CLEVELAND—This should be an interesting week!
Not too many times do you see a coach get a Gatorade bath in finishing a 5-11 season.
With turmoil surrounding the future of Eric Mangini—he stated his case or the players did so for him-- as the Browns rolled over the Jaguars for their fourth consecutive win, 23-17, to finish one game better than last year's 4-12 team. However, by winning their final four games, the Browns accomplished something that has not happened in the expansion era. In fact, the Browns hadn't won four in a row since 1994.
Starting the season 1-11, the Browns looked like a team totally in disarray, but to their credit, came together to win their remaining games.
The Jaguars (8-8) had a chance to still make the playoffs, but played as if they were ready to get to the off-season.
The Browns built a 13-3 halftime lead and added on in the second half. Once again, Jerome Harrison and Josh Cribbs provided the spark offensively as each scored touchdowns Phil Dawson kicked three field goals. Harrison rushed for 127 yards, including a touchdown.
Once again, Cribbs was an integral part of the scoring. He had a kickoff return and a run to set up two of Dawson's field goals and scored a rushing touchdown.
Dawson hit a 27-yard field goal with 10:57 to play on the first possession to make it 3-0.Cribbs had a 31-yard kickoff return out to the 46 to get the offense started.
Harrison carried the ball the first three downs and then Derek Anderson successfully converted the quarterback sneak for a first down on fourth-and-one to the Jaguars' 44. Anderson hit Robert Royal for 29 yards to the 14. After stalling at the 10, Dawson hit the field goal. The Browns covered 44 yards on nine plays in 4:03.
The Jaguars tied the game at 3 with 2:20 to play in the first quarter on a 46-yard field goal by Josh Scobee. The score was set up by a short punt by Reggie Hodges and the Jaguars started t the Browns' 41. The Jaguars only moved the ball 12 yards on the drive. An offside penalty on Robaire Smith and a couple of runs by Maurice Jones-Drew moved the Jaguars to the 29.
The Browns started on their 40 and decided to go for it for the second time on fourth-and-one from around midfield. The Jaguars jumped offside and the Browns had a first down.
Anderson hit Harrison on a short pass and then he tried to go down field to Mohamed Massaquoi and Derek Cox intercepted him at the 17.
The Browns took a 10-3 lead on 14-yard touchdown run by Cribbs with 3:51 to play in the first half. After a three-and-out, the Browns started at their 43. Harrison had a 11-yard pick up on first down and then ripped off a 13-yard gain to the Jaguars' 33 on the next play. Chris Jennings ran twice for a first down to the 20.
On third-and-4 from the 14, Cribbs ran up the middle from the Wildcat. The Browns went 57 yards on seven plays in 3:22.
The Browns increased their lead prior to halftime with a 21-yard field goal by Dawson to make it 13-3 with 1:44 to play.
Eric Wright intercepted David Garrard and returned it 19 yards to the Jaguars' 34. On the second play, Cribbs ran an end around for 25 yards to the six. On second down, Anderson hit Evan Moore to the one. On third down, Rex Hadnot was flagged for illegal procedure and the ball was back to the six. Harrison carried for three yards and the Browns settled for the field goal. After Wright's interception, the Browns moved 31 yards in six plays for the score.
The Jaguars moved to the Browns' 20, but couldn't stop the clock as time expired in the first half.
The Jaguars took the ball to start the second half and moved to the Browns' 26 before Scobee missed a 43-yard field goal with 9:56 to play in the third quarter. Garrard hit Mike Sims-Walker for 19 yards to the Browns' 40. On fourth-and-one from the 31, Garrard picked up the first down on a quarterback sneak to the 29.On third-and-7 from the 26, Garrard threw incomplete as he was hit by Ray Ventrone.
