Embarrassment: 27-6

A close first half once again degrades into a second-half mess as the Broncos run amok over a Cleveland team utterly lacking in offensive punch. Fred Greetham chronicles the debacle.

DENVER-- The tone was set early.

On the game's very first play Blake Costanzo hit Peyton Hillis as he was returning the opening kickoff. The ball popped loose and Costanzo alertly fell on it at the Broncos' 22.

The Browns couldn't get into the end zone, once again, and after settling for a field goal everything went south from there.

That was the Browns only lead of the game at 3-0.

From there, the Browns were outscored, 27-3, as they gave up 449 in overall yardage.

Coupled with the Browns inability to get the ball into the end zone, it resulted in a 27-6 loss to the Broncos to drop their record to 0-2.

A pair of Phil Dawson field goals is all the Browns had to show for their effort after missing a golden opportunity to start the game.

The score could've been more lopsided had Matt Prater not missed two field goals inside the 40.

The Browns drew first blood as Dawson hit a 22-yard field goal with 12:22 of the first quarter to make it 3-0. Hillis fumbled the opening kickoff as he was hit by Constanzo and Constanzo recovered the ball at the Broncos' 22. On third-and-8, Quinn hit Braylon Edwards over the middle for 14 yards and a first down to the seven.

After the first down, Jamal Lewis had two runs to the three and on third down Quinn threw incomplete intended for Mike Furrey.

The Broncos took advantage of a Browns turnover and took a 7-3 lead with 8:03 as Kyle Orton hit Tony Scheffler from the two in front of Kamerion WImbley. After the Browns scored first on a Broncos' turnover, the Browns returned the favor by turning the ball over on the Browns' second possession. Alex Mack snapped the ball low and Quinn wasn't able to handle it and the Broncos' D Reid recovered on the Browns' nine. Three plays later, the Broncos took the lead.

After the Broncos' touchdown, the Browns moved into Broncos' territory and made it 7-6 when Dawson converted on a 47-yard field goal with 1:49 to play in the first quarter. Quinn hit Furrey for a first down on third down to keep a drive going and then hit Edwards for a 20-yard gain. After falling short on third down on a pass to Josh Cribbs, Dawson converted his second field goal. The Browns covered 51 yards on 11 plays spanning 6:14 on the drive.

The Broncos came back after the Browns field goal with a 13 play drive of their own that stalled inside the Browns' five with 11:42 as Prater hit a 23-yard field goal to make 10-6.  The big play was a 37-yard reception by Stokley, which took the ball to the Browns' 28. On third down in the red zone, Orton again hooked up with Stokley for the first down inside the 10.

Near the end of the first half, Dave Zastudil pinned the Broncos back at their own six, but the Browns were unable to force a three-and-out and the Broncos were able use up the clock to end the first half by converting three third down conversions. A pass interference on Stokley by Hank Poteat gave the Broncos a first down on the Browns' 31. Another pass to Stokley set up the missed field goal attempt.

The Broncos extended their lead to 13-6 as Prater hit a 38-yard field goal with 10:39 to play in the third quarter after the Browns committed their second turnover. On the opening drive of the second half, Cribbs caught a pass and fumbled the ball which was recovered by Brian Dawkins in Browns' territory. The Broncos picked up a first down before settling for the field goal.

After a punt from the Browns, the Broncos tried to extend their lead as they drove to the Browns 20. However, Prater's 37-yard field goal attempt was wide left for the second time with 2:49 to play.

After the missed field goal, Quinn started the drive with back-to-back completions to Edwards to the Broncos' 45. However, three straight incomplete passes gave the ball back to the Broncos.

After the punt, Denver marched for another touchdown to make it 20-6 with 12:18 to play as Hillis went in from two yards out. The play was set up by a 49-yard pass reception to Jabar Gaffney to the two.

Quinn was sacked twice inside the five on the Browns' next possession and after a punt the Broncos put the game out of reach as Corell Buckhalter broke loose with a 45-yard touchdown run with 8:24 to play. He carried Eric Wright the final five yards into the end zone.

Notebook

Big Play Day, NOT!: The defense gave up six plays of over 25 yards. Meanwhile, the Browns only were able to get one play for 24 yards.

Turnovers Costly: The Browns turned the ball over twice and it resulted in 10 of the Broncos' first 13 points. Meanwhile, the Browns converted a fumble on the opening kickoff into just a field goal. WR Brandon Marshall held on a 41-yard screen play to RB Correll Buckhalter for the Broncos in the fourth quarter.

Long Drought: The Browns haven't scored a touchdown on their opening drive since Nov. 11, 2007. They had a golden opportunity after LB Blake Constanzo recovered a fumble by KR Peyton Hillis on the opening kickoff at the Broncos' 22. The Browns were able to get to the three, but were unable to get the touchdown. The streak spans 24 games. The Browns have scored just one touchdown in the last 34 quarters of regular season play.

Long Day: RT John St. Clair was beaten four times for sacks by DL Elvis Dumervil, all in the second half.

Chemistry 101: A lot of talk was about the chemistry between Quinn and WR Braylon Edwards. The duo hooked up for a 14-and 20-yard gains in the first quarter. Edwards had three receptions for 39 yards in the first half and finished with six receptions for 92 yards. A 24-yard reception in the third quarter was the longest of the game for the Browns. Cribbs had five catches for 22 yards.

Flag Day: The Browns had only two penalties in the first half, both on DB Hank Poteat. DL Shaun Rogers had a face mask penalty in the third quarter to jump start a drive for the Broncos.

Run Jamal: RB Jamal Lewis had 12 carries for 31 yards with a long of 12 yards in the first half and finished with 14 carries for 38 yards.

Near Miss: LB Eric Barton ran right by QB Kyle Orton in the second quarter as he came in untouched. The play should've resulted in a sack, but the Broncos were able to keep the drive going. The Browns had no sacks.

Big Mac: After giving up two late touchdowns in the loss to the Broncos in 2008, CB Brandon McDonald was looking for some redemption. On the Broncos' first possession, McDonald dropped WR Brandon Stokely for a three-yard loss. McDonald was beaten for a 49 yard gain by WR Jabar Gaffney, which set up the Broncos' fourth quarter touchdown.

Harrison In; Davis Out: RB Jerome Harrison was active for the first time since injuring his knee in the first preseason game. Davis injured his shoulder last week against the Vikings and was inactive against the Broncos. Harrison had three attempts for eight yards and caught four passes for 24 yards.

Brady in Mile High: QB Brady Quinn was 18-of-31 for 161 yards and a QB rating of 58.7 after throwing an interception on the game's final play.

Third down Woes: The Browns were just 3-of-14 on third down.

Same Old Story: The Browns again were bowled over in the rushing game as they have up 186 yards on the ground and 449 yards, overall. LB Eric Barton had nine tackles to lead the Browns, while S Abe Elam, DB Brandon McDonald and DL Kenyon Coleman had six each, while former Browns LB Andra Davis had 10 tackles for the Broncos.

Third Down Mike: WR Mike Furrey caught his first pass for a first down on third down. Quinn tried to hit Furrey on third down and goal on the team's first possession in the end zone, but it was incomplete.


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