Season in review

November 13, 1995|By Kevin Eck

Sept 3: Patriots 17, Browns 14

Summary: Rookie running back Curtis Martin rushed for 102 yards on 19 carries to lead the host Patriots to a comeback victory. Martin scored the winning touchdown on a 1-yard run with 19 seconds remaining in the game, as the Patriots rallied from a 14-6 halftime deficit. New England quarterback Drew Bledsoe led the winning, 85-yard drive by completing five of eight passes for 72 yards.

What went right: Quarterback Vinny Testaverde (20-for-29, 254 yards passing) connected with Michael Jackson for touchdown passes of 70 and 30 yards.

What went wrong: By mere inches, Bledsoe kept the winning drive alive with a 1-yard sneak on fourth-and-one that put the ball at the Browns' 2-yard line with 1:14 to go. . . . Free agent Andre Rison, whose five-year, $17 million contract made him the league's highest-paid receiver, was held to two catches for 14 yards in his Browns' debut.

Record: 0-1.

Sept 10: Browns 22, Buccaneers 6

Summary: After failing to bring a winner to Tampa Bay in his six seasons there, Testaverde showed that it probably wasn't all his fault by leading the host Browns past the Buccaneers. Testaverde completed 17 of 27 for 256 yards and two touchdowns. In a halftime ceremony, the Browns celebrated the 10th anniversary of the "Dawg Pound," the name given to the bleachers at Cleveland Stadium soon after the Cleveland defense gave itself the nickname "Dawgs" in the mid-1980s.

What went right: Testaverde, who threw 112 interceptions and 77 touchdown passes with the Buccaneers, did not throw an interception. . . . The Browns defense, which held Tampa Bay scoreless until the fourth quarter, forced four turnovers and recorded seven sacks.

What went wrong: The Browns were limited to 70 yards rushing on 31 carries. Leroy Hoard, held to 39 yards against the Patriots, rushed for 44 yards on 13 carries.

Record: 1-1.

Sept. 17: Browns 14, Oilers 7

Summary: Stevon Moore intercepted three passes in the first half to lead the visiting Browns to a lackluster victory. Testaverde threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Jackson with 9:17 remaining to break a 7-7 tie. In the first half, Testaverde had connected with Keenan McCardell on a 15-yard touchdown pass.

What went right: Moore's three interceptions repeatedly stalled Houston's offense. . . . The Browns established a strong running attack after two subpar ground games. Hoard ran for 88 of the Browns' 132 rushing yards

What went wrong: The Browns were unable to take advantage of the Oilers' turnovers. Just one of the interceptions led to points for the Browns. . . . Testaverde completed only 10 of 23 and Rison had just one catch for 15 yards, giving him five receptions in three games.

Record: 2-1.

Sept. 24: Browns 35, Chiefs 17

Summary: Earnest Byner ran for one touchdown and caught another, as the host Browns defeated Kansas City and former coach Marty Schottenheimer for their third consecutive victory. Testaverde (21-for-36, 204 yards, no interceptions) threw two touchdown passes, including one for 4 yards to Rison in the third quarter -- Rison's first touchdown in four games with the Browns. Schottenheimer fell to 0-2-1 in three trips back to Cleveland since he left to coach the Chiefs in 1989.

What went right: The Browns returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the fourth quarter -- an 18-yarder by Gerald Dixon and a 24-yard return by Mike Caldwell.

What went wrong: Not much, except Matt Stover missed his first field-goal attempt (a 37-yarder) after going 3-for-3 on the season.

Record: 3-1.

Oct. 2: Bills 22, Browns 19

Summary: The Browns' downward spiral began with this unusual Monday night loss to the visiting Bills. Buffalo kicker Steve Christie, after missing a chip-shot field-goal attempt, an extra point and his first try at the winning kick, converted a 33-yard field goal with five seconds to play. Christie needed -- and received -- two chances at the winning kick because the Browns' Pepper Johnson had called timeout moments before Christie pulled the first one wide to the left.

What went right: Costly mistakes by the Bills -- including Christie's troubles and a fumble by Buffalo quarterback Jim Kelly deep in his territory late in the third quarter -- and four field goals by Stover kept the Browns close.

What went wrong: The Browns defense could not stop the Bills, who gained 406 yards of total offense. Kelly completed 