Browns Strike Gold Over 49ers

Fred Greetham recaps the Browns regular season finale: a 20-7 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

CLEVELAND - The mission was easy.

Get their 10th win of the season.


Set a franchise record for home wins with seven.


Get Brady Quinn some experience.


Get into the playoffs.

No check—at least for now.

All in all, the Browns did what they had to do in winning their 10th game of the season , 20-7, over the San Francisco 49ers to finish at 10-6. Meanwhile, the 49ers close out their season 5-11.

For the coaches, players and fans, all eyes will be on the Colts and Titans game Sunday night to see if the Browns are in the playoffs or not. A Titans loss or tie would put the Browns in the playoffs for the first time since 2002. A Titans win will leave the Browns out, looking in by virtue of the tie breaker with AFC conference records.

The game saw the Browns accomplish several team and individual records, including the 7-1 record at home. Braylon Edwards set franchise records for both receiving touchdowns and receiving yardage, as he caught his 16th touchdown of the season.

Phil Dawson set the single-season record for points by a kicker with two extra points and two field goals.

Joshua Cribbs, once again, got the Browns jump started as he returned a punt for the game's first score. The Browns started their first drive in great field position at the 49ers' 33 after Cribbs returned a punt  53 yards. However, after two runs by Jamal Lewis for 12 yards, Derek Anderson threw an interception near the goal line to Walt Harris. Anderson was trying to hit Kellen Winslow on his first attempt.

 After trading several punts,  Cribbs broke loose on a 76-yard punt return to make it 7-0 with 1:37 to play in the first quarter. The punt was after D'Qwell Jackson sacked Chris Weinke on third down.

The Browns extended their lead to 14-0 with 11:44 to play in the second quarter as Anderson hit Edwards for a 45-yard touchdown on a post pattern as Edwards beat former Ohio State cornerback Nate Clements. The Browns went 61 yards in six plays taking just 3:17 off the clock.

 On Edwards' touchdown, he surpassed Webster Slaughter's franchise record from 1989 of 1,236 yards in a season. Edwards finished with 80 catches for 1,289 yards and 16 touchdowns, also a franchise record.

Trailing 14-0, the 49ers got on the board with 3:20 left in the first half as they scored a touchdown on a seven-yard pass from Weinke to Darrell Jackson. A roughing the passer on Kamerion Wimbley took the ball to the 10. The 49ers went 75 yards on 10 plays, taking 4:40 off the clock.

After the 49ers' touchdown, Brady Quinn made his NFL debut after the score in relief of Anderson, who injured his finger. Quinn led the Browns to a field goal and a 17-7 lead with 1:04 to play. Quinn attempted a pass on the first play, but it was tipped incomplete. He completed his first pass to Steve Heiden and then another to Joe Jurevicius to the 49ers' 24. His third-straight completion to Kellen Winslow for 18 yards took the ball to the six. However, after three-straight incomplete passes, the Browns settled for a 23-yard field goal by Dawson. The drive was 11 plays and 57 yards and it took 2:16 off the clock.

The Browns received the second half kickoff and Cribbs promptly returned it 94 yards for a touchdown. However, an illegal block called on Lennie Friedman negated the score. Anderson returned to the lineup and led the Browns to the 49ers' seven, but a field goal attempt by Dawson was blocked by Clements to keep the score at 17-7.

On the first drive of the fourth quarter, the Browns put the game away as Dawson hit his second field goal of the game, this one from 49 yards with 10:19 to play. The Browns went 44 yards in seven plays for the score. The big play on the drive was when Lewis broke loose for a gain of 23 yards.


Brady's Debut: Rookie QB Brady Quinn made his NFL debut with 3:11 to play in the second quarter in relief of Derek Anderson. The first play Quinn tried to throw a screen to FB Lawrence Vickers, but it was tipped. His second pass was dropped by Vickers. Quinn's first completion was for a first down and 15 yards to TE Steve Heiden. After an 18-yard completion to TE Kellen Winslow to the six, Quinn had back-to-back drops in the end zone by WR Braylon Edwards and Winslow.  Phil Dawson hit a 23-yard field goal to end the drive. Quinn finished 3-of-8 for 45 yards and a 56.8 QB rating as Anderson returned for the second half.

Record Day: The Browns set a franchise record for home wins as they reeled off their seventh-straight home win and finished the season 7-1 at home. The Browns had won six games on 11 occasions in their history, but this was the first time they've won seven.

