Johnson's catch salvaged an atrocious performance by backup quarterback Kelly Holcomb, who entered the game in the first half following a season-ending leg injury to Tim Couch. The Browns were generally ineffective via the air after Couch's departure, at one point turning over the ball on three consecutive drives. At 10-0 Browns lead at the time of Couch's departure had turned into a 16-10 Falcons advantage by the fourth quarter.
A Falcons fumble gave the Browns the ball on the eleven, and the Browns were got themselves into trouble with a third-and-long situation following a sack of Holcomb. The second-string-quarterback found Johnson when it mattered, however, and the Browns reciever got into the end zone to give the Browns a 17-16 lead with just under seven minutes remaining.
Following a three-and-out by the Falcons, Holcomb handed off to Green on second down. Running off-tackle, Green slipped through the line and broke free for a 64-yard touchdown which placed the Browns up by eight points with five minutes left to play.
Although the Falcons drove down the field behind Vicks ability to buy enough time to find open recievers, the Browns were able to stop the drive on the one-yard-line. With T.J. Duckett standing on the sidelines, Dan Reeves ran Warrick Dunn on three out of four downs, with Earl Holmes wrapping up the Falcons running back at the one to give the ball back to the Browns. The Browns were then able to run out the clock with three quarterback sneaks keeping the ball out of their own end zone.
The Browns had established early momentum in the game prior to Couch's departure. The Browns coaching staff, which had struggled all year to grow the Browns running game, were happy to rely on it in Couch's absence. William Green finished the day with 178 yards and two touchdowns, capping an amazing turnaround for the back since his early season problems.
The Browns defense contained Michael Vick amazingly well. While Foge Fazio's conservative defensive play-calling had upset many of the team's observers, the team's defense displayed impressive maturity today in containing Vick. The Falcons quarterback finished with only 17 completions out of 40 attempts and was not as critical a factor with positive rushing yards as he has been during the season. Vick did manage to buy time with his scrambling abilities, but was never allowed to burn the Browns with significant runs.
The Browns did their part in front of an enthusiastic crowd this afternoon, and now are depending on the New York Jets to defeat the Green Bay Packers in order to gain a wild card spot in the playoffs.