While the gulf between the fourth pre-season game and first regular season game is enormous, the Cleveland Browns are building some momentum this evening with an excellent first-half performance against the NFC Champion Chicago Bears. The Browns are leading at halftime, 19-3.
The Browns have been in control throughout, giving up only a field goal in the waning seconds to allow the Bears
It's not just bubble players with jobs on the line who are making a difference. The Browns have been sparked by WR Josh Cribbs, who ran back a punt back seventy yards for a score, and got an impressive performance out of their first-team defense. Combined with solid punting by Dave Zastudil, the Bears found themselves frequently pinned inside their own ten yard line. The team's suspect run defense was effective throughout the first quarter of play, providing few opportunities for Bears running backs Cedric Benson and Adrian Peterson.
Starrting quarterback Charlie Frye was unable to navigate the Browns into the end zone during his two opportunities, but threw a terrific over-the-shoulder pass to WR Braylon Edwards that the WR couldn't cradle. Frye finished the his brief stint with two completions in five attempts for nineteen yards.
Derek Anderson was solid but likewise couldn't lead a touchdown drive. The Browns initial score came as Anderson and the Browns offense couldn't convert from inside the ten. On the subsequent kick-off, Bears KR Daniel Manning bobbled the kick and allowed the ball to roll out of bounds for a safety.