CLEVELAND - It's the dream of every big, uncoordinated kid who finds himself stuck playing on the offensive line.
After going all the way through childhood, through four years of high school and another four years of college football without realizing that dream, Gonzalez finally found the perfect chance to get into the end zone Sunday in the Browns 17-13 win over the Washington Redskins at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
He was wide open. Not a defender within 20 yards on a fake field goal late in the fourth quarter.
And for some reason, Derrick Frost didn't throw him the football.
"It's obviously upsetting," said Gonzalez. "Every fat kid dreams about it growing up. I've never scored a touchdown at any level, and it would have been nice to get my first in the NFL. But it just wasn't meant to be."
Frost never saw Gonzalez, who was his third option on the play, and
instead tucked the ball away and tried to run for a first down. He came up 3
Gonzalez' only solace?
"Maybe I was so wide open that I would have dropped the pass," he said.
Even with what should have been an easy touchdown, Browns coach Butch Davis' decision to try the fake field goal with 2:21 on the fourth-quarter seemed questionable at best.
At the time, the Browns were clinging to a four point lead, and a 45-yard field goal by Phil Dawson would have provided a one-touchdown advantage. Dawson, by the way, owns the NFL's longest current streak of consecutive field goals made at 18.
But for Davis, who had a feeling the Redskins would sell out to try to block the kick, the risky call was a no-brainer.
"When I called the play, I knew it was going to be a touchdown," said Davis. "It was one of those things where we knew they were going to bring heat. They had an all-out blitz to try to keep it a four-point game, and it was going to be wide open.
"We will look back on this and be glad we won the game, but we missed the opportunity. Maybe that will scare some people from bringing eleven people every time."
Davis was even more sure of his call considering Dawson would have been kicking into the wind. With an all-out blitz and the need to kick the ball low to pierce the wind, he thought a block was possible, if not likely.
"With the wind, it was iffy," Dawson admitted. "I could have made it, but if something happened, then they would get the ball in better field position."
A missed field goal would have given the Redskins the ball at their own 35-yard line. Instead, when the fake failed, the Redskins hopes for a game-winning drive started at their 27.
Those hopes were quickly eliminated when Laverneus Coles fumbled at the 39 after catching a pass that would have given the Redskins a first down at the 2-minute warning. Browns linebacker Kevin Bentley stripped the ball, and safety Earl Little recovered, sealing the win.
"That play showed that Butch Davis' faith in the defense was deserving,"
said defensive end Kenard Lang. "I love that he went for the fake because it
showed he has faith in us coming up with a stop. I love it because it was
aggressive. I love it because it showed he isn't afraid to take chances."
That didn't happen. After proving himself with a 25-yard run on his first carry, the Browns returned Suggs to the feature role he had before being injured late in the preseason. Suggs finished with 82 yards on 22 carries while Green ran just four times for 17 yards.
According to Davis, the possibility of breaking a long run was part of the reason Suggs carried the bulk of the rushing load.
"The threat of the home run is a little bit of it, but not necessarily
(all of it)," said Davis. "But he got hot. And that's just the way it could
be. He got hot and was hitting some runs, and if William had got off hot and
hit some runs, who knows how it would have gone. It's one of the luxuries
this team has - We kept feeding the hot hand."
WELCOME BACK - Aaron Shea found himself in unfamiliar territory early in the second half.
When he dove into the end zone on a 15-yard pass from Jeff Garcia to deadlock the score at 10, it was Shea's first touchdown since his rookie season.
That last score came in a victory over the New England Patriots on Sept. 12, 2000.
"It felt good to get back into the end zone because it has been a long
time coming," said Shea. "I am just happy to get the win at home."
NUMBERS GAME - The Browns are 2-0 at Cleveland Browns Stadium this season. The Browns haven't been 2-0 at home since 1995 ...The two fumbles recovered by the Browns Sunday gives the Browns nine forced turnovers (5 interceptions, 4 fumbles) in just four games - The win evened the Browns record to 2-2 in games where the Ohio State University marching band performed at Cleveland Browns Stadium.