Hillis' 1st Half TD Trifecta

Browns Peyton Hillis has three rushing TDs as Browns lead Panthers 21-13 at half

CLEVELAND — The first half is basically, Peyton Hillis 18 and the Jaguars 13 as the running back has accomplished a feat that hasn't been done since 1968 with five games to go. Hillis scored three rushing touchdowns and had 74 yards on 11 carries to give him 11 on the season, which was last accomplished by Leroy Kelly in 1968. The only other Browns running back to have 11 in a season was Jim Brown.

Meanwhile, Jake Delhomme returned to face his former team and was 12-of-18 for 149 yards in the first half. His QB rating was 92.1. He was sacked and fumbled on the final play of the half, but John St. Clair averted the disaster by falling on it near the goal line.

The Panthers took the opening kickoff and went 81 yards for a touchdown as Mike Goodson broke loose for 26 yards and a touchdown with 10:36 to play in the first quarter. After Jimmy Clausen hit Steve Smith for 15 yards on third-and-11 to the Browns 41, a personal foul on Shaun Rogers tacked 15 yards to the play to the 26. Goodson scored on the next play. The Panthers overcame a second-and-23 situation after Clausen was called for intentional grounding . It was the first opening drive touchdown given up by the Browns this season.

The Browns answered the Panthers with 6:49 to play as Hillis went around left end for the score to make it 7-7.

Delhomme opened the game with three consecutive passes to Ben Watson, Brian Robiskie and Watson again for 8-, 5- and 21-yards. After a six-yard run by Peyton Hillis, Delhomme threw to Robiskie again for five-yards and then hit Chansi Stuckey for 24 to the eight-yard line.

On first down, Hillis took a handoff from Delhomme and threw a bad pass into the ground to a wide open Watson.  On second down, Delhomme was called for intentional grounding back to the 19. On third down, Delhomme threw a slant to Evan Moore in the end zone, who couldn't hang on to the ball. However, he was hit in the head by Sherrod Martin to give the Browns a first down on the nine. Hillis went around left end and dove into the end zone on the following play. Delhomme, who started 5-of-5 for 63 yards, was 5-of-7 for 63 yards on the drive. The Browns went 77 yards on nine plays.

After forcing a three-and-out punt, the Browns went 64 yards for another touchdown to take a 14-7 lead with 2:44 to play as Hillis scored his second touchdown of the game on a five-yard run. The Browns were aided by two penalties on third down on the Panthers, that kept drives alive.

On third-and-6, Chris Gamble was called for holding and then on third-and-3, Charles Johnson hit Delhomme late to give the Browns another first down.

After the penalty on Johnson, Delhomme hit Mohamed Massaquoi for 19 yards to the 14. After a nine-yard run to the five by Hillis, he went in on the next play. The Browns covered the 64 yards in seven plays and 3:04.

After another forced punt, the Browns were right back at it again. Starting at the Panthers' 49, the Browns moved to the eight and were faced with third-and-one.  Delhomme threw a pass to Moore for the first down, but he was stripped by Jason Williams at the two to end the threat.

The Browns increased their lead to 21-7 with 9:12 to play in the first half as Hillis turned the hat trick as he ran over right tackle for a six-yard touchdown. Delhomme hit Brian Robiskie for 15 yards to the Panthers' 39 and then hit Massaquoi on the next play for 15 yards to the 24. Hillis ran for 18 yards and then scored on the next play.

Carolina cut the Browns lead to 21-10 with 3:19 to play in the half on a 43-yard field goal by John Kasay. A 17-yard pass to Goodson on third down and an 11-yard pass to Brandon LaFell moved the ball to the Browns' 39. After a sack by Abe Elam, LaFell caught a pass for nine yards to set up the field goal.

The Panthers chipped away again at the Browns lead with another field goal by Kasay prior to the half as he hit a 42-yard field goal with 47 seconds left in the first half. The score was set up on a 32-yard punt return by Captain Munnerlyn to the Browns' 42. An 18-yard pass to Steve Smith moved the ball to the 29 after he broke a tackle by Mike Adams.

Notebook

TD Peyton: RB Peyton Hillis had three rushing touchdowns to give him 11 on the season. He is the first Browns back to have 10 touchdowns since Kevin Mack did so in 1986. Hillis joins Jim Brown and Leroy Kelly as the only Browns running backs in team history to have 11 rushing touchdowns in a season. Kelly was the last one to do so in 1968. Hillis has 74 yards rushing and three touchdowns in the first half. Hillis also caught a pass for 21 yards.

Jake's Back: QB Jake Delhomme returned to the starting lineup for the first time since starting the season opener. He had been sidelined with a high ankle sprain that was suffered in the first half against Tampa Bay in the first game. Delhomme is 12-of-18 for 149 yards in the first half. Delhomme was sacked and fumbled on the final play of the first half, but OL John St. Clair recovered to avoid a big disaster.

Sack Attack: S Abe Elam sacked QB Jimmy Clausen for a 12-yard loss. CB Sheldon Brown had six tackles, while Elam and LB Matt Roth had four.

Super Sophs: WR Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi combined for five catches and 59 yards in the first half. Robiskie had three catches for 25 yards.

Haden's Debut: Despite playing a lot this season, CB Joe Haden made his first NFL start at left cornerback for CB Eric Wright, who was injured in last week's game with Jacksonville.

Mitchell Sighting: Rookie WR Carlton Mitchell was used in an end around play for nine yards in the first quarter.

Brown Down: CB Sheldon Brown went out in the first quarter. Brown continued his streak of starting 139 straight games, which is the second longest among defensive backs. He did return and led the Browns in tackles at halftime.

Quick Returns: LB Eric Alexander, who replaced LB Blake Constanzo made the tackle on the opening kickoff.

St.Clair, Womack Back: The Browns started the right side of the offensive line the way the season started with OL Floyd Womack at right guard and John St. Clair at right tackle. The duo has battled knee and ankle injuries all season and have rarely been on the field at the same time.

Cribbs Active: Despite published reports that WR Josh Cribbs would most likely not play, he is active. Cribbs returned his first kickoff 16 yards.

Inactives: For the Browns: QB Colt McCoy, DB Eric Wright, RB Thomas Clayton, DL Brian Sanford, TE Alex Smith, WR Demetrius Williams, DL Jayme Mitchell and LB Scott Fujita. LB David Bowens started for Fujita and Joe Haden started at left cornerback for Wright. McCoy had started the previous five games, but suffered a high ankle sprain against the Jaguars.

Sherk, Michael Dean Honored: Former Browns Jerry Sherk and Michael Dean Perry were introduced prior to the game.


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