Phil's Day: K Phil Dawson's field goal in the second quarter gave him the most points by a kicker in a season for the Browns. He started the game at 112 points, trailing Matt Stover (113) and Lou Groza (115). He finished with 120 points. He did have a field goal attempt blocked in the third quarter by CB Nate Clements. Dawson hit a 49-yard attempt with 10:19 to play. The 120 points tied him with RB Leroy Kelly, overall, for points scored in a season. Only Jim Brown had more in a season.

Another Slow Start for DA: QB Derek Anderson started the day needing 242 yards to move into second place for the most yards in a season to QB Brian Sipe's 4,132. Anderson threw an interception on his first pass attempt and was just 1-of-3 for 6 yards and one interception in the first quarter. He finished the first quarter with a 2.8 QB rating. He also needed two touchdown passes to catch Sipe's single-season record for touchdowns in a season. He threw his 29th of the season to WR Braylon Edwards in the second quarter. Anderson went to the locker room after injuring his finger in the second quarter, but returned in the second half. Anderson was 4-of-7 for 58 yards with a touchdown and an interception at the half with a QB rating of 84.2. He finished the game 11-of-20 for 152 yards with a touchdown and interception with a sack.  His QB rating for the game was 75.4. Anderson finished the season 298–of-307 for 3,787 yards with 29 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. He was sacked 14 times. Anderson tied Frank Ryan (1966) with 29 touchdowns in a season, second only to Sipe's 30 in 1981. The 3,787 yards passing is the fifth-best in Browns' history (Brian Sipe 3793; Bernie Kosar, 3854; Sipe. 3876. He was 89 yards short of moving into second place.

Jamal Finishes Strong: RB Jamal Lewis rushed 26 times for 128 yards. He went over 9,000 for his career in the first half, becoming the 26th RB in NFL history to hit the 9,000 mark. Lewis finished the season with 1,304 yards and nine touchdowns.  It was his fifth 100-yard rushing day this season and 35th of his career. Lewis is the only back in Browns history beside Jim Brown to go over 1,300 yards. Brown did it six times.

Braylon's Dream Season: WR Braylon Edwards finished his breakout season with three receptions for 67 yards, including his 16th touchdown of the season. Edwards finished the season with 80 receptions for 1,289 yards. Both are team records.

K2: TE Kellen Winslow finished with four receptions for 62 yards to give him 82 receptions and 1,106 yards on the season, including five touchdowns.

Hit Men:  The Browns had five sacks on the day, all by linebackers. LB D'Qwell Jackson had his first career sack on QB Chris Weinke in the first quarter forcing a punt. The punt was returned 76 yards by PR Joshua Cribbs for a touchdown. Jackson had eight tackles in the first half and finished with nine tackles, including the sack. LB Willie McGinest had two sacks to give him three on the season.  LB Leon Williams added two sacks in the fourth quarter and finished with four. The Browns finished the season with 28 sacks with LB Kamerion Wimbley leading with five.

Cribbs' Day: Pro Bowl KR/PR Joshua Cribbs had a 53 yard punt return and then a 76-yard return for a touchdown. 166 eric Metcalf.  He had 129 yards in the first quarter for the second-best single game return record. Eric Metcalf had 166 yards in punt returns against the Steelers for the record. Cribbs also had a 94-yard kickoff return for a score called back to start the second half.

Cribbs entered the game and Anderson went in motion with Cribbs taking the direct snap. Cribbs ran up the middle for a double-digit gain, but the play was negated with an illegal motion penalty.  

New Look: On the 49ers' first third-down attempt, the Browns had just one DL in the game, Robaire Smith. The pass was incomplete as DB Brandon McDonald broke it up.  LB Willie McGinest and LB Leon Williams were lined up at the ends.

Inactives: DB Ricardo Colclough, LB Marvin Philip, LB Antwan Peek, DL Melila Purcell, OL Isaac Sowells, WR Travis Wilson and DL Orpheus Roye were inactive. Ken Dorsey was the third quarterback. Newly signed FA Bobby Hamilton stepped right in and started at LE for Roye. For the 49ers: QB Trent Dilfer, QB Shaun Hill, CB Marcus Hudson, CB Shawntae Spencer, LB Derek Smith, OT Damane Duckett, DL Atiyyah Ellison and WR Jason Hill. Chris Weinke started at QB for Hill.

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