Win or lose against the 49ers in a home game Sunday, the Browns will leave the locker room Sunday not knowing whether their season has ended or whether it will extend at least another week. They will have to wait more than seven hours for an answer. For the Browns to make the playoffs, the Colts have to knock out the Tennessee Titans in the Sunday night game in Indianapolis. The game does not start until 8:15 p.m. The Browns' season will be over if the Titans win.
"It will be a little strange not knowing what we're going to do Monday," right tackle Kevin Shaffer said. "I think it's good our game is first. We can put all our focus into this game. Then, once the game's over, after we win, then we get to find out.
"You don't want it to be at the same time because we'd all be looking at the scoreboard. Having it separated is a good thing."
Shaffer said he normally doesn't watch the Sunday night game, but he will make an exception with so much on the line. He said he might hook up with some teammates and watch the game together.
Tight End Kellen Winslow Jr. says he always watches the Sunday night game after wrapping his aching knees in ice. This one will have special interest.
One player who has not decided what he will be doing Sunday night is quarterback Derek Anderson. He plans to spend the evening relaxing on the couch with his wife, but if the television is on it might not be tuned to football. He figures he'll find out the result of the Colts-Titans game soon enough.
"I might just sit on the couch with my wife and enjoy the rest of the night," Anderson said. "There's nothing we can do about that situation. We can handle the things we have ahead of us, and that's San Francisco and let the rest of it fall where it may."
Coach Romeo Crennel won't be locked into the Colts-Titans, either. He said he reserves Sunday after a home game for 'entertaining' his wife, Rosemary. He plans to do the same this Sunday.
"Usually, I try to entertain my wife because she needs entertaining," Crennel said. "She tells me all week that I'm gone. It's a chance for her to spend some time with me. We might go out to dinner or something but she gets that time Sunday after the game."
When practice resumed for the 49ers on Wednesday some players had a 'hangover' from losing 19-14 in Cincinnati, wide receiver Braylon Edwards said. That has finally passed. Crennel says morale is high, even though the Browns no longer control their playoff fortunes.
"The biggest thing that we can do is win this game on Sunday," Crennel said. "That would give us some momentum going into the playoffs and you'd be on an upswing."
The Browns still have things to play for against the 49ers. They are 9-6. Winning would give them their highest victory total since winning 11 games in 1994. Winning would make them 7-1 at home. The Browns have never won seven regular season games at home in their history.
--DE Orpheus Roye missed practice with a foot injury for the second day Thursday.
--DE Robaire Smith missed a second straight practice with a neck injury.
--LB Antwan Peek missed practice for the second straight day with an ankle injury.
--QB Derek Anderson was named the Browns Player of the Year by the Cleveland chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America.
--K Phil Dawson was named winner of the Dino Lucarelli 'Good Guy Award' by the Cleveland chapter of the PFWA.