Browns Lose on Final Play, 38-37

Fred Greetham recaps a wild, and ultimately disappointing, game between cellar dwellers Detroit and Cleveland. While the offense suddenly came to life, the struggling Browns found yet another way to lose.

At least it was entertaining.

The Browns dropped to 1-9 on the game's final play as Matthew Stafford returned and threw a one-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Pettigrew with no time on the clock to tie the score at 37-37. Jason Hanson booted the PAT through and the Lions prevailed with a 38-37 win to improve to 2-8.

Stafford's touchdown was his fifth of the game and he returned for the final play after injuring his shoulder on the previous play. Daunte Culpepper was on the field to take the game's final snap, when the Browns called time out thus allowing Stafford time to return.

The play was set up on a pass interference call on Hank Poteat in the end zone on Calvin Johnson with no time on the clock as Stafford tried a Hail Mary after scrambling from the Browns' 32. Brodney Pool intercepted the pass, but the penalty gave the Lions one more play at the one and they converted.

Both teams came into the game at 1-8 and each team's struggling offenses were able to come alive. The two teams combined for 51 first half points and 75 in the game.

The Browns had 439 yards in offense, which was more than they had totaled in the previous five games when they put up 427 yards combined.

Brady Quinn threw for 308 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions for a career best, but it wasn't enough as he was bested by Stafford, who threw for 422 yards and five touchdowns.

The Browns scored on their first four possessions, including three touchdowns and built a 24-3 lead. However, the Lions rallied and took a 31-27 lead in the fourth quarter, including scoring 21 unanswered points in the first half.

A safety and Quinn's fourth touchdown pass of the game gave the Browns a 37-31 lead.

However, the defense allowed the Lions to move 88 yards in the final 1:46 with no timeouts for the game winning score. 

The game started with the Browns doing something they haven't done in a long time and that is score on their first possession. They didn't get a touchdown on the opening drive, but did get a 44-yard field goal from Phil Dawson. The score was set up by a 24-yard pass from Quinn to Mohamed Massaquoi that moved the ball into Lions' territory. Another pass to Massaquoi that was short of the first down on third down took the ball to the 27 to set up the field goal with 11:28 left in the first quarter. The Browns went 49 yards in nine plays.

The Lions took the kickoff after the field goal and promptly tied the game with 9:13 left as Hanson hit a 32-yard field goal. On the first play,Stafford threw a dump off pass to Kevin Smith, who went untouched for 64 yards to the Browns' 17. The Browns stiffened from there and forced the field goal.

The Browns took a 10-3 lead with 8:56 left in the first quarter.  After getting the kickoff at their 41, Quinn dropped back and found Massaquoi for a 59-yard strike as Massaquoi ran right by Philip Buchanan and Quinn hit him inside the Lions' 10, and Massaquoi strolled into the end zone. It was the Browns' longest offensive play of the season and first touchdown by a Browns wide receiver.

After a quick stop, Quinn went up top on third-and-6 as he hit Chansi Stuckey in stride for a 41-yard touchdown as Stuckey beat William James with 4:03 left to take a 17-3.

On the first play after the kickoff, Stafford tried to throw downfield to Calvin Johnson and Eric Wright picked it off and returned it 40 yards to the Lions' six. After a short run by Jamal Lewis, Quinn found Josh Cribbs in the end zone with 2:52 left in the first quarter to make it 24-3. It was Quinn's third touchdown pass in the quarter.

The Lions ended the first quarter fireworks as Stafford hit Aaron Brown on a short pass and he went 26 yards for a touchdown to make it 24-10 with 30 seconds left as the two teams combined for 34 first quarter points.

The Lions cut the Browns' lead to 24-17 as Stafford hit Smith for a 25-yard touchdown with 11:44 to play in the first half. Smith came out of the backfield and beat rookie Kaluka Maiava.

The Lions made it 21 unanswered points as Stafford hit Johnson for 75 yards with 5:01 left in the half to make it 24-24. Johnson was wide open as he beat Brodney Pool. The Browns had pinned the Lions to the six, but they went 94 yards in just four plays for the score.

Near the end of the first half, the Browns moved into position to score and elected to go for a first down on fourth down from the Lions' 29 instead of kicking the field goal. Quinn hit Stuckey for the first down and moved to the 22. 

Then, Quinn threw a perfect pass to Chris Jennings in the end zone, who dropped it. On fourth down, the Browns lined up for the field goal and Dawson took the snap and he passed to Mike Furrey for the first down with six seconds to play.

However, rather than try for the end zone, Dawson kicked a 29-yard field goal to make it 27-24 with two seconds left.

The Lions took the lead for the first time with 2:47 left in the third quarter at 31-27 as Stafford hit Will Heller from one-yard out. The Lions resumed their offensive assault late in the third quarter, mostly through the air as Stafford hit Calvin Johnson on a crossing pattern that gave the Lions a first down at the one. The Lions went 84 yards in 5:03 for the score.

