Browns-Bengals: Report Card

How did the Browns grade out vs the Bengals?

Charlie Frye acquitted himself well in his second start for the Browns.

The rookie quarterback started in Cincinnati and finished the game with better numbers than Carson Palmer, Cincinnati's MVP candidate.

"I thought he handled himself pretty well," coach Romeo Crennel said.

Frye made plays by moving around the pocket. He never looked rattled, and he followed a shaky second half against Jacksonville with a good second half in Cincinnati that almost led to a win.

There appears to be no reason Frye won't start the rest of the season.

And unless his play changes for the worse, there appears to be no reason Frye will not be penciled in as the starter in 2006.


PASSING OFFENSE: B-minus -- Rookie Charlie Frye had a good game, completing 16 of 24 passes for 138 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Frye never made the huge play, but with the exception of the interception and one poor throw in the end zone, he avoided the bad one. Frye's strength was remaining cool under fire. That allowed him to feel and escape the rush and make throws on the run, something that Trent Dilfer struggled to do. In two games, Frye has had three solid halves and one when he struggled. Which isn't too bad.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- Not much gained, but not much lost either. Reuben Droughns ran for 74 yards on 21 carries, but he continued his hard, tough running. Droughns did not carry the Browns, but he wasn't really asked to, either.

PASSING DEFENSE: B -- Who knows if a windy day affected Carson Palmer or if he had a bad day, but he completed less than half his throws and didn't top 100 yards passing. Cincinnati struggled to score 23 -- and it needed the help of some very questionable penalties on CB Leigh Bodden to win. The Browns played the pass pretty well.

RUSHING DEFENSE: D -- Rudi Johnson ran for 169 yards on the Browns defense, but he had 110 in the game's first 20 minutes. After being gashed initially, the Browns shored things up. And they followed the blueprint they've followed all year -- give teams yards but don't give them many points. That being said, 169 yards is a lot of yards to give up to one back, and until the defense can stop the run every game, it will be an adventure.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C-minus -- The biggest mistake by the special teamers was allowing Cincinnati to bring a kickoff back to the 42-yard-line after the Browns had tied the game. The Browns will complain that officials missed a blatant block in the back, but more than one guy had a chance to make the tackle and simply didn't get it done.

COACHING: B-plus -- There were occasional time-management issues, but the Browns used a rookie quarterback and came oh-so-close to beating a team that is playoff-bound. Coming off a game when the team quit playing in the second half against Jacksonville, Romeo Crennel and his staff did not let the disappointment linger. The losses are getting frustrating, but it's a credit to the team and staff that they compete hard game in and game out.


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