CLEVELAND - Most people would guess that if Peyton Manning’s stats were as follows--125 yards passing, zero touchdowns and two interceptions—there’s a good chance the Browns would win.
Despite holding the high-powered Colts offense to no touchdowns, the Browns dropped to 4-8 by dropping a 10-6 decision to the Colts, who improved to 8-4.
Trailing 10-6, with 1:50 to play, the Browns started at their own 30. Two short passes to Jason Wright moved the Browns to the 45. Then on first down, Derek Anderson was sacked for a 10-yard loss by Robert Mathis, who ran right over Kevin Shaffer and he fell on Anderson’s leg.
Anderson was taken to the locker room with assistance and Ken Dorsey replaced Anderson with 1:07 to play. He threw incomplete to Braylon Edwards on second-and-20 and to Syndric Steptoe on third-and-20. On fourth down, Dorsey was intercepted by Antoine Bethea as he tried to hit Edwards.
The Browns failed to score a touchdown in the last two games, going back to the first play of the fourth quarter in the win over the Bills.
The Browns wasted a defensive effort that held the Colts without a touchdown and to just one field goal.
They had a big goal line stand in the last minute of the first half and lead, 6-3 at halftime. Brodney Pool stopped Manning short of the touchdown on fourth down, while Shaun Rogers made the big stop on Joseph Addai on third down.
The Browns got on the board first as Phil Dawson kicked a 34-yard field goal with 9:04 to play in the first quarter after a turnover by the Colts on the first play of scrimmage. Addai fumbled after a hit by Shaun Smith and Eric Wright scooped it up and returned it to the Colts’ 47. The Browns picked up a two first downs, primarily moving the ball on the ground on runs by Jamal Lewis to the 17 before kicking the field goal. Derek Anderson threw just one pass on the drive for three-yards to Jason Wright on third-and-8. Lewis had six carries for 19 yards on the drive.
After the Browns field goal, the Colts moved quickly down the field and tied the score at 3-3 as Adam Vinatieri hit a 30-yard field goal with 1:58 to play in the first quarter. The Colts moved 65 yards in 7:06 to the Browns’ seven before a false start moved them back to the 12. On third down, Manning appeared to have Reggie Wayne in the end zone, but he couldn’t hang on to the ball as Brandon McDonald was able to strip the ball loose. Manning was 5-of-6 for 44 yards on the drive.
The Browns regained the lead at 6-3 with 7:35 to play in the first half as Dawson kicked a 25-yard field goal. The Browns had the ball for 16 plays and covered 66 yards in 9:23.
After the Colts tied the game, Lewis had a run of 15 yards to get the offense going. Anderson hit Winslow on third down to the Colts’ 35 to keep the drive alive. On the next third down, Anderson again hit Winslow for a first down to the 25.
Anderson then hit Braylon Edwards in front of Kelvin Hayden for 16 yards to the nine after the first down. After that, the Browns picked up just a yard on three plays before Dawson kicked his second field goal.
The Colts responded quickly as Manning hit Wayne for 14 yards and Dallas Clark for 17 yards to the Browns’ 20. A pass to Marvin Harrison gave the Colts a first down at the seven. After getting to the one on a run by Addai, the Browns stopped Addai on third down short of the goal line. On fourth down, the Colts shunned the field goal as Manning tried to sneak in, but he was stopped short. He fumbled and it was recovered by Clark in the end zone, but NFL rules prohibit another player recovering a fumble for a touchdown.
The Browns received the opening kickoff of the second half, but Dave Zastudil had to punt for the first time in the game after three plays. However, Brandon McDonald intercepted Manning on a pass intended for Wayne and returned it to the Colts’ 49.
However, after moving to the Colts’ 17, Dawson was wide right on a 34-yard field goal attempt to keep the score, 6-3 with 9:55 to play in the third quarter.
A 20-yard pass from Anderson to Edwards took the ball to 25. After two runs by Lewis, the Browns were faced with third-and-2 at the 17.
Josh Cribbs came in and from the quarterback position tried to run for the first down, but was stopped short, forcing the field goal attempt.
The Colts tried to tie the game with 4:07 to play in the third quarter as Vinatieri attempted a 46-yard field goal, but it was wide to the left and the Browns kept their lead at 6-3.
After the missed field goal, the Browns took over at their own 37 and got a first down on third down as Anderson hit Syndric Steptoe to the 48. However, after moving to the Colts’ 46, the Browns were forced to punt.
Zastudil was able to pin the Colts back at their four, but the Colts were able to move the ball to the 25 before they were forced to punt.
The Colts took the lead for the first time in the game on the Browns’ possession as Dwight Freeney broke through and sacked Anderson for the first time and Robert Mathis picked it up and ran 37 yards for the score to make it 10-6 with 9:44 left in the game.
The Browns took the kickoff and Cribbs had a good return but an illegal block penalty on Alex Hall put the Browns at the 10 to start the drive. The Browns picked up two first downs on third down conversions to Martin Rucker and Steve Heiden to move to the 36.
Facing third-and-seven from the 40, Anderson threw incomplete and the Browns were forced to punt with 5:42 to play.
The defense held the Colts and forced a punt at the two-minute warning, but were unable to move the ball for a score.
Keep Away From Peyton: There was no question the Browns game plan on offense was to try to keep the ball out of QB Peyton Manning’s hands. The Browns ran the ball on eight of their first nine plays. On their second scoring drive, they had the ball for 16 plays and 9:23. Both were the longest of the season. Other than the opening series when the Colts fumbled on the first play, they only had two possessions with the exception of the final play of the first half. Manning was 10-of-12 for 88 yards with one interception.He finished 15-of-21 for 125 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns and a 46.8 QB rating. RB Joseph Addai had just 57 yards on 15 carries and a fumble, while WR Reggie Wayne was the leading receiver with just four catches for 46 yards.
Costly Sack: The Browns protected Anderson pretty well, but DE Dwight Freeney beat OL Kevin Shaffer in the fourth quarter and Anderson fumbled, which was picked up by DL Robert Mathis and he returned it for the Colts touchdown to give them a 10-6 lead. On the Browns’ final drive, Anderson was sacked by Mathis and he was injured and left the game.
Rucker Sighting: Rookie TE Martin Rucker caught a pass for nine yards and a first down on third down in the fourth quarter.
Ball Hawks: S Sean Jones and CB Brandon McDonald intercepted Manning on consecutive passes. Jones’ was to end the first half and McDonald’s was on the first play of the third quarter. McDonald took the ball and handed it to a young fan in the end zone opposite of the Dawg Pound.
Local Boy: WR Anthony Gonzalez, who starred at St. Ignatius and Ohio State returned for the first time to play the Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium. He had two catches for 13 yards.
DA: QB Derek Anderson returned to the lineup after the injury to QB Brady Quinn. He started 3-of-3 for 11yards, with the longest being a five-yard pass to TE Kellen Winslow. Anderson was 7-of-8 for 40 yards at halftime and finished 16-of-26 for 110 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. His QB rating was 71.0. He was forced to leave the game with a knee injury on the Browns’ final drive and was taken to the locker room. He was replaced by QB Ken Dorsey, who was 0-of-3 with an interception.
Too Many: Manning caught the Browns with a quick count as they had three players trying to get off the field. The flag was for 12 on the field, but they could have said 14 or 15 on the field.
No Rush: The Browns couldn’t get any pressure on Manning throughout the game and ended with no sacks.
Jamal Time: RB Jamal Lewis had 12 carries for 42 yards in the first half, including a long of 15 yards. He finished with 24 carries for 77 yards. Usually, when Lewis carries more than 20 times the Browns win.
K2: TE Kellen Winslow was the leading receiver at the half with three catches for 15 yards, all on third down. He injured his ankle in the third quarter and was taken to the locker room.
Braylon’s Day: WR Braylon Edwards had two receptions for 36 yards and RB Jason Wright had three receptions for 36 yards.
Williams Hurt: DL Corey Williams suffered an arm laceration in the second quarter but was able to return to start the second half. FB Charles Ali injured his rib in the fourth quarter and did not return.
McDonald, Jackson Lead D: CB Brandon McDonald and LB D’Qwell Jackson were the Browns leading tacklers at the half with four each and Jackson finished with seven to lead the team.
Turnover Plus: The Browns forced three turnovers, to giving up just two but still lost.
Inactives: QB Brady Quinn was officially placed on injured reserve and he will miss the rest of the season. The Browns signed TE Jed Collins to the active roster. Collins is inactive, along with DB Travis Daniels, DB Hamza Abdullah, LB Kris Griffin, LB Titus Brown, DL Ahtyba Rubin, OL Scott Young and TE Darnell Dinkins. Collins is a 6-1, 255 rookie from Washington State. He will wear No. 44.
For the Colts, DB Bob Sanders, DB Brandon Foster, LB Buster Davis, OL Jeff Saturday, TE Jamie Petrowski, WR Roy Hall, DT Daniel Muir and DE Curtis Johnson. Melvin Bullitt started at SS for Sanders, while Jamey Richard started at center for Saturday.