Cleveland – It wasn't what the Browns were planning.
"We didn't play very good at all," Romeo Crennel said. "We didn't bring any energy in the second half. It was a good opportunity for us to get a win, but we didn't take advantage of it."
After dumping quarterback Jeff Garcia with two years remaining on his contract, the Browns were hoping to show him why they got rid of him.
However, Garcia had the last laugh as he led the Lions to a 13-10 win over the Browns in his first start as the Lions quarterback. Garcia scored the Lions only touchdown, but it was enough.
The difference was he made no mistakes and was able to elude the Browns pass rushers. Garcia finished 22-of-30 for 210 yards. He had no interceptions and was not sacked.
"I thought Jeff came in and did a reasonably good job for his team," Crennel said. "He avoided the bad plays."
Ironically, Garcia was playing in his first game of the season having replaced Joey Harrington. Garcia had a broken leg in the preseason and was also nursing a sprained ankle.
Meanwhile, Trent Dilfer had another forgettable game as he was just 10-of-19 for 73 yards. Dilfer threw three interceptions and was sacked four times. His top receiver was Braylon Edwards, who had just three catches for 30 yards. His longest completion of the day was a 15-yard pass to Antonio Bryant.
"It was a very frustrating day," Dilfer said. "I thought we started moving the ball, but the interceptions killed us.
"We're working hard, but it's obviously not showing it in the games," he said. "The mistakes are just too much too overcome."
Jason Hanson's 50-yard field goal on the second play of the fourth quarter was the difference as it held up in the win. Hanson had earlier missed a 47-yard field goal, while also making a 47-yarder.
The Browns had their chances but couldn't produce the big play when it was needed.
After pinning the Lions back to the three-yard line with 7:17 to play, the Browns were unable to stop the Lions as Garcia eluded a near safety as he was in the grasp of two Browns defenders and completed a pass to Scottie Vines to get the Lions out of trouble. Another first down on a run by Shawn Bryson got the Lions out of poor field position. The Browns finally got off the field with 2:22 to play.
The Browns started with 2:09 to play at their own 29, but committed too many penalties in the series to overcome. The Browns picked up a first down on a catch by Edwards as they started to move the ball.
However, back-to-back penalties by Cosey Coleman and Edwards hurt the Browns, putting them in a 2nd-and-25 situation. Dilfer was then sacked for the fourth time to make it third-and-26. After an incompletion, the Browns punted and didn't get the ball back as they gave up a first down on three straight running plays up the middle.
"I think it is our job as players to do a better job of executing," Steve Heiden said. "We can't shoot ourselves in the foot. I have said that for a couple of weeks now. We have to make a conscious effort when we have field position to make plays and not have turnovers or penalties."
Kevin Jones came in averaging 2.7 yards per carry had, but he along with the other Lions' running backs were able to get the necessary yardage when it was needed down the stretch.
Garcia gave the Lions a 7-3 lead with 5:26 to play in the second quarter on a one-yard bootleg around the right end.
The Browns bounced right back as their only touchdown of the game was provided by a kickoff return by rookie Josh Cribbs.
It only took 12 seconds for the Browns to re-capture the lead as Cribbs took the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for the score to give the Browns a 10-7 lead.
Serious About the Run: The Browns were serious when they said they wanted to commit to the run as they ran five straight plays before throwing a pass to start the game. A slant pass from Dilfer to Edwards for 14 yards broke the streak of rushes.
Droughns finished with 100 yards on 19 carries. He was the first back to rush for 100 yards since Lee Suggs did to end the 2004 season against the Texans.
On the first drive, Droughns had five carries for 34 yards on the first drive setting up the Browns first score, a 30-yard field goal by Phil Dawson to give the Browns a 3-0 lead.
On the second series from starting from inside the ten, Droughns broke off a 31-yard run on the second play and had 67 yards on his first seven carries. He had 83 yards on 11 carries in the first half.
He had just 17 yards on eight carries in the second half. He had 95 yards on 17 carries with 5:37 to play in the third quarter and finished with 100 yards on 19 carries and a 5.3 average.
"I think they gathered together and played better (in the second half)," Crennel said. "We didn't play as well and they were able to slow him down."
Nice Return: The 90-yard kickoff return was Cribbs' first career touchdown. The last time the Browns returned a kickoff for a score was Nov. 7, 2004 when Richard Alston went 93 yards for a touchdown against Baltimore. He is the fifth Browns rookie to accomplish the feat.
Many Happy Returns: WR/PR Dennis Northcutt passed Gerald "Ice Cube" McNeil to become the all-time leader in Browns history in punt returns on his first return for 10 yards. McNeil had 1545 yards in punt returns. Northcutt had two returns for touchdowns called back by penalty this season.all-time punt return leader. He finished with three returns for 27 yards and now has 1570 yards for his career.
Third Down Blues: The Browns were 0-of-8 on third down, while the Lions were 5-of-14.
Zero Day: The Browns had zero sacks on Garcia, as well as zero interceptions.
Possession to the Lions: The Lions had the ball 37:17 to the Browns 22:43.
Not So Welcome Back: QB Jeff Garcia returned to Cleveland where he played the 2004 season with the Browns. After a slow start, he finished 22–of-34, for 210 yards, including a one-yard touchdown run. He did not get sacked and did not turn the ball over.
Garcia started 0-of-2. His first pass was incomplete intended for Paul Smith. His second was intended for former Brown Kevin Johnson. Garcia's first completion was a 15-yard pass to wide receiver Mike Williams. Garcia looked confused at times as he called a timeout in the first quarter and second and took two delay of game penalties, as well, while at the line of scrimmage.
The Browns were unable sack Garcia. At times, they had pressure, but he was elusive to escape it.
Garcia said a caustic reception from Browns fans helped. "I thrive off the crowd's reaction", the new Lions starting QB told reporters, "It's all about being the underdog."
Big Play: Garcia hit Williams for 8 yards and Matt Stewart stripped Williams of the ball and Orpheus Roye fell on it at the Lions' 48. Stewart started his first game in place of Kenard Lang. The Browns were unable to take advantage of the play and had to punt.
Former Browns: Besides Garcia, WR Kevin Johnson and LB's Earl Holmes and Wali Rainer played for the Browns. Rainer was captain of the special teams for the game and had two tackles. He is listed as the third team linebacker. Holmes had seven tackles to tie for the team lead. Johnson suffered an Achilles injury to his right foot in the first quarter and did not return. He had no receptions after coming into the game as the Lions' leading receiver with 17 receptions.
Hello Braylon: After starting the week as doubtful, WR Braylon Edwards played in the first possession for the Browns and caught a 14-yard slant pass from QB Trent Dilfer. Edwards finished with three catches for 30 yards to lead the Browns.
Big Drop: WR Antonio Bryant dropped a ball that hit him between the 8 and the 1 on his jersey on third-and-11 which would've given the Browns a first down. Bryant finished with one catch for 15 yards. The Browns were trying to get in position to at least tie the game and it forced the Browns to punt.
"That would have helped if we would've made that play," Crennel said. "He just dropped it, it looked like to me."
Slow Start and Finish: Dilfer was just 4-of-7 for 25 yards, including two interceptions in the first half. He was sacked once and had a QB rating of just 25.0. Through three quarters, Dilfer was just 5-of-9 for 34 yards. He was sacked four times and had three interceptions. He finished 10-of-19 for 73 yards and a QB rating of 22.4.
Crennel was asked if he thought of replacing Dilfer with rookie Charlie Frye.
"No, not really," he said. "I thought we would stay with (Dilfer). We were just one play away."
When asked what the problem with the offense, Crennel responded.
"We haven't executed very well the last three games."
Crennel was asked what to do about the offense.
"We have to do whatever we can to improve our performance."
Shank You: P Kyle Richardson's first punt was for 33 yards, but his second punt went off the side of his foot for just 19 yards. He finished with six punts and an average of 37.3.
Injury Update: CB Gary Baxter suffered a pectoral strain and did not return. LB Mason Unck sprained his ankle, but returned in the second half. For the Lions, besides Johnson (Achilles), DT Shaun Rogers injured his knee and did not return.