Browns-Bengals: Report Card

A look back at how the Browns fared against Cincinnati.

Here is the Browns Report Card vs. the Bengals, provided by

PASSING OFFENSE: B -- Jeff Garcia threw two awful interceptions early when he overthrew receivers badly. But he rebounded nicely to throw for 310 yards, completing 16 of 23 passes for 310 yards. His biggest play was a 99-yarder to Andre Davis on a designed rollout. Davis got a step on the Bengal defender and that was all he needed. Garcia's two nicest throws were a 59-yard touchdown pass to Lee Suggs and a 5-yard fade pass to Aaron Shea in the corner of the end zone on the last play of the first half. Suggs had 100 yards in receptions. The offensive line did probably its best job this season in protecting Garcia, who was sacked only once for zero yards. The biggest problem with the passing game remains the paltry contributions by their starting receivers. Davis' only catch was the 99-yarder, though he missed the second half with a toe injury. Quincy Morgan had only one catch - a 10-yard touchdown reception.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- For a day at least, the Browns' running back tandem of William Green and Lee Suggs worked. While Suggs, who ran for 186 yards in the season finale last year against Cincinnati, had only 19 yards in 13 carries and had a fumble returned for a touchdown, Green had a big game. He ran for 115 yards in 25 carries. On the pivotal touchdown drive before halftime, Green ran for 66 yards. As it did in the passing game, the line had perhaps its best performance of the season against the Bengals. At times, the linemen simply overpowered their Bengals counterparts.

PASS DEFENSE: B-plus -- The Browns didn't want Chad Johnson to have a big game, and Anthony Henry made sure he didn't. Henry bounced back from a poor performance at Pittsburgh when he allowed Plaxico Burress to beat him twice deep on Ben Roethlisberger scrambles. Against Johnson, Henry played almost flawlessly. He made a nice interception on a deep ball, wrestling the ball from Johnson as they rolled on the ground. Johnson dropped several passes, but almost all of them were with Henry in tight coverage. With Peter Warrick out, the Bengals lacked a dangerous second weapon. The longest completion was a 21-yarder to running back Chris Perry.

RUSH DEFENSE: B-plus -- A week after Cleveland allowed Pittsburgh's Duce Staley to have a big game, the Browns did a good job containing Rudi Johnson. Johnson carried 16 times for 57 yards. None of the carries went for longer than 10 yards. The return of defensive tackle Gerard Warren from a pectoral injury helped, but Davis praised the run support of the secondary.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B-minus -- The kicking game didn't play a major role either way. Dennis Northcutt averaged seven yards in four punt returns, and Dee Brown returned only 22 yards on kickoff returns. Punter Derrick Frost didn't have his best game, in part because of a stiff wind at Cleveland Browns Stadium. He averaged less than 36 yards per punt. Fortunately, the coverage teams did a good job, giving up only 2 yards in as many returns by T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Phil Dawson continued his nearly perfect season. He extended his field-goal streak to an NFL-high 23 with kicks of 23 and 33 yards and had three touchbacks.

COACHING: B -- It didn't take a genius to figure out where to hurt the Bengals, and the Browns didn't try to get cute. Cincinnati has struggled against the run all season, so the Browns pounded them with good results. Defensively, their faith that Henry could handle Johnson was justified. The coaches' biggest blunder was allowing the second-quarter clock to get down to seven seconds before calling timeout with the Browns facing third down at the Cincinnati 5-yard line. That limited the Browns' play-calling options. But it turned out not to hurt the Browns because Garcia threw to Shea for a touchdown on the next play.

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