CLEVELAND — Maybe it was the play calling. Maybe it was their mind set.
Maybe it was the J-E-T-S.
Whatever the reason, the Browns snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 2-5 as they knocked off the Jets, 20-13 at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Meanwhile, the Jets fell to 4-4.
Playing their first game since Maurice Carthon resigned earlier in the week, the Browns had a renewed life in their running game. Reuben Droughns had his best game of the season. He had over 100 yards through midway through the third quarter, including a touchdown. Droughns finished with 125 yards and the Browns rushed for 149 as a team.
Former Ohio State kicker Mike Nugent put the Jets up 3-0 with 6:30 to play in the first quarter as Nugent kicked a 27-yard field goal to cap the Jets' 16-play, 83-yard opening drive. The Jets took 8:30 off the clock after receiving the opening kickoff.
The Browns countered with a 47-yard field goal by Phil Dawson to make it 3-3 with 2:55 to play in the first quarter. The Browns started at their own 40 after the Jets kickoff went out of bounds. Reuben Droughns had runs of 11- and 10-yards on the seven play, 30-yard drive. He accounted for 26 of the Browns' yardage on the first drive.
After Sean Jones intercepted a pass that was tipped by Leigh Bodden from Chad Pennington, the Browns moved 69 yards in 10 plays as Droughns went in from two-yards out to give the Browns a 10-3 lead with 10:00 left in the first half. Droughns had scored a couple of plays earlier on an off-tackle run, but an offside penalty called on Joe Jurevicius negated the score.
After the miss, the Browns drove to the Jets' eight before stalling and settled for a 26-yard field goal by Dawson. However, Dawson pulled the kick to the left and the Browns led at the half, 10-3.
The Browns took the second half kickoff and extended their lead to 17-3 with 11:16 to play in the third quarter as Frye hit Kellen Winslow between two defenders for a 30-yard touchdown pass. The drive was seven plays and 57 yards and it took 3:44. The Browns started at the Jets' 43 after a good kickoff return by Joshua Cribbs. Droughns pcked up 27 yards on the drive and had 96 yards rushing with over 11 minutes left in the third quarter.
After the Browns' first punt of the game, Leon Washington was hit by Nick Eason on the first play from scrimmage and Kamerion Wimbley recovered the ball at the Jets' 9. The Browns had to settle for Dawson's second field goal of the game from 21 yards out to give the Browns a 20-3 lead.
The Jets' Justin Miller took the ensuing kickoff and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown and just like that it was 20-10 with 3:35 left in the third quarter.
The Jets kept their comeback bid going as Nugent hit a 47-yard field goal to make it 20-13 with 12:54 to play. The Jets moved 35 yards to set up the field goal, but a pass interference penalty on Bodden accounted for a large chunk of the yardage and it kept the drive going.
The Browns played it close to the vest down the stretch and relied on their defense to shut down the Jets. The Jets moved all the way to the Browns' 24 before the Browns stopped them.
But it wasn't without a little controversy.
Jones batted down a pass on third down and the Jets elected to go for it on fourth-and-four and Pennington's pass was caught with one hand by Chris Baker but he was ruled out of bounds. Brodney Pool hit Baker as he was coming down and replays showed that Baker might have come down in bounds. However, the play was not reviewed and the Browns were able to run out the clock and get the win.
Commitment to Run: One of the most evident tendencies with Jeff Davidson calling the plays was the running game. Using two tight ends and a one-back set, Droughns had 69 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown in the first half and finished with 125 yards on 33 carries. The Browns had 93 yards rushing in the first half. It was Droughns' 11th 100-yard game rushing game with the Browns.
Wimbley Play: No. 1 draft choice Kamerion Wimbley had a big game as he led the Browns in tackles with seven. He also recovered a fumble and pressured the quarterback several times.
Frye Day: QB Charlie Frye was 15-of-22 for 141 yards with one touchdown and an interception. He was not sacked in the first half, but was sacked three times in the second half. Meanwhile, the Browns were unable to get to Pennington until LB Chaun Thompson sacked Pennington late in the fourth quarter. Frye had 19 yards rushing, including a 17 yard scramble.
K2: TE Kellen Winslow caught seven passes for 76 yards to lead the Browns receiving corps.
Bad Move: C Hank Fraley got hit with a 15-yard personal foul after a third down catch by TE Kellen Winslow. It resulted in the Jets getting good field position at their own 41.
Bodden's Impact: CB Leigh Bodden made an immediate impact on his first game back after suffering a high ankle sprain several weeks ago. Bodden tipped QB Chad Pennington's pass on a cornerback blitz and S Sean Jones intercepted the pass with four seconds to play in the first quarter. Bodden interfered with WR Laveranues Coles to keep a drive going in the third quarter.
Jones Day: S Sean Jones had two interceptions of QB Chad Pennington to give him a team high of four. He picked off the pass that was tipped by Bodden in the first quarter and he grabbed a wayward pass by Pennington midway through the fourth quarter with the Browns hanging to a 20-13 lead.
Wide Open: Jeff Davidson's first play from scrimmage as the play caller was a bomb intended for WR Braylon Edwards which was incomplete. After the pass, back-to-back runs by RB Reuben Droughns netted 11- and 10 –yards.
Three's Company: The Browns started all three TE's—Kellen Winslow, Steve Heiden and Darnell Dinkins-- on their first play from scrimmage.
Started Slow: P Dave Zastudil didn't have to punt until 5:32 to play in the third quarter. However, Zastudil punted three more times in the second half.
McGinest, Roye, Andruzzi Hurt: DL Orpheus Roye injured his hamstring on the first play of the game and was questionable the rest of the game. LG Joe Andruzzi went down with what appeared to be a right knee injury and did not return. He was replaced by Lennie Friedman. LB Willie McGinest hurt his ankle in the second half and his return was questionable.
Inactives: The invectives for the Browns were: RB Jerome Harrison, DB Mike Hawkins, OL Isaac Sowells, OL Fred Matua, OL Ryan Tucker, WR Dennis Northcutt and LB David McMillan. Ken Dorsey was the third quarterback. Matua was signed from the Titans' practice squad on Saturday when the team released DB Antonio Perkins. Kelly Butler started at RT in place of Tucker and Joshua Cribbs returned punts in place of Northcutt. For the Jets: QB Kellen Clemens was the third quarterback. RB Derrick Blaylock, RB Cedric Houston, FB James Hodgins, LB Anthony Schlegel, OL Trey Teague, TE Zach Hilton and DE Dave Ball.