Stop the presses!
The Browns actually showed sign of having some offensive firepower in the dress rehearsal for the regular season. Cleveland ended up winning 17-16 over the Broncos to improve their preseason record to 2-1.
The Browns looked their best with their starters against arguably the best team they've played thus far in the preseason, starting by taking the opening kickoff and moving smartly 80 yards in 5:18 to take a 7-0 lead.
During the drive, starting quarterback Charlie Frye hit three different receivers for first downs and scrambled for another himself. WR Joe Jurevicius set the tone, hauling in a quick slant for 11 yards on the first play of scrimmage. Later, Braylon Edwards made an outstanding catch for 24 yards down the sideline to take the ball down to the Broncos' six as he beat Dre Bly. From there, Jamal Lewis carried both times from the six for the score.
The Broncos answered the Browns score and moved to the Browns' eleven before settling for a 28-yard field goal by Jason Elam with 3:53 to play in the first quarter, putting the score at 7-3. The big play was a long pass from Jay Cutler to Javon Walker for 37 yards on third-and-long. Later in the drive, the Broncos went for a first down on fourth-and-one from the Browns 31 and converted it.
The Browns moved the ball on their second possession for three first downs and Frye ended the period 5-of-7 for 68 yards, guiding the offense to seven first downs. The Browns were also notably successful on third down (4-for-4).
Derek Anderson came in the second quarter after Frye and hit Lewis on two screens and moved the ball to the Broncos' three before stalling. The Browns settled for a Phil Dawson field goal from 23 yards with 1:59 to play in the first half to take a 10-3 lead. The Browns went 75 yards in 13 plays taking 7:42 off the clock on the drive.
The Broncos came right back and tied the game at the half as they marched 80 yards in a little over a minute as the Browns dropped back and the Broncos moved quickly in big chunks led by strong-armed QB Jay Cutler. At the Browns two with 37 seconds to play, Cutler hit Kyle Johnson for a two-yard touchdown to knot the score at 10-10. The Broncos covered the 80 yards in just seven plays and 1:22.
The Browns took the lead behind Brady Quinn in the third quarter. Following a Broncos turnover, it took less than a minute for Quinn to move the Browns 37 yards on just three plays. Capping off the drive, WR Josh Cribbs took a quick out and tip-toed 20 yards down the sideline for a touchdown to make it 17-10 with 1:19 to play in the third quarter. The drive was set up as David McMillan stripped Broncos second-string QB Patrick Ramsey of the ball and Browns rookie DL Chase Pittman recovered at the Broncos' 37.
The Broncos moved to the Browns' nine late in the game and went for it on fourth-and-5 with just 3:09 to play. After completing the pass for the first down, the Broncos scored a touchdown as RB Selvin Young rushed in from nine yards out to make it 17-16 with 2:56 to play. Opting to go for the win, the Broncos went for the two-point conversion and McMillan and Chaun Thompson stopped Young shy of the goal line.
The Broncos got the ball back with 58 seconds to play on their own 37 and trailing 17-16. The Broncos threw three passes over the middle and were not able to stop the clock and the game ended with the Broncos on the Browns' 48.
QB Derby: Charlie Frye made a strong statement that he wants to be the starter come opening day against the Steelers as he started the game with an 11 play, 80 yard drive for a touchdown. Frye hit WR Joe Jurevicius on the first play on a quick slant for 11 yards. It was Jurevicius' first reception of the preseason and he finished with three grabs for 31 yards. During the drive, Frye took off on third-and-eight and ran thirteen yards for a first down, but took a hard hit before going down. Frye later hit TE Steve Heiden for 14 yards for the third first down of the drive and hit WR Braylon Edwards down the sideline with an over–the-shoulder catch for 24 yards to the six-yard line.
Frye finished 5-of-7 for 68 yards, while Derek Anderson was 7-of-9 for 74 yards. Anderson started the second half and couldn't move the team on the first series. Anderson hurt his knee as DE Jarvis Moss hit him as he released a pass on third down.
Rookie Brady Quinn entered on the second series of the second half with 10:48 to play in the third quarter and played the rest of the game. Starting at their own 15, Denver had the majority of their starters in on defense and the Browns had some of their starters in as well, although Quinn was behind the Browns second-team offensive line. Quinn hit Winslow across the middle as Winslow hit the seam as he beat Ian Gold for 25 yards to the Broncos' 35. Quinn started 5-of-5 for 50 yards before just missing veteran WR Joe Jurevicius in the corner of the end zone. On third down, Jurevicius beat Dre Bly but was ruled out of bounds as he caught the ball in the back corner of the end zone. The Browns came away without points as Dawson's field goal attempt from 46 yards was wide left.
Quinn threw his third touchdown pass of the preseason on his second series as he hit WR Josh Cribbs for a 20 yard touchdown. He was 3-of-3 for 31 yards on the drive. He started 7-of-8 for 81 yards, including a touchdown. On Quinn's third series, WR Travis Wilson dropped a pass that hit him right between the numbers and the Browns went three-and-out. Quinn ended up 7–of-11 for 81 yards, including a touchdown.
Ken Dorsey did not play.
Sack Man: DE Robaire Smith sacked QB Jay Cutler on the Broncos' first possession of the second half. LB Chaun Thompson sacked QB Patrick Ramsey on the first play after Dawson's missed field goal. LB David McMillan sacked Ramsey on third down for a 12-yard loss and rookie Chase Pittman recovered at the Broncos' 37 with 2:15 to play in the third quarter.
RB Battle: Many feel RB Jerome Harrison and Chris Barclay are battling for the third RB spot. Harrison had four carries for 16 yards and caught one pass for 11 yards. He made two nice tackles on punts in the fourth quarter. Barclay had three carries for nine yards.
Red Zone: The Browns had been pathetic on offense during their first two pre-season games, particularly the first team in the red zone. Saturday night, however, the Browns scored a touchdown on their first trip inside the Broncos' 20. The Browns also moved into the red zone behind Derek Anderson in the second quarter on his first series at quarterback. Lewis ran the ball the first two plays after the Browns moved inside the 10 and took it to the Broncos' three. Anderson was sacked on third down and the Browns settled for a field goal.
Two Minute Blues: The Browns didn't play very well in two minute defense for the second week in a row. After the Browns took a 10-3 lead with less than two minutes to play, the Browns let the Broncos go the length of the field for a touchdown with little resistance. The Browns appeared to be playing a soft zone and let Cutler throw underneath.
Too Bad: S Sean Jones had an interception from QB Jay Cutler but it was called back on a defensive holding penalty on Jones.
D'Qwell's Day: LB D'Qwell Jackson was making tackles all over the field in the first half. He had seven tackles in the first half and made a nice play smelling out a screen pass and dropped the back for a loss of four yards.
Shaffer Out: OL Kevin Shaffer suffered a concussion after losing his helmet on a play in the second quarter. While without a helmet, Shaffer was hit in the head and he also hit his helmet.
K2 2nd: TE Kellen Winslow didn't start for a reason dubbed ‘coaching decision'. He came in for the first play of the second quarter and was called for illegal procedure on fourth-and-one. The Browns were going for it from the Broncos' 46, but then punted after the penalty. Winslow caught his first pass from Anderson for 12 yards and then caught a pass inside the 10 for a first down at the Broncos' eight. He finished with three grabs for 47 yards.
Big Jamal: RB Jamal Lewis accounted for 70 yards in the first half as he had 13 carries for 40 yards, including a touchdown and caught two passes for 30 yards. He finished with 15 carries for 46 yards rushing.