The Browns kept the high-powered Colts under control but the Colts defense kept the Browns out of the end zone as the Colts prevailed 13-6. The Browns defense couldn't get the ball back for the offense when they needed to. The Colts had the ball just three times in the second half, to the Browns two. A huge penalty that called back an 82-yard punt return touchdown by Dennis Northcutt cost the Browns the decisive touchdown.
Romeo Crennel didn't take any consolation in the close loss.
"I don't take any solace in the game," Crennel said. "We made too many mistakes to win.
"That touchdown called back was huge," Crennel said. "It was a one touchdown game."
Here is a breakdown analysis of the highs and lows of the Browns third game.
- Punt returner Dennis Northcutt had his second touchdown on a punt return called back on an illegal block by Frisman Jackson. The return would've been for 82 yards. It turned out to be the difference in the game. Television replays showed that Jackson was way behind the play and would've not made any difference in the result.
- QB Trent Dilfer was 22-of-29 for 208 yards for the game. He was 13-14
for 130 yards in the first half. Offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon seems
to call plays that suit Dilfer by working quick hitters to the backs or
receivers. He started 16-of-17 and had a couple of balls dropped, including
a touchdown. Bryant juggled and dropped a ball right to him on a crossing
pattern and another ball that he looked as though he would catch in the end
- The Browns didn't just try to run out the clock when they received the
ball inside their own 10 with less than a minute to go and moved the ball to
Colts' territory before running out of time.
- RB Reuben Droughns was exploding as he ran hard up the middle, including
a 15-yard run that he twisted and turned out of the grasp of defenders on
two occasions. Droughns had 63 yards on 15 carries in the first half. After
getting dinged up and missing a couple of plays, Droughns made a great play
on fourth-and-one as his second effort got a first down. He finished with 76
yards on 22 carries. He also had 32 yards in pass receptions.
- The Browns moved the ball against the Colts defense but only put up
three points in the first half. The Colts allowed just 10 points in their
first two games (7 to Baltimore and 3 to Jacksonville). After giving up the
long drive that resulted in a field goal for the Colts, the Browns used the
remainder of the clock on their drive to drive the length of the field only
to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Phil Dawson to make the score 13-6.
Each team had the ball just once in the third quarter.
- CB Daylon McCutcheon made a nice play intercepting Manning as he was
trying to go deep to Marvin Harrison. It was McCutcheon's second
interception of the season.
- RB Lee Suggs got on the field for the first time. He caught two swing passes for seven yards.
- The defense allowed the Colts to take 7:20 off the clock to start the
second half. However, the Browns did hold the Colts to a field goal to make
the score 13-3 at the time. They also allowed the Colts to take 7:40 off the
clock on their final possession to end the game. The Colts had the ball
19:16 in their three possessions of the second half. The Browns couldn't get
off the field on third down when they needed to.
- The Browns had very little pressure on Manning and had no sacks.
- They allowed Edgerrin James to rush for 108 yards, especially when they
knew the Colts would do nothing but run the ball in the final moments of the
- Two taunting penalties by the Browns receivers to kill drives. Rookie
Braylon Edwards made a big play on a catch but was penalized . Instead of
having a third-and-short, the Browns had a third-and-18 and failed to
convert. In the second quarter, Antonio Bryant had a down field catch but
spouted off to the Colts' defensive back and drew the flag. As a result, the
Browns had to punt.
- The offensive line kept Dilfer off the turf for the first nine quarters
of the season. However, the Colts sacked Dilfer four times in the second
quarter. With 13:38 to play in the second quarter, Dwight Freeney picked up
his first sack and then came back with two more later in the quarter. Dilfer
was sacked the fourth time with less than a minute to go in the half. Dilfer
took a pounding by the Colts defense. In addition to the sacks, Dilfer was
hit numerous times after throwing the ball. Dilfer wasn't sacked in the
- Bryant dropped two passes that he should've caught from Dilfer, including a touchdown pass that would've cut the Colts lead to 13-10 to start the fourth quarter. He had the ball but let the Colts defender pull it out as he went to the ground.
- The Browns continued to shoot themselves in the foot with inexcusable mistakes. The illegal block on Jackson to negate Northcutt's punt return; the two taunting penalties on Edwards and Bryant, as well as the total number of penalties continue to prove the Browns do not have a strong enough team to overcome. They had seven penalties for 62 yards early on in the third quarter and if you add the 82 yards the Browns lost in essence on the Northcutt punt return, that is over 144 yards lost.