Just What the Defense Needed

Kerry Collins helps the Browns D re-gain their stride.

INDIANAPOLIS — So that's what its like playing a team with pathetic, gross, bad, ugly, horrible, incompetent quarterback play?

The Indianapolis Colts need a quarterback in the worst way. Too bad for them. You're not going to find any sympathy from the team or the fans in northeast Ohio.

The Cleveland Browns defense did its job on Sunday, holding 38-year-old Kerry Collins and the once-powerful Colts offense to four meaningless field goals.
Collins finished 19-for-38 passing for 191 yards with one touchdown and one interception, with 88 of those yards coming on the Colts' final possession against the Browns' prevent defense.

"In the meat of the game, until that last drive, to keep Indianapolis Colts to four field goals, that's playing good red zone defense," Shurmur said. "Typically, to have success over the long haul, you need to make teams kick field goals, you have to score touchdowns yourself and you have to be good on third down. We'll always focus on that."

Not only did the Colts kick four field goals, but also the Browns scored three touchdowns and they were 8-for-16 on third down. Mission accomplished, coach.

In the win, Shurmur was complimentary of the Colts offense. Indianapolis' weapons, names that have become household thanks to fantasy football – Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie – looked average. With all due respect to Shurmur, take Peyton Manning off this team, and you simply don't have a very good team.

Meanwhile, the Browns defense hasn't been good since… well, it has been a while. This game served as a slump buster for a young Browns defense.

"We're an up-and-coming defense," Browns' first round pick and starting defensive tackle Phil Taylor said. "We know what we need to do and we just got to get better every week."

On the first play of the second quarter, Taylor swallowed up Colts ball carrier Delone Carter on a third and short, forcing a Colts to attempt a field goal and take a 6-0 lead. On the ensuing possession, the Browns drove down and scored a touchdown to take the first lead of the game. Taylor finished with two tackles, assisted on three and one pass deflection.

Ahtyba Rubin, Taylor's cohort on the defense line, showed he earned his newly signed three-year, $27 million contract. Rubin finished with one sack, one tackle for loss and two quarterback hits.

Finally, another draft pick last April, Jabaal Sheard, had four tackles, one sack, one tackle for a loss, one quarterback hurry, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

"We just had to go out there and do what we do," Taylor said. "We knew what we were messing up. So we just had to go out and make plays."

There are still problems. The Browns defense allowed the Colts to rush for 109 yards on 26 carries. Browns second-year defensive back Joe Haden was called for a costly pass interference on the first possession, which set up a field goal and an early 3-0 Colts lead.

But the young defense helped the Browns and its coach earn its first win.

"We built confidence," Shurmur said. "You do it once and now it's about consistency and that's what, as coaches, we're going to focus on this week."

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