Browns-Cardinals: Report Card

Scout.com assigns grades for the Browns 27-21 loss to the Cardinals and, as you might expect given the nature of the game, they're not entirely positive. Plus, some mid-week player notes...

The Browns lost to Arizona because they were not mentally with it. Cleveland made enough mistakes for two games.

As a result, the Browns dropped to 7-5 and saw their playoff hopes grow a little tougher.

"We've got nobody to blame but ourselves," coach Romeo Crennel said.

He's right. The Browns had several silly plays that helped them lose. One might even argue that Browns miscues gave Arizona its three touchdowns.

The Cardinals' first score came off a touchdown return of a Derek Anderson interception. The next possession Anderson fumbled the ball to Arizona.

On the ensuing drive, the Browns stopped the Cardinals on third-and-four, but Leigh Bodden was flagged for kicking the ball after the play -- delay of game.

Arizona's third score was set up by Joshua Cribbs failing to catch a punt.

Miscues and silly plays added up to a loss the Browns felt they should have avoided.

"I think we're a better team," tight end Kellen Winslow said. "We just didn't do the little things well."

NOTES, QUOTES

--The Browns thought Kellen Winslow was pushed out of bounds on the game's last play, which meant Winslow would have scored a touchdown on a remarkable catch.

That would have given the Browns the win. But officials ruled Winslow was out of bounds, and replay cannot review a force out. So the call stood.

"I felt it was a force out," Winslow said. "But it could have gone either way."

--QB Derek Anderson gave the Cardinals gifts with an interception and fumble. The interception was returned for a touchdown and the fumble set up a touchdown.

"That gave them 14 points," Anderson said. "It never should have come down to having to throw a Hail Mary that Kellen makes an amazing play on at the end of the game."

--WR Braylon Edwards made an outstanding play by getting right back on his feet when nobody hit him after a catch. That heads-up play gave the Browns a 67-yard touchdown.

--DE Simon Fraser said he had to accept responsibility for a head-butt call on the team's last kickoff return. Fraser did not deny head-butting a Cardinal -- those 15 yards were huge in the last drive.

PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES

--LB Kris Griffin left the game on the opening kickoff with a knee injury. Griffin, a backup, did not return.

--FB Lawrence Vickers is getting some notice as one of the better young lead blockers in the game. "He's my eyes to the hole a lot of times," RB Jamal Lewis said.

--RB Jamal Lewis had 29 carries, his highest total in a game in more than a year and his second-highest total since 2005.

--NT Shaun Smith got a sack, his second of the season. The rare sack by a nose tackle brought quite a celebration from Smith, who waddled around the field with arms outstretched.

--CB Brandon McDonald filled in well with starter Eric Wright sidelined. McDonald broke up four passes and intercepted another in his first significant playing time of the season.

--S Brodney Pool made a silly play on the Cardinals' last drive, hitting a receiver out of bounds and adding 15 yards to a gain. Pool's penalty helped the Cardinals use valuable time.


REPORT CARD VS. CARDINALS

PASSING OFFENSE: C -- Derek Anderson threw for 304 yards and two touchdowns, but also had two costly interceptions -- one that was returned for a touchdown. Anderson almost brought the Browns back on their last drive, but his last pass was ruled incomplete. Had that call gone the Browns' way, Cleveland would have won and Anderson's day would have looked a lot better.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C
-- Jamal Lewis had good runs, but never got going, as his 62 yards on 16 carries attest. The Browns got away from their balanced approach, running 21 times and throwing 41. That sometimes happens when a team falls behind 14-0 early in the game.

PASS DEFENSE: D -- Kurt Warner had a very opportunistic 162 yards, scoring two touchdowns. But Warner's day came when the Cardinals were without their two top receivers -- Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. The Browns couldn't stop Arizona when they had to, even when Warner had few targets. Compounding matters were silly penalties committed by the secondary.

RUSH DEFENSE: D
-- Edgerrin James joined a growing 100-yard club of backs who have topped that mark against the Browns this season. The most important of James' 114 yards, though, came on Arizona's last drive. Needing a stop to have a chance to win, the Browns let the Cardinals run more than four minutes off the clock.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- Joshua Cribbs' muffed punt was a huge play in the game. It gave Arizona a short field, which it turned into a touchdown. For the first time this season, a team refused to kick deep to Cribbs. The Cardinals smartly popped kickoffs short, which minimized the impact of the Browns special teams.

COACHING: C -- A coach does not commit silly penalties or throw interceptions or drop a punt, but when a team does that, it does not reflect well on the coach. Romeo Crennel's Browns started the game as if they were a bit full of themselves. As good as the season has been through 12 games, the Browns are simply not good enough to play without being smart and disciplined.


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