The Browns took over on their 33 after the missed field goal and drove 67 yards for at touchdown with 4:03 to play in the third quarter as Harrison went in from six-yards out to make it 20-3. Harrison started the drive with a 14-yard run on first down. He then picked up 17 yards to the Jaguars' 29 on third down to pick up the first down. Jennings ran 11 yards after zig-zagging across the field and appeared to get inside the five, but he stepped out of bounds at the 15.
On third-and-five, Cribbs ran for four yards to the six. On fourth-and-one, Harrison went over left tackle untouched from the six. The drive took 10 plays and covered 67 yards, taking 5:53 off the clock.
Trailing 20-3, the Jaguars scored their first touchdown with 10:30 to play in the game as Garrard hit Zach Miller from six yards to make it 20-10. Jones-Drew had a 32-yard run to the Browns' 36. A pass to Mike Thomas for 22 yards moved the ball to the nine. The Jaguars had the ball for nine plays and covered 79 yards in 3:48.
After the Jaguars' score, the Browns responded with a time consuming drive that resulted in a 33-yard field goal by Dawson to make it 23-10 with 2:17 to play. The Browns ran 14 plays, covering 60 yards, but more importantly took 8:13 off the clock. The Browns started the drive with 10:25 to play and didn't give it back until 2:17 was left.
Anderson hit Moore for 14 yards on third down to the 45. Harrison ran for nine to the Jaguars' 46. A quick slant to Massaquoi picked up a first down and then Harrison ran for another to the 20.
After three short gains, the Browns had fourth-and-five from the 15 and they kicked the field goal.
The Jaguars went 95 yards in the final 2:17 and scored on the final play of the season as Garrard hit Miller for a 15-yard touchdown to make the final 23-17.
Jerome's Trifecta: RB Jerome Harrison went over the 100-yard mark for the fourth time this season and third in a row as he finished with 127 yards on 33 carries. Harrison went over the 100-yard mark on a six-yard touchdown run in the third quarter on fourth down. He carried the ball 16 times in the first half for 56 yards, including 10 carries in the first quarter for 24 yards. He also was the leading receiver with two receptions for 20 yards. Harrison is the first Browns player to go over 100 yards in three-straight years since Lee Suggs did so in 2004. Harrison entered the game with 735 yards rushing and finishes with 862 yards and five touchdowns. He caught two passes to tie him with WR Mohamed Massaquoi as the leading receiver with 34 receptions. RB Chris Jennings had nine carries for 38 yards. Harrison's counterpart, RB Maurice Jones-Drew was held to just 82 yards on 16 carries.
All-Purpose Cribbs: WR/KR Josh Cribbs needed 268 all-purpose yards to break the NFL record in that department held by Derrick Mason. Cribbs had six carries for 47 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown run in the first half. He had a 31-yard kickoff return and finished with 105 all-purpose yards.
Sack Attack: The Browns had three sacks to finish the season. Meanwhile, the Jaguars had none. LB Kaluka Maiava and LB Marcus Benard combined for the Browns only sack in the first half. DL Robaire Smith and LB Jason Trusnik combined on a sack early in the third quarter. Maiava had a sack in the fourth quarter. DB Abe Elam led the Browns with six tackles.
Corey Down: DL Corey Williams was listed as the starter at LE in place of the injured Kenyon Coleman, but DL Brian Schaefering was on the field on the first play on defense. Williams was sitting on the bench and the trainers were looking at his leg. He did not play.
Draft Spot: With the win, the Browns cannot draft any higher than fifth, but could drop as low as nine, depending on outcomes of other games and tie breakers.
Wright Thief: CB Eric Wright intercepted QB David Garrard with 3:35 to play in the first half and he returned the interception 19 yards to the Jaguars' 34. It set up a field goal for the Browns.
DA's Day: QB Derek Anderson was 7-of-11 for 86 yards with one interception.
Sub-Zero Day: The wind chill was announced at negative one at kickoff. The temperature was 15 degrees.
Browns Finish Strong: 23-17 over Jaguars
CLEVELAND—This should be an interesting week!