CLEVELAND — For the second-straight year, Browns fans were given a lump of coal for Christmas at Cleveland Browns Stadium as the Browns dropped a 22-7 decision to the Buccaneers. The Browns are 4-11 with one game left at Houston next Sunday. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay improved to 4-11.
The Browns were shutout 41-0 by the Steelers on Christmas Eve 2005.
The score could've been much more lopsided as the Buccaneers moved the ball most of the game on the Browns banged up defense. They were inside the Browns' 10 on four occasions, but scored just one touchdown.
After the Browns eschewed a scoring opportunity by not kicking a 44-yard field goal, the Buccaneers went 75 yards on 12 plays to take a 3-0 lead. Matt Bryant kicked a 23-yard field with 7:05 to play in the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, Derek Anderson had a pass go off Kellen Winslow and it was intercepted by Jermaine Phillips and he returned it to the Browns' 43. The Bucs' moved inside the 10,v but elected to go for it on fourth-and-one and Mike Alstott was piled up for no gain by Brodney Pool.
However, the Browns turned the ball right back to the Bucs and this time they settled for another 24-yard field goal by Bryant to make it 6-0 with 6:18 left in the first half. Phillips intercepted Anderson for the second time in the first half and returned it 29 yards to the Browns ‘ 33. Tim Rattay hit Alex Smith for 20 yards to the 10, but the Bucs couldn't get into the endzone.
Tampa Bay took the second half kickoff and went 74 yards in nine plays for a touchdown as Michael Pittman took a pitch for 11 yards with 9:20 to play in the third quarter. Sean Jones blocked the extra point to make it 12-0. Tampa Bay held the ball for the first 5:40 of the third quarter.
The Browns countered with a drive of their own, but Anderson was sacked to force the Browns to settle for a 32-yard field goal attempt with 3:32 to play in the third quarter. It was blocked by Jeb Terry.
Derrick Brooks intercepted Anderson with 14:12 to play in the game and returned it 21 yards for the score to make it 19-0. Anderson's third interception occurred as Anderson was hit by Chris Hovan as he released the ball.
The Browns first score came with 11:45 left in the game as Daven Holly picked up the fumbled and returned it 40 yards for the score after Kamerion Wimbley sacked Rattay. It was Wimbley's second sack of the game and 10th of the season and it made the score 19-7.
Tampa Bay countered after the Browns score with a 37-yard field goal by Bryant to make it 22-7 with 5:47 to play in the game. The Browns couldn't stop the Bucs as they erased 5:46 time off the clock.
With over three minutes left the Browns went for it on fourth-and-29 with Ken Dorsey at quarterback after Anderson was injured after getting sacked. Dorsey overthrew the ball by plenty and the Bucs took over and ran out the clock.
Not DA's Day: QB Derek Anderson was 4-of-15 for 48 yards with two interceptions in the first half for a QB rating of 0.8. Anderson was intercepted two more times in the second half, including one by LB Derrick Brooks for a touchdown. He finished just 10–of-27 for 123 yards, including four interceptions. He also suffered a shoulder separation with 3:56 left in the fourth quarter and was taken to the locker room. QB Ken Dorsey was sacked on his first play and then threw an incompletion on his second play which was a fourth-and-29. Anderson's QB rating was 12.3. In his post-game press conference, Romeo Crennel stated that Ken Dorsey was likely to start next week.
What Advantage: The Browns certainly have not had a home field advantage since they returned to the NFL in 1999. They finished the 2006 with a 2-6 record at home with wins over the Jets and the Chiefs. The loss assures the Browns of finishing with a worse record than 2005 when they finished 6-10.
Wimbley Makes Bid: LB Kamerion Wimbley is making a bid to be Defensive Rookie of the Year as he added two more sacks to give him 10 for the season. His second sack forced a fumble and Daven Holley returned it 40 yards for a touchdown. Amongst rookies, Mark Anderson from Chicago had 10 sacks entering this week's game and Schobel from Buffalo entered the week leading the NFL with 13.5 sacks.
Reuben's Day: RB Reuben Droughns had 11 carries for 62 yards in the first half, with a long run of 18 yards. He finished with 19 carries for 92 yards.
What a Call?: After getting good field position to start the game on their 45, the Browns drove to the Bucs' 27 before Phil Dawson punted from the 27, rather than attempt a 44-yard field. Because the punt went into the end zone, the Browns netted seven yards on the play.
Good Start: The Bucs were penalized twice on the opening kickoff. The first they were offside and the second the kick went out of bounds and the Browns started at their own 45.
Holly, Jolly Day: What better way to celebrate Christmas than for CB Daven Holly to get a gift-wrapped interception from QB Tim Rattay just prior to the first half. The Bucs had at least a field goal as they were inside the 10 for the third time, but Rattay threw the ball right to Holly for his fourth interception of the season. S Sean Jones lead the team with five picks. Holly also picked up his second touchdown of the season as he scooped up a fumble caused by a sack from Wimbley for a 40-yard score.
Williams Sack: Rookie LB Leon Williams got the first sack of the game for the Browns. He also batted down a pass. It was Williams' first career sack. Williams had nine tackles in the first half and finished with 14.
Jurevicius Leads: WR Joe Jurevicius led the Browns with four receptions for 58 yards.
Coleman, Parker Hurt: OL Cosey Coleman injured his knee and ankle in the second quarter and did not return. Also, DL J'vonne Parker was injured in the fourth quarter.
Big Hit Ralph: Of all the DB's on the Browns' roster, Ralph Brown (5-10, 195 lbs.) is not known for big hits, but he hammered 6'4", 258 lb.TE Alex Smith in the first quarter to separate Smith from the ball. The hit drew a big ovation from the home crowd.
Northcutt for Braylon: WR Dennis Northcutt started in placed of WR Braylon Edwards. Reports were that Edwards was late for a meeting on Friday. Northcutt caught the first pass of the game which was good for 25 yards. Edwards didn't get put in the game until six minutes remained in the first half. Rookie Travis Wilson went in as the third receiver. Edwards dropped a pass in his hands, before he caught his first pass for six yards. He had another drop in the fourth quarter.
Inactives: For the Browns, RB Chris Barclay, CB Leigh Bodden, DB Ben Emanuel, OL Rob Smith, LB Andra Davis, OL Fred Matua and DL Alvin McKinley. QB Charlie Frye was the third quarterback. For the Bucs: RB Carnell Williams, DB Alan Zemaitis, OL Nick Mihlhauser, OL Donald Penn, TE Doug Jolley, DL Charles Bennett and DL Jon Bradley. Former Brown Luke McCown was the third QB. RB Michael Pittman started for Williams.