

Chicago didn't execute for most the game and had a season high four turnovers. The offensive line came into the game only allowing two sacks, but the Browns defensive line got a boost with the return of Courtney Brown, who had missed the entire season with a sprained right knee. The Browns sacked Matthews five times including three by Brown.

Chicago looked to put some points on the board with their third possession of the first quarter, but another interception killed the drive. Matthews made a poor decision on third down and threw into zone coverage. Linebacker Brant Boyer picked the ball off giving the Browns the ball at the Bears 42.

The defense was put in several bad positions in the first half, but were able to turn back Cleveland's offense due in part to not being on the field for much of the first half. Chicago held the ball for 19:34, while holding the Browns offense to just 22 plays. However, the Bears didn't score until the end of the half.

Anthony Thomas, who had three receptions coming into the game, became Matthews featured receiver. With 2:37 left in the second quarter the Bears began a 10-play drive, which would tie the game before halftime. Matthews hit Dez White on a 16-yard completion. Then the Bears quarterback looked to Thomas for receptions of 18 and 23 yards. Chicago has struggled inside the redzone this season, but was able to capitalize on this opportunity. On third down and goal from the two yard line "A-Train" got the call. Daimon Shelton opened a whole for Thomas, who found the endzone for the fourth time this season. Despite a poor half of football the Bears went into the lockerroom tied 7-7.

After being unable to move the ball the entire first half the Browns used a fourth down and one conversion to spark the offense. Tim Couch, who was 7/13 in the first half, began to find a rhythm in the third quarter. He completed a 14-yard pass to Dennis Northcutt putting Cleveland inside Bear territory. Then on 4th and less then one, Couch used play action to find a wide-open Quincy Morgan. The 28-yard completion gave the Browns first and goal from the 3. On the following play Couch put the Browns ahead 14-7 on a three yard reception by fullback Mike Sellers.

Chicago looked to strike back quickly. Matthews hit Marty Booker on a 16-yard pass. Then Thomas carried the ball five consecutive times for 18 yards. On 3rd and four from Cleveland's 18 Matthews looked to White. However, the pass was deflected and Ray Jackson made the interception with 4:48 left in the third quarter.

Cleveland was unable to put any further distance between them and the home team going into the fourth quarter.

"We didn't finish, and that's something we need to work on," said Browns linebacker Jamir Miller. "Instead of going out there, knocking them off and finishing the game, we let them continue to hang around, and they made the most of it."

The Bears took a risk early in the final period. Instead of kicking a field goal on 4th and four from the Cleveland 30 Chicago went for it and came up woefully short. Matthews was sacked by Brown resulting in a turnover on downs.

The Bears five game winning streak looked to be over when Matthews failed to convert on a 4th and 20 with 5:39 left to play.

The Browns took over and ran the clock down to the two-minute warning before Chris Gardocki punted the ball into the endzone for a touchback.

With 1:52 left Chicago took over trailing 21-7. Matthews' pass to Booker was ruled incomplete, but then reversed for a 14-yard gain. Matthews then completed three consecutive passes of 12, 9 and 17 before taking the Bears second timeout with 1:02 to play. On the Browns 27-yard line Matthews hit White going out of bounds, but the receiver was ruled inbounds on the 13-yard completion. The clock continued to tick down before Matthews spiked the ball with 36 seconds left. The referees couldn't review the play, because Chicago ran another play from scrimmage. After Cleveland was called for having 12 men on the field the Bears had the ball on the 9. Fred Baxter dropped a touchdown pass with 32 seconds left. Matthews then found Booker for a nine-yard touchdown cutting the lead to 21-14 with 28 seconds left.

Chicago lined up for a Paul Edinger on-side kick. The ball bounced passed the Browns first line of the hands team and into the air. There was a mad scramble for the ball in which both teams claimed to have the ball, but in the end Bobbie Howard recovered the kick for the Bears.

With 24 seconds left Chicago had time for one last miracle. From the Cleveland 47 Matthews dumped the ball off to James Allen for 4-yards as he ran out of bounds stopping the clock with 15 seconds left. Allen made another short reception and scampered down to the 34-yard line, but he was unable to get out of bounds forcing the Bears to use their last timeout with eight seconds left. There was time for one more play. Matthews dropped back to pass and lobbed the ball toward the back of the endzone. David Terrell went up and tipped the ball backwards. Marty Booker went for the ball, but it was Allen who made a fingertip catch as he fell forward brining Chicago within a point of tying the game.

"To be honest with you, we practice that play a lot and we try to throw it to a guy and if that guy can't catch it, it's his job to tip it," Matthews said. "It worked to perfection … James Allen made a tremendous catch on it." Edinger's extra point sent the contest into overtime.

The Bears went three and out to start the extra period. With the Browns inside their ten yard line Chicago's defense needed a stop to give the offense good field position. Instead the group ended the game with a pass deflection by Byron Robinson, which Mike Brown caught and returned 16 yards for the game winning score.

"I was in the right spot again," said Mike Brown, who has ended the last two games with an interception return for TDs in overtime. "I guess it's just luck. I was real lucky…. B-Rob (Bryan Robinson) hit the ball into the air and I was in the right spot when the ball went into my hands. He put his hands up on the play, got his hands on the ball. That's why they teach the lineman to get their hands up on the play. Good things happen when the ball gets batted up in the air."

When the ball was up in the air, I was like, ‘I can't believe it. Here we go again.' I got the ball and just went in to score and win the game. I was not really thinking about it, it just happened."

The Bears defense now has four touchdowns this year including two game winners. Despite their 6-1 record Brown knows the team has to limit their mistakes next week against the Packers.

"We need to come out and play a complete game," he said. "We need to play a better football game, especially against Green Bay because of our rivalry."

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