The Browns couldn't move the ball after the Lions' score and punted to the Lions' four. A couple of penalties put the Lions back to the two. Stafford was called for intentional grounding in the end zone as Jason Trusnik was being held as he was dragging Stafford down. The safety made it 31-29 with 41 seconds to play in the third quarter.

After the teams traded punts, the Browns took the ball and regained the lead as Quinn hit Michael Gaines at the one and he was able to get into the end zone with 5:44 to play. The Browns went for two and a direct snap to Jamal Lewis made it 37-31.

A big play was a short pass to Cribbs, who broke multiple tackles and rambled 35 yards to the Lions' four.  Lewis moved the ball to the two on first down and an incomplete pass to Furrey set up third down. The Browns converted on three third-and-one plays on the drive.

The Lions started at their own 40 after Dawson kicked the ball out of bounds. Two quick completions moved the ball near midfield and Stafford converted a sneak on fourth-and-one with four minutes to play.

With 3:40 to play, Stafford tried to hit Calvin Johnson in the end zone on a deep ball, but Brodney Pool went high and made a great interception.

The Browns tried to preserve the win after starting at their own 20. They were able to convert a first down on third down as Quinn hit Stuckey on third-and-6. Prior to the two-minute warning, the Browns were faced with third-and-5 at their 42 and Quinn threw incomplete to Massaquoi.

Reggie Hodges punted a 47-yard kick to Dennis Northcutt, who was tackled at the 12 with 1:46. Stafford hit Calvin Johnson on first down to the 30 and another to the 46. With 43 seconds to play and no timeouts, Stafford spiked the ball. After a completion for a first down, Stafford killed the clock again with 27 seconds left.

Stafford threw incomplete over the middle with 22 seconds and then a pass over the middle took the ball to the 32 with eight seconds to go. On the final play, Stafford threw into the end zone and it was intercepted by Pool, but pass interference was called on Hank Poteat and the Lions received a first down on the Browns' one with no time on the clock.

Daunte Culpepper came in to run the last play, but the Browns called a timeout and after the timeout Stafford had come back in and he threw the game-winner to Pettigrew.

Big O: The Browns amassed 427 yards total in the last five games and had 439 against the Lions. They had 308 passing and 131 yards rushing. The 37 points is the most the Browns have scored in the past two seasons. The Browns were 10-of-19 on third down and two for two on fourth down.

Brady's Day: QB Brady Quinn threw for three touchdowns and 151 yards in the first quarter and was 8-of-9 to start, as well. For the first half, Quinn was 12-of-17 for 199 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He finished 21–of-33 for 304 yards, with four touchdowns. On the other side, rookie QB Matthew Stafford threw for five touchdowns and 422 yards. Quinn's arm had been questioned, but he threw multiple deep passes, including the touchdowns to Massaquoi and Stuckey.

Questionable Call: Besides the pass interference called on DB Hank Poteat on WR Calvin Johnson with no time on the clock, the Browns might have hurt themselves by calling a timeout as backup QB Daunte Culpepper had to replace QB Matthew Stafford, who was injured on the previous play. However, the Browns called a timeout and Stafford was able to regain his composure and come back on the field for the final play. Culpepper had not had time to warm up and would've had to run a play without having thrown a ball.

Big Mo: WR Mohamed Massaquoi had 3 receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter and had four receptions for 105 yards in the half. He finished with five catches for 115 yards and a score.

Jennings Action: RB Chris Jennings took advantage of his increased role as he rushed 10 times for 36 yards and caught three passes for 24 yards. RB Jamal Lewis had 24 carries for 75 yards.

Phil for QB: K Phil Dawson threw a spiral left-handed pass to WR Mike Furrey for 10 yards and a first down on a fake field goal near the end of the first half. It was successful, but the Browns kicked a field goal on the next play anyway.

Where's the D: After playing the Ravens tough on Monday Night defensively, the defense gave up 38 points and 422 passing yards. QB Matthew Stafford had five touchdowns and two interceptions. DB Abe Elam led the Browns with seven tackles and LB David Bowens had six with the Browns' only sack.

Stuckey Sighting: After coming over in the Braylon Edwards trade, it was expected that WR Chansi Stuckey would play a more prominent role in the offense. He had missed some time with injuries, but caught a 41-yard touchdown pass from Quinn in the first quarter. He had five receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown.

Wright Stuff: CB Eric Wright's interception and 40-yard return set up the Browns' third touchdown as he returned the ball to inside the Lions' 10.

Big Shaun: DL Shaun Rogers jumped offside on third-and-one after the Browns stopped the Lions and then did so on the next play. After his second offside, Stafford hit WR Calvin Johnson for a 75-yard touchdown.

Cribbs Back: After getting injured and carried off on a cart against the Ravens, WR Josh Cribbs returned kicks and punts and caught two passes for 39 yards, including a 35-yard catch that set up the Browns go ahead touchdown.

Harrison, Robiskie Inactive: RB Jerome Harrison was unhappy about his playing time and he'll be more unhappy as he was inactive for the game, along with WR Brian Robiskie, who had been starting.

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