Browns Report Card Vs. Broncos

You can almost hear the national "pundits" already: "The Browns have given up three straight 100 yard games". But Clinton Portis earned every yard he got against the Browns last weekend, as guys like Andra Davis (above) made him fight for every inch of turf. TheInsiders have this figured out - they offer that analysis and more in the latest Browns report card!

The drama between Tim Couch and the Cleveland Browns will continue into the offseason.

Couch played well enough in the 23-20 overtime loss to Denver that team president Carmen Policy said it will cause the team to "look in the mirror" when considering his future.

"It causes you to start thinking, 'This is somebody we've got to really seriously consider keeping,'" Policy said.

Couch completed just eight-of-18 passes, but had passes of 44, 27, 44 and 35 yards (the latter for a touchdown) in the 23-20 overtime loss.

He led the Browns to a 20-17 lead with 1:11 left only to see the Broncos come back to win.

Couch is due to make $7.6 million next season, and if he stays a Brown he will have to agree to re-do his contract. Last week Couch said he would be willing to do that because he wants to stay in Cleveland.

"His willingness to do that," Policy said, "plus the way he played Monday (against St. Louis) and (Sunday) causes us to look in the mirror and say, 'OK let's talk about this guy.' "


-- Quality made up for quantity. Tim Couch threw just 18 times and completed just eight, but four were for 27 yards or more. Couch's 10-yard average per pass was impressive, but so was the fact that two of his completions were for touchdowns and his per-completion average was 22.6 yards. Too, Couch was throwing to a receiving crew weakened by the flu, as Andre Davis played with a 101-degree temperature and Quincy Morgan was rebounding from an earlier-in-the-week bout with the flu.

-- The Browns ran for 100 yards, but didn't come up with many big plays. Jamel White averaged just 2.8 yards per carry, and 17 of the team's rushing yards came on a Couch scramble. Rookie Lee Suggs looked good on a 17-yard scamper around right end and could get more playing time in the final two games.

-- Considering the Browns were without their two starting corners, the secondary put in a strong effort. The blemish was a long pass in the final minute over rookie corner Michael Lehan that set up the game-tying field goal in the final seconds. It was the only bad play, but it was a glaring bad play.

-- The good news was that Clinton Portis had to carry the ball 38 times to get his yards. The bad news is that he totaled 139 yards. The Browns corralled Portis, who had to work for everything he got. But he worked so much and so often he still had a lot of yards.

-- Kicker Brett Conway was signed earlier in the week and he responded with a go-ahead field goal from 48 yards with 1:11 left. The kick was impressive, but Conway earlier missed a 38-yard kick. Dennis Northcutt's good day on punt returns included a 38-yarder -- though he was tackled by the punter.

-- The Browns had numerous injuries and fell behind 10-0 early. They could have given up. But they didn't. Instead they came back and almost stole a win in Denver. The team is 4-10 but it is still fighting and playing hard.

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