Rough Ride Looks to Continue

While the Browns face numerous uncertainties, their next opponent is starting to come on strong. The Browns need to right the ship quickly, as the Bengals are rolling after a win over Pittsburgh...

The Browns conducted a quarterback derby throughout training camp and now they have another after coach Eric Mangini benched Brady Quinn at halftime of Cleveland's 34-3 loss to the Ravens in Baltimore.

Derek Anderson threw three interceptions in relief. Mangini said he will make a decision soon about who to start against the Bengals on Sunday in Cleveland, but he is unlikely to announce his plan.

Quarterback isn't the only uncertainty Mangini is dealing with.

Running back Jamal Lewis missed the game in Baltimore with a hamstring injury, and a calf injury kept kicker Phil Dawson back home in Cleveland. They might heal in time to face the Bengals, but Lewis is 30 and Dawson is 34 and they do not heal as quickly as they once did.

Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll said the game plan would not change if Lewis cannot play. Running plays would be divided between Jerome Harrison and rookie James Davis.

"We prepare the same way every week, and whoever is ready to go at the end of the week, that's who we're going to go with," Daboll said. "We have the same type of package whether we have (Lewis) or whether we don't.

"The teams we're playing, based on what they do defensively, and the runs that we think are good runs that week, it's not different if it was Jamal or if it was J.C. (Harrison). We're going to put the runs in that we think will be most effective for that particular week. We expect all the guys to be able to do that."

Dawson did not miss a kick in the first two games, making four field goals and two extra points to account for 14 of the Browns' 29 points.

The Browns brought in about a half-dozen kickers for tryouts on Friday and signed Billy Cundiff, who kicked for the Cowboys from 2002-2005 and briefly for the Saints in 2006. He made 60 of 83 field goals and 100 of 101 extra points. Running back Cedric Peerman was waived to make room for Cundiff.

The age factor is more of a concern regarding Lewis than Dawson. Lewis has carried 2,424 times over his career. There were rumors before roster cuts Sept. 5 that the Brows would part with him, but they kept him in part because they had no one ready to replace him. They did not draft a running back until they took Davis with their final pick, 195th overall. Davis stormed through the preseason averaging 7.8 yards a carry, but he has found the regular season different.


BENGALS COMING ON STRONG: With a 23-20 come-from-behind victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, the Cincinnati Bengals have put themselves in a pretty good position to make some noise in the AFC North this season.

The next two weeks will put that into clearer focus.

The Bengals' run of three straight games through the AFC North continues with road games at Cleveland (Sunday) and Baltimore (Oct. 11).

"Obviously there still are a lot of corrections to be made," coach Marvin Lewis said. "It's a great victory, but it won't matter if we don't continue to take care of business the next couple of weeks. We'll enjoy this one for a little bit, and then move on."

The Bengals were able to hang in despite an abysmal first quarter in which the Steelers racked up 152 total yards compared to minus-10 for the Bengals, and held the ball for nearly 11 minutes. Pittsburgh took a 13-0 lead early in the second quarter before Cincinnati started to rally.

For the second time in three games, the Bengals produced a late scoring drive. This one came with 14 seconds remaining when Carson Palmer found Andre Caldwell for a 4-yard score. Palmer was 7 of 13 for 59 yards on the drive.

In the opener against Denver, Palmer drove the Bengals 91 yards for what appeared to be the game-winning score, only to lose on a fluky tipped ball play. The next week against Green Bay, he bounced back from a two-interception start to lead the Bengals over the Packers.

"Their speed and quickness it took us awhile to catch up to but we had talked all week long about perseverance," offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski said. "We have proven we can do that. We did it against Denver. We stunk it up for four quarters and we went down and scored late. We started fast in Green Bay and overcame turnovers and penalties and persevered. We told them at halftime, no matter what happens, to stay with it and we'll make the plays in the end."

In the fourth quarter the Bengals had 139 yards of total offense after having just 134 through the first three quarters.


UNDER THE RADAR: Rookie wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi caught only one pass against the Ravens, but his playing time could increase if Derek Anderson starts against the Bengals.

BY THE NUMBERS: 8 -- Wins by Marvin Lewis in 12 games against the Browns. He has also won four of six meetings at Cleveland Browns Stadium, including two shutouts in the past three years (30-0 in 2006 and 14-0 in 2008). The Bengals' recent dominance has allowed them to take a 36-35 lead in the Battle of Ohio.

BY THE NUMBERS: 400 -- The Browns are allowing an average of more than 400 yards a game this season. The Ravens pounded out 479 yards -- 142 of them on the ground.


BROWNS PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

-- RG Floyd Womack missed the game against the Ravens with an ankle injury. Veteran Hank Fraley replaced him.

-- RB Jerome Harrison rushed 16 times for 52 yards and caught five passes for 33 yards subbing for Jamal Lewis.

-- KR Josh Cribbs was stifled on punt returns again; he returned six kicks with a long return of 32 yards.

-- QB Derek Anderson's passer rating subbing for benched Brady Quinn was 30.9.

-- LB D'Qwell Jackson led the Browns with 11 tackles, but they gave up an average of 5.1 yards a carry.


BENGALS PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

-- LB Rey Maualuga left the game midway through the third quarter after suffering an apparent knee injury, but was able to re-enter the game in the fourth quarter.

-- CB David Jones was inactive for the third straight game but could be ready to face the Browns. Jones began practicing last week after breaking his foot on the second day of training camp.

-- DE Antwan Odom capped off a great week when his wife gave birth to the couple's fifth child, a son named Memphis.

-- OG Evan Mathis got his second straight start at right tackle due to an injury to Nate Livings (knee).

-- DT Tank Johnson suffered a foot injury during the first half, but was able to return during the second half.


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