Game Notes: Davis Fired Up at Officials

Mike McLain reports from Cleveland Browns Stadium that Butch Davis was none too pleased with the officiating at today's game. While Tim Couch, pictured here preparing to unleash another evil head bob at an unsuspecting Bengal defense, incurred the wrath of the zebras, there are also suggestions of skullduggery by the Bengal defensive line. All that, plus various game notes...

CLEVELAND - Butch Davis had some issues with the officials.

Davis felt that some of the Cincinnati Bengals defensive players were calling out signals in an attempt to get the Browns to jump offisdes. As things turned out, both teams were guilty of numerous procedure infractions.

"The offensive linemen were complaining all day that they were mimicking things that simulated our snap count," Davis said. "That's why you saw all the false starts and offsides on both sides."

Davis' view of the situation didn't coincide with the views of some of the linemen. Center Jeff Faine said he heard some of the Bengals shout out "set … hut," but it didn't bother him.

"I guess they were trying to draw us offsides," Faine said. "I didn't hear it personally. I don't know what you can say about that, as long as the ref doesn't say anything about it."

On one penalty against the Bengals in the first quarter, referee Ron Winter, in announcing the call on the public-address system, referred to the penalty as being unnatural to the game.

Overall, Davis was angry with the lack of discipline shown by the Browns. They were penalized 11 times for 101 yards.

"One of the most frustrating things for the players and the coaching staff is that the penalties we're having probably cost us as much as 14 points," Davis said. "It took field position away. It took down-and-distance situations away. That stuff has to absolutely quit."

 Tim Couch was penalized twice for bobbing his head when shouting out the signals from the shotgun formation.

"You have to scream your audibles when there are 73,000 people screaming their guts out," Davis said. "It's amost impossible to not have some kind of body movement."


  • Dennis Northcutt returned to action after missing the last two games. Northcutt suffered two hairline fractures to his ribs in the opener against Indianapolis. He started in the three-receiver set used on the first play.
  • The Browns allowed their first passing touchdown of the season in the first quarter. Quincy Morgan's 71-yard touchdown reception on the second play from scrimmage was the Browns' first touchdown in the first half of a game.
  • As expected, Shaun O'Hara moved from right guard to left guard for the Browns. Paul Zukauskas replaced O'Hara at right guard for his first start of the season.  Fowler went from starting the first three games to being inactive.
  • Morgan said he should have made a catch in the fourth quarter that would have given the Browns a first down near the Bengals' 45. Couch threw the ball behind Morgan on the third-and-17 play. Morgan had to stop his crossing route and reach back to try to make the grab. "Of course I should have made that catch," Morgan said. "I've been here three years, and I've had some big plays and some bad days. That's a play you have to make if you want to be a big-time receiver."
  • In passing for 280 yards, Couch surpassed the 10,000-yard barrier in his career. With 10,092 yards, Couch is fifth in team history. He moved ahead of Frank Ryan on the team career list for completions with 928 (Ryan had 907).
  • William Green left the game in the first quarter after taking a hard hit to the helmet. Green appeared woozy as he walked off the field, but he returned to the game on the same drive.
  • Bengals running back Corey Dillon re-aggravated a groin injury in the first half. He tried playing through the pain, but he sat the bench in the second half. Cornerback Jeff Burris hurt his neck in the first half and returned.

INACTIVES: Kelly Holcomb was on the inactive list as the third quarterback. Also on the list were receiver C.J. Jones; defensive backs Roosevelt Williams and Michael Lehan; offensive linemen Enoch DeMar and Fowler, and defensive linemen Tyrone Rogers and Antonio Garay. The Bengals sidelined defensive back Dennis Weathersby; linebackers Riall Johnson and Keyon Whiteside; offensive lineman Victor Leyva; receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh; tight end Matt Schobel and defensive end Elton Patterson.

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