CLEVELAND - Not in your wildest dreams!
After most observers were writing the Browns season off after the season opening 34-7 debacle to the Steelers, most were just hoping the Browns would be competitive against the Bengals.
Not only were they competitive, but they put up 51 points behind newly elevated quarterback Derek Anderson, who threw five touchdowns on 20-of-33 for 328 yards and one interception. Anderson bounced back after starting the game 0-of-5.
The 51-45 win evened the Browns record at 1-1. The Bengals fell to 1-1, as well.
"A division win," Romeo Crennel said. "How about that. Our team fought and fought and never gave up. I would also like to thank our fans for staying in there and hanging with us. These Browns fans are true fans and we're going to try and play that kind of football the rest of the way."
The Browns entered the game just 1-12 in the AFC North under Crennel and now are 2-12, but more importantly 1-1 this year.
The Browns offense had a running back rush for over 200 yards and two receivers go over the 100-yard mark. Jamal Lewis had 215 yards rushing on 28 carries, including a 66-yard touchdown run reminiscent of the two games that Lewis went over 200 yards against the Browns in 2003.
"We started slowly, but those guys up front really did a good job," Lewis said. "That's what the Browns brought me here for.
"It's been a long, long time since I had a breakout game like that," Lewis said. "It did take me back a little bit."
The Browns put up 564 yards on offense. They hadn't scored 51 points since the opening season win over the Steelers in 1989, when the Browns won 51-0.
"You can't explain it," Crennel said. "The guys jut focused on doing their job and helping each other. Hopefully, we can build on this and gain some momentum and get some more wins."
Braylon Edwards caught eight passes for 146 yards, including two touchdowns and Kellen Winslow had six grabs for 100 yards. Joe Jurevicius caught two touchdowns for the Browns and finished with four receptions for 44 yards.
"Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow made some big plays," Crennel said. "We knew those guys had big play ability and they made them."
Anderson was just elevated to the starting spot after the Browns traded last week's starter, Charlie Frye to the Seahawks earlier in the week.
"He fought through and had a great game," Crennel said. "You never know when you are going to have an opportunity and you have to make the most of it when you get it."
On the downside, Carson Palmer threw for over 400 yards and six touchdowns in the loss for the Bengals. Chad Johnson caught 11 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns and Rudi Johnson rushed for 118 yards.
"Leigh hung in there all day," Crennel said. "He hung in there to make the play and get his feet down. That was poetic justice in that case."
No Sacks: The Browns didn't give up any sacks in the game.
"That might have been a record, too," Crennel said.
The Browns picked up one sack and it was by DL Robaire Smith for a loss of seven yards.
Cribbs Explosion: WR/KR Josh Cribbs exploded for two long kickoff returns. He broke loose for an 85-yard return in the second quarter that set up Jurevicius' second touchdown. On his next kickoff return, he raced 97 yards to the Bengals' four, but it was negated by an illegal block on Chaun Thompson.
Zastudil Plays: P Dave Zastudil punted after missing the first week with a sore back. He only had to punt two times. His first was for 41 and the second one pinned the Bengals inside the 10 on their last possession. However, Zastudil seemed to wince as he was going off the field.
Inactives: For the Browns: P Paul Ernster, DB Gary Baxter, RB Jerome Harrison, LB Willie McGinest, OL Isaac Sowells, OL Kelly Butler, WR Travis Wilson and Ken Dorsey was the third quarterback. For the Bengals: S Chinedum Ndukwe, S Ethan Kilmer, C Eric Ghiaciuc, DE Jonathan Fanene, WR Antonio Chatman, DE Frostee Rucker, LB Rashad Jeanty and the third quarterback is Jeff Rowe.