Browns-Patriots: Report Card

Some updates for a Tuesday morning, plus Scout.com's grades of the team's performance...

Derek Anderson did pretty much what was expected of him in the Browns' loss to New England, but that didn't mean he escaped criticism.

Anderson threw three first-half interceptions and two second-half touchdowns, but it wasn't enough as the Browns lost 34-17.

How to rate his game? Probably that it fit what everyone thought he would do. New England was heavily favored to beat the Browns, and Anderson was expected to struggle.

Both happened.

As a result, fans were again crying for Brady Quinn. That's not going to happen. The Browns point out that Anderson has 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions in four games, and that two of his interceptions against New England were tipped.

"If he completes those balls, then we're not talking as much about his inconsistencies," coach Romeo Crennel said. "(Only on) one of them he could have made a better choice."

NOTES, QUOTES

--RB Jamal Lewis sprained his foot on his only carry of the game in the loss to New England. X-rays on the ankle were negative, but the Browns will send Lewis for an MRI as well.

Lewis' loss gave Jason Wright the carries, and he responded by gaining 59 yards on 15 carries. Not great numbers, but not bad.

If Lewis is lost for any period of time, the Browns will notice. He was expected to be the main back this season, and Wright's value comes as a backup. He does not seem to be a starting back in the NFL.

--The Browns will continue starting Kevin Shaffer at right tackle. There was speculation that Ryan Tucker would regain the job once he returned from his four-game suspension, but coach Romeo Crennel said the job is Shaffer's.

"He just has to keep his job," Crennel said of Shaffer.

Not putting Tucker in the lineup is a bit of a surprise. He is the best right tackle on the team, and the Browns have always felt that he is a good performer at the position.

But Tucker missed a month of practice, and the offensive line has played well in his absence, so Crennel will keep the status quo.

PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES

--RB Jason Wright will take over if Jamal Lewis' foot injury keeps him out for any length of time. Wright is a shiftier back than Lewis, but he is not outstanding at one thing. He plays well but seems more like a backup than a starter.

--WR Braylon Edwards had another 100-yard receiving game. Edwards has three this season, and a 97-yarder against Baltimore. He has played extremely well.

--TE Kellen Winslow was the focus of Bill Belichick's defense in New England. He was a non-factor in the first half. Clearly Belichick decided that Winslow was not going to beat him.

--KR Joshua Cribbs became the Browns' all-time leader in kickoff return yardage. Cribbs accomplished the feat in his third season in the league.

--NT Ted Washington's days may be numbered. Washington was not active for the Patriots game, and his play has dropped off noticeably this season. Were it not for Romeo Crennel's loyalty to Washington, he might not be on the team.

--WR Tim Carter replaced WR Joe Jurevicius in the lineup and caught a touchdown pass. Carter has been the definition of inconsistent this season with the Browns.


REPORT CARD VS. PATRIOTS

PASSING OFFENSE: D -- Derek Anderson's first-half interceptions killed the Browns. One killed a scoring chance, and the others led to New England points. Anderson came back to throw for 287 yards and two touchdowns, but he needed to be better when the game was more in question.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- Jamal Lewis' injury put a serious dent in the team's plans to run the ball. The Browns used Jason Wright, but because of his inexperience and the fact that the Browns fell behind, he only ran 15 times. How the running game proceeds if Lewis is out for any length of time will be interesting to watch.

PASS DEFENSE: C -- The Browns didn't let Randy Moss beat them, so Ben Watson did. Moss was the focus of the Browns defense, and he finished with three catches for a harmless 46 yards. Watson picked up the slack, catching six passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns. The Browns did well limiting Moss, but they did not do well against Watson.

RUSH DEFENSE: D -- For the fifth game in a row, the Browns allowed a back to run for 100 yards. This time it was Sammy Morris, who ran for 102 yards on 21 carries. The team's run defense has been a weakness all season and could be a problem with Ronnie Brown coming to Cleveland this weekend.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- The highlight was Joshua Cribbs setting the team mark for kickoff return yards, but the special teams were pretty nondescript. Phil Dawson made his field goal, and Scott Player averaged 46 yards on his punts. The day after the game, Player was released; apparently Dave Zastudil is healthy enough to kick.

COACHING: B -- Expectations play a role here. Nobody expected the Browns to compete with the Patriots, and they didn't, falling behind 20-0 at halftime. But the Browns did not give up. They came back to 20-10 and 27-17 in the second half. That the Browns did not quit and were not blown out is a testament to their character, which is a testament to their coaches. The Browns obviously believe in their coaching staff.


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