Derry: Impressive Home Showing

The long-time Browns writer is excited by what he saw at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Sunday

Now that's more like it!

Fantastic running, timely passing, excellent special teams and an air-tight defense. Add it all up and what do you have? A picture-perfect 22-0 romp by the Browns past Nick Saban's Miami Dolphins Sunday afternoon at sun-drenched Cleveland Browns Stadium.

And making it even better was the fact young Charlie Frye got his first opportunity to play in a regular-season game. Not at mop up time, as you might expect. But rather when the game was still on the line in the second quarter and again midway through the second half.

I was impressed with the way Browns head coach Romeo Crennel got Frye into the game. Granted, as I have said before, I would have gone a step further and actually inserted him into the starting role, but I can fully understand why Crennel did what he did.

"We had talked about getting Charlie a couple of series in the second half of the season and today was a good day to get his feet wet," said Crennel of his decision to insert Frye even though starter Trent Dilfer was having a very good day.

Frye completed 6-of-11 for 58 yards with one interception that was not his fault. He hit Braylon Edwards with a perfect pitch on a quick slant pattern, but Edwards had the ball knocked out of his hands and had it picked off.

There's certainly no way to give Frye a legitimate grade for his first game considering he saw such limited action. One thing for sure, he loves to scramble. And he's definitely not afraid to throw the ball after eluding would-be tacklers, which can be both good and bad. Mark my word, he'll definitely bring some excitement to this offense.

Also impressive was Frye's fellow rookie Edwards, who as radio color commentator Doug Dieken said, didn't wear the name "Decoy" across his back for the first time this year. Both Dilfer, who completed 11-of-18 for 137 yards and one touchdown, and Frye made Edwards their primary target. Edwards, who had again complained earlier in the week about not being a major part of the offense, had six catches for 90 yards.

But the offensive star of this game, and a guy who once again proved he is the main igniter of the offense, was running back Reuben Droughns, who got the Browns off on the right foot with his dynamic 75-yard touchdown run on the Browns' first offensive play.

Anyone with a pulse had to be impressed with the way Droughns went right, broke a couple of tackles, cut across the field, streaked down the left sideline, then stopped to allow wide receiver Antonio Bryant and tight end Steve Heiden to make key blocks.

That, my friends, was the most impressive touchdown by a Cleveland Brown in many, many years!

Droughns, who finished with 166 yards on 30 carries for a 7.5 average, "became a Cleveland Brown" on Sunday afternoon, according to Crennel. "He's a hard-running, tough kid," said the first-year Browns head coach.

Hopefully, the Browns will soon see fit to make sure Droughns will be a Cleveland Brown for a long, long time. If they don't sign him to a long-term contract, general manager Phil Savage and owner Randy Lerner had better have their heads examined.

Not that I don't have faith in Jason Wright (OK, I don't have faith in Jason Wright. Nor do I have faith in always-injured William Green or even more always-injured Lee Suggs) but signing Droughns has to be the No. 1 priority for this team.

The only thing overshadowing the offense on Sunday afternoon was the incredible defense, which recorded its first shutout in nearly four years.

Granted, the Miami Dolphins were far from a well-oiled machine. They were forced to start little-used quarterback Sage Rosenfels due to a broken finger suffered by Gus Frerott.

Rosenfels, who was 5-for-10 for 14 yards, actually got benched in favor of Frerott in the fourth quarter. One has to wonder why, if Frerott was healthy enough to play in the fourth quarter, why wasn't he healthy enough to play in the first three?

Could it have been the Dolphins, coming off an impressive offensive performance against the two-time defending World Champion New England Patriots, thought they could merely show up and use Sage, Rosemary or Thyme at quarterback and have enough spice on offense?

Make no mistake, Sage is no Scott Mitchell. For those of you who forgot, it was Mitchell who replaced Dan Marino at quarterback the last time the Dolphins played in Cleveland. Marino suffered an Achilles injury, opening the door for Mitchell, who led the Dolphins to a 24-14 victory over the Browns, who were 3-1 going into that game.

There were a lot of impressive performances by individuals on the defensive side of the ball, but the guy who impressed me the most was cornerback Leigh Bodden, who continues to do an outstanding job while filling in for injured veteran Gary Baxter.

At times, Bodden reminds me very much of former stars Hanford Dixon and Frank Minnifield, both of whom were outstanding in man coverage.

And it was also very good to see Daylon McCutcheon back on the field after suffering what appeared to be a very serious abdominal injury the previous game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

McCutcheon showed no ill affects and stuck to Dolphin receivers like glue on a stamp.

If memory serves, when Mitchell took over for Marino a dozen years ago, the Browns' defenders treated him with kid gloves, rarely coming after him with an all-out rush.

Sunday afternoon, Crennel and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham didn't make that same mistake. They had a family reunion in the Dolphins' offensive backfield on more than one occasion.

As a result, the Browns recorded their fourth victory, equaling their total from a year ago. With more performances like the one they turned in Sunday, that number could reach six or seven by the end of the year which could lead to some even better days in years to come.

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