CLEVELAND, Ohio— The Browns have played toe to toe with the Falcons in the first half but might have lost their quarterback.
No, not Jake Delhomme.
Seneca Wallace was sacked by John Abraham as he bolted past Joe Thomas on the next to last play of the first half. Wallace hopped off the field and Delhomme had to come in for him for the final two plays of the half.
No word on his status, but if Wallace can't return, Delhomme must play as Colt McCoy is inactive as the third quarterback. He can only play if Delhomme is injured and cannot return.
Eric Mangini said that Delhomme would start if he could do all the things he needed to do, but obviously, he couldn't, thus Wallace made his fourth-straight start.
The Browns cling to a 7-6 halftime lead as Wallace hooked up with Peyton Hillis on a 19-yard touchdown play in the second quarter. Two Matt Bryant field goals gave the Falcons their points. A blocked third field goal attempt by T.J. Ward kept the Browns in the lead prior to halftime.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Falcons got on the board first as Bryant kicked a 24-yard field goal to give the Falcons a 3-0 lead with 14:49 to play in the second quarter. The Browns aided Atlanta greatly as they committed two personal fouls to keep the drives going.
The Browns were their own worst enemies on the drive as Matt Ryan threw to Harry Douglas for 11 yards on third-and-six to the 43. Then, Ryan hit Roddy White for 18 yards to the Browns' 35 on another third-and-six. However, on the play, Marcus Benard was flagged for roughing Ryan and the ball was moved to the 20. Two plays later, Kenyon Coleman was called for a personal foul to give the Falcons a first down at the 8. The Falcons went 66 yards in 12 plays taking 4:21 off the clock.
The Browns came right back to take the lead, 7-3 as Wallace connected with Hillis for a 19-yard touchdown pass with 12:19 to play in the second quarter. Hillis made a nice one-handed catch for the score on third-and-five. He looked as though he re-injured his thigh or hamstring as he limped off the field. It was the fifth-consecutive game that Hillis has scored a touchdown, first by pass. Hillis did return after a series and had three carries for 7 yards, while catching three passes for 48 yards and a touchdown.
The Browns went 56 yards in just five plays as they passed on all five downs. After Josh Cribbs had a 34-yard kickoff return to the 44, Wallace used a play-action fake and threw to Mohamed Massaquoi for 11 yards to the Falcons' 42. On the next play, Wallace hit Chansi Stuckey for 18 yards to the 24.
Then, Wallace hit Massaquoi for a touchdown, but Massaquoi couldn't get his second foot inbounds and it went incomplete. A five-yard pass to Ben Watson set up the touchdown play.
The Falcons cut the Browns lead to 7-6 as Bryant kicked a 30-yard field goal with 5:00 left in the first half. The Falcons went 70 yards in 14 plays, taking 7:19 off the clock. Ryan hit White for 19 yards to the 46 and then Ryan hit Gonzalez for 16 to the Browns' 40 on third-and-12. Another pass to Gonzalez for nine yards moved the Falcons to the 19.
The Falcons looked as though they would regain the lead just prior to the half as they moved to the Browns' 12, but when they lined up for a 30-yard field goal, Ward broke through from the left side and blocked the attempt.
Return of Mo: WR Mohamed Massaquoi had three receptions for 35 yards in the first half. He would have had a 24-yard touchdown in the second quarter if he could've kept his second foot inbounds. Massaquoi came into the game with just four receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown in the first four games.
Cribbs Return: WR/KR Josh Cribbs had a 34-yard kickoff return in the second quarter to the 44, which set up the Browns' first touchdown drive.
Seneca Hurt: QB Seneca Wallace made his fourth-straight start in place of QB Jake Delhomme, who was listed as the backup to Wallace for the first time. Colt McCoy was the third quarterback. Wallace was 11-of-15 for 139 yards and one touchdown in the first half. He was injured on a sack two plays before the halftime and the injury appeared serious, but nothing official. He had a QB rating of 124.0.
Peyton's Play: Hillis started despite a thigh bruise that held him out of practice on Friday. He fumbled on his second carry and William Moore recorded the recovery at the Browns' 47. Hillis caught a short pass from Wallace on the first play from scrimmage for 15 yards and Hillis leaped over the cornerback on the run.
Benard sacks: LB Marcus Benard sacked QB Matt Ryan on third down after the RB Peyton Hillis' on the Browns first series.
Pashos Second Start: OL Tony Pashos made his second start of the season for OL John St. Clair at right tackle.
Robo's Return: Terry Robiskie returned to the sidelines at Cleveland Browns Stadium as the Falcons' wide receivers' coach. His son, Brian, is the Browns second-year wide receiver. Robiskie was interim head coach when Butch Davis stepped down and stayed on when Romeo Crennel became the team's coach.
Honorary Guests: Former Browns greats Dick Schafrath and Ernie Green were the honorary captains representing the 1964 championship team.