Browns find way to win an ugly game

The only good thing about winning 6-3 is the obvious thing.

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns have redefined winning ugly, which is fitting given the many ugly ways the Browns have lost.

For the second time in three season, the Browns won a game 6-3 -- the same score Roger Federer usually has in the second set. Two years ago 6-3 was Eric Mangini's first win, in Buffalo. Sunday, it was Pat Shurmur's third win, over Seattle. Both wins set the sport back decades.

But both were wins, and there's no changing that fact. The win over the Seahawks moved the Browns to 3-3 -- which is a .500 record.

"You only need one more than they have," said coach Pat Shurmur, "and we had three more, so there's something good in that."

"We'll take it," said placekicker Phil Dawson, who made two field goals longer than 50 yards to win the game. "We won't brag about it, but we'll take it."

Seattle will (properly) lament some officiating calls that went against the Seahawks, one a phantom block in the back on Kennard Cox that wiped out a punt return for a touchdown by Leon Washington. On the Seahawks' last drive, a fourth-down conversion was negated by a very shaky offensive pass interference call on Doug Baldwin.

The game ended fittingly, as Seattle defensive lineman Red Bryant was flagged and ejected for a head butt on the third-last play of the game. The same guy who blocked two field goals secured the win for the Browns.

"I hope (officials) were right," Carroll said. "I hope they made the right choices on those things, because it's pretty hard to live with otherwise."

Seattle also had a huge chance to win when the Browns busted a coverage in the fourth quarter. Charlie Whitehurst -- who was woeful -- found Sidney Rice wide open, but he inexplicably led Rice toward the sideline and Rice just as inexplicably went out of bounds.

"On my turn I didn't realize how close I was to the sideline," Rice said. "I was trying to get some extra yards and I went out of bounds."

Seattle still was nine yards from the score, got to the two and settled for a tieing field goal. The Browns managed to "set up" a Dawson field goal from 53 to win the game. Dancing With the Stars has more drama.

If this game sounds woeful, it's because it was. It was rock-in-your-shoe, fingernails-on-a-chalkboard, make-your-eyes-water woeful.

Consider:

• Whitehurst completed 12-of-30 for 97 yards. Thirty-eight of those yards came on one play to Rice, a play that should have gone for 47.

• Seattle had the ball 11 times. It gained 60 yards on one drive, 38 of those yards coming on the Whitehurst-to-Rice pass. On the other drives, Whitehurst led "marches' of 12, minus-three, 10, seven, 14, seven, eight, zero, four and six yards. That means Seattle had 10 drives that totaled 65 yards.

• Seattle punted seven times, Cleveland five.

Colt McCoy threw 35 times for 178 yards for the Browns and again rarely looked downfield.

• The Browns did not get inside the Seahawks 20 until the fourth quarter, when they had a field goal blocked.

• Phil Dawson had the two kicks of 53 and 52 yards, but also had two blocked.

• The Browns had a nine-yard punt.

• Whitehurst's rating was 35.0, McCoys 59.0.

• There was one play longer than 20 yards -- Rice's catch. And that one should have been for more.

"I've never been a part of something like that," McCoy said -- and hopefully he never will again.

The half-full group would say that the defenses played well, but this seemed much more like a case of inept offenses pushing back and forth and getting nowhere.

McCoy had some good throws in the second half, but some awful ones in the first. Whitehurst was pretty much awful from start to finish.

"I don't want to disrespect Cleveland or anything," Seattle receiver Mike Williams said. "They played a good game and did their part on defense. But we are better. We should have played better."

A peewee team could have played better.

The Browns did produce a couple drives in the fourth quarter that were able to use clock and convert third downs. And they ran the ball. A lot. They didn't run exceedingly well, but they did not give up on the run.

With Peyton Hillis injured (Browns record with Hillis not playing: 2-0) Montario Hardesty carried the ball 33 times and gained 95 yards. The 2.9 yards per carry was not good, the persistence was. The Browns converted three third downs and used 6:49 on one fourth-quarter drive. Hardesty ran seven times for 30 yards, newly acquired Chris Ogbonnaya twice for nine yards. Because they ran and threw short and converted 12-of-24 third downs, the Browns had the ball for almost 13 minutes of the fourth quarter and almost 43 minutes of the game.

That matters. A lot. But holding the ball for 43 minutes and scoring six points …

Well ...

The Browns are 3-3.


The OBR Top Stories