Browns Slapped by Texans

The Browns thought being underdogs to the Houston Texans was a slap in the face, but were left red-faced after losing 19-16 to the previously winless Texans. You know what happened - now here's Fred's look at what went wrong (and a few things that went right) during today's game...

They said it was a slap, but the Browns stood there and took it as they went to Texas looking for a win and – are still looking.

Several of the Browns said it was a slap in the face to be a two-point underdog to a winless team. However, they lost by three, 19-16 as Houston hung on for the win.

The Browns drop to 2-5.

The Browns offensive futility continued as the Browns scored just one touchdown against the 3oth ranked defense in the NFL.

The Browns had another chance late in the game to win, but couldn't make the big play when they had to. They took over with 2:38 to play. After consecutive runs by William Green for a first down, Trent Dilfer hit Braylon Edwards for 26 yards to take the ball into the Texans' territory.

However, a drop by Dennis Northcutt and a sack on Dilfer killed the Browns chances for at least a tie. Faced with fourth-and-17 with under a minute to play, Dilfer under threw Antonio Bryant, who was behind Philip Buchanon and Buchanon was able to tip the ball just away from Bryant.

Here's our breakdown of the debacle, we call The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

THE GOOD...

Keep Running: The Browns rushed for 156 yards on the ground. Reuben Droughns had 20 carries for 99 yards, but a costly fumble. On the first drive, the Browns moved the ball on the ground to set up their first touchdown. Droughns has 33 yards on his first eight carries and had 42 at the half. Droughns entered the game with 431 yards and now has 530. On the first drive of the second half, Droughns had an 18-yard run and was instrumental in helping the Browns move the ball. However, Droughns had a costly fumble late in the third quarter that allowed the Texans to take the lead. William Green picked up 48 yards on 10 carries in relieving Droughns.

Good Start: Dilfer started 5-of-6 for 82 yards and a touchdown. The offensive formula was similar to the first three games when Dilfer was successful by throwing short passes and trying to let the receivers break long runs after the catch.

Bryant has Good Day: WR Antonio Bryant caught four passes for 98 yards, but couldn't keep his toe in bounds on a potential game winning catch in the end zone. Early in the game, he caught a quick slant and then raced 54-yards to set up Dawson's second field goal. Bryant had three catches for 78 yards in the first half. He had a 20-yard reception on third and long to keep a drive going, reminiscent to last week's play that he dropped in a crucial situation.

Good Call: The Browns went for it on fourth-and-one inside the Texans 10 and scored their only touchdown by faking the run and throwing to tight end Aaron Shea.

Good Half: The Browns held RB Domanick Davis to just 15 yards in the first half on 11 carries for a 1.4 average.

All Out Andra: Middle linebacker Andra Davis had a good game with nine tackles and a sack to lead the Browns. He was in on many tackles and made a nice play to sack Carr on a third down play. He made a big stop on Davis on third-and-two, forcing the Texans to settle for a field goal. Later, he pressured Carr out of bounds on third-and-4 at the Browns 21.

Making a Play: LB Chaun Thompson had eight tackles and forced a fumble. He was putting some pressure on Carr during the game.

Almost Zero: The Browns had just one penalty in the game. At the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter, OT Ryan Tucker had a false start.

Big Play Leigh: CB Leigh Bodden made an interception in the first quarter, which was his second of the season and in just his second start. Bodden replaced the injured Gary Baxter, who was placed on injured reserve earlier this week with a torn pectoral muscle. The Browns were able to turn the interception into a field goal and a 10-7 lead. Bodden had six tackles to go with the interception.

THE BAD...

Back-to-back fumbles by Dilfer and Droughns were costly giving the Texans the ball at the Browns 32 with the game tied. Droughns' fumble was converted into another field goal by Brown to give the Texans a 16-13 lead.

One Man Wrecking Crew: Jerome Mathis was a one-man wrecking crew for the Browns. He not only scored the Texans only touchdown, he gave them great field position all day. Nothing was bigger than the 63-yard return to set up the field goal that gave the Texans the 19-16 lead and the win. He had five returns for 177 yards, a 35.4 yard average. To start the second half, they stopped Mathis for the first time and stopped him at the 17.

Red Zone Struggles Continue: The Browns continue to have trouble running the ball in the red zone. They were able to score a touchdown on their first attempt on a pass from Dilfer to Shea. On the next two trips, the Browns had to settle for field goals. The Browns haven't scored any rushing touchdowns this season. The Browns haven't scored a rushing touchdown since last November when Green scored against Cincinnati. They were 1-of-4 in scoring touchdowns when they were inside the 20.

Bad Ending: After a good start, Dilfer finished just 12-of-25 for 185 yards with one touchdown. He was sacked twice and fumbled once. After the first drive the Browns scored a touchdown, he was just 7-of-19 for 102 yards.

Third Down Woes: After going 0-of-8 on third down against the Lions, the Browns started 1-of-7 on third down against Houston. They converted two third downs late in the game and finished at just 3-of-12 for the game.

Woulda Shoulda: Despite having an overall good game, Bryant should've been able to drag his foot in bounds for a touchdown. The result was a field goal, instead of having 16 points the Browns would've had 20.

Bad Half: After holding Davis to 15 yards in the first half, the Browns allowed him to gain 76 in the second half and finish with 91 yards on 28 carries. Davis had 98 yards last week against the Colts.

Keep Running: For whatever reason, the Browns continue to put the ball in Dilfer's hands to try and make plays. When the Browns were successful in moving the ball on the ground, they seemingly tried to out smart themselves by trying to throw the ball resulting in sacks or a fumble.

Another First: The Browns gave up a touchdown to the Texans on Houston's first possession. It was the first lead that the Texans had thus far in the 2005 season. Jerome Mathis beat Bodden for the score to get the Texans on their way to their first win.

Wrong Guy: In a power back situation, the Browns tried to run the ball up the middle with Green in a third-and-one situation in the first quarter, instead of using the more powerful Droughns. Inexplicably, the Browns keep putting Green in the game when they're moving the ball with Droughns.

Little Pressure: Against a team who has been averaging six sacks a game, the Browns were only able to get to QB David Carr twice. They got a sack in the second quarter when by Nick Eason and another one later by Andra Davis. The Browns had a couple of chances earlier, but couldn't bring him down. The second sack was on the first series of the second half to stop a third down play when Davis got to him for a 13-yard loss. Despite the two sacks, the Browns really didn't put much pressure on Carr.

Missed Chances: The Browns squandered several offensive opportunities and led by just three points at the half, 13-10. It didn't start much better in the second half as after moving the ball inside the 20 on the first drive of the third quarter, the Browns turned it over as Dilfer fumbled. The Browns were moving the ball, but again decided to try to throw the ball when Dilfer lost control of the ball. After Dilfer's fumble, the defense was unable to get off the field as the Texans drove nearly 50 yards to tie the game at 13.

THE UGLY...

Shank Man: Punter Kyle Richardson continues to shank punts in critical situations. His first punt of the game was short and then none was bigger than when the Browns decided to punt on fourth-and-inches in the fourth quarter, Richardson had a 10-yard punt to give the Texans the ball on the Browns' 44. He averaged 27.3 yards per punt on three attempts.


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