Browns Will Need to Run Over Dolphins

It's not the trick plays, it's the ground game. The Browns will need it Sunday.

For all the attention given the trick plays that worked -- the sneaky handoff to Chansi Stuckey for an 11-yard touchdown run against the Patriots and the throwback from Peyton Hillis to Colt McCoy to keep a drive alive in New Orleans -- the success or failure of the Browns usually hinges how well Hillis runs with the ball.

It should be no different Sunday when the Browns play their first of three consecutive road games with a stop in Miami to play the Dolphins.

The Browns beat Cincinnati, New Orleans and New England this year and in those games Hillis rushed for 102, 69 and 184 yards respectively. One reason they beat the Saints without Hillis rushing for 100 was linebacker David Bowens returned two interceptions for touchdowns, which meant the ball went right back to the Saints.

Hillis rushed for 131 yards and scored three touchdowns when the Browns beat the Panthers 24-23 last week.

"We have to know what they do on the defensive side of the ball and adjust to it during the game," Hills said. "Sometimes you have a good week; sometimes you have a bad week. You have to prepare hard every week."

Hillis does not agree with the notion that if the Dolphins slow him they beat the Browns. He predicts the Browns will launch an aerial assault if Miami uses eight defenders in the box.

The fact is Hillis has scored 11 touchdowns on the ground. Delhomme, Seneca Wallace and Colt McCoy have combined for eight touchdown passes, and Hillis caught two of them.

Delhomme started against the Panthers last week because McCoy was out with a sprained ankle. It was Delhomme's first start since the season opener. He sprained his ankle in that game and aggravated the injury subbing for injured Seneca Wallace against Atlanta.

Whether Delhomme starts against Miami could depend on how well McCoy moves this week. But even if McCoy is healthy, Mangini will stick with Delhomme if he follows his original thinking when he picked Delhomme as his starter.

Mangini could have started Wallace against Carolina because the Browns beat Cincinnati with Wallace and they were beating the Falcons before Wallace was injured, but he decided to go back to Delhomme, which meant the offensive line had to adjust again.

McCoy had success rolling out and so did Wallace. Delhomme is more of a pocket passer, but the adjustment isn't a big one, left guard Eric Steinbach said.

"The good news is we're used to playing with different quarterbacks," Steinbach said. "We've gone through all three guys this year and all three have done a heckuva job. We up front cannot change. We have to play the same way no matter who is back there."


TRENDING: Joe Haden started at left cornerback for Eric Wright vs. Carolina. Wright missed the game with a knee injury incurred in Jacksonville. It was Haden's first NFL start. He intercepted a pass, his fourth of the season, with 1:28 left to stop a Carolina drive. Haden could hold onto the job when Wright returns.

UNDER THE RADAR: Brian Robiskie caught seven passes for 50 yards. He caught nine passes in the first 10 games.


--QB Jake Delhomme threw two more interceptions. He has thrown one touchdown pass and six interceptions with the Browns.

--K Phil Dawson kicked a 41-yard field goal with 2:42 left for a 24-23 lead. It was the 13th game-winner of his career.

--RB Peyton Hillis caught six passes and leads the team with 46 receptions.

--KR/PR Josh Cribbs played, but at less than 100 percent because of injured toes. He returned four kicks for 89 yards and three punts for 25 yards.

--CB Joe Haden's interception was his fourth to lead the Browns.

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