Browns-Bears: Report Card

Scout offers their thoughts on how units of the Browns did last Sunday. Which two areas of the team do you think got straight-up A grades?


It's amazing what two late touchdown passes can do. Trent Dilfer's throws to Antonio Bryant gave the Browns a win, and erased much of the memory of a dismal offensive game. Dilfer admitted it was ugly, and it was, as the passing game without the two touchdowns totaled 157 yards on 32 throws. Dilfer also had two interceptions. The good thing: He was able to save himself and his team with the big plays late that won the game.


The Browns again ran pretty well -- especially considering the Bears are strong against the run. Reuben Droughns had 17 of the 20 carries by a running back, and he averaged more than four yards per carry. It remains a mystery why the Browns don't commit more to the run, though. Having Dilfer throw twice as often as Droughns runs just doesn't seem like the Browns' winning recipe.


Temper this grade a bit by the fact that the Bears were using a rookie quarterback, and they hardly let him try anything. The Browns confused and pressured Kyle Orton with safety blitzes. Until he grows up, Orton will not scare many teams.


The only thing that saved the Browns here was that Thomas Jones left the game with an injury. Before that, though, Jones ran for 137 yards on 24 carries -- many through gaping holes up the middle of the defense. The Browns held the Bears to 10 points, but they did not hold down the running game until Jones was injured.


Kyle Richardson gave the Bears some tough field position with some kicks, but missed others. There were no big plays, but the Browns benefited from a very questionable illegal motion call on the Bears on a fourth-quarter punt. Instead of starting at their 13, the Browns started at their 42, and had some momentum for the go-ahead touchdown drive.


So far, so good for Romeo Crennel and his staff. Crennel and coordinator brought a new blitz on defense that seemed to rattle Kyle Orton, and when the team was getting down in the fourth period, Crennel got in the face of many players -- notably Trent Dilfer, Antonio Bryant and the offensive line -- and told them not to give up. They didn't, and they won, and by winning they eased questions that would have arisen regarding the team's reliance on Dilfer and reluctance to use Reuben Droughns more. Winning, after all, is quite the salve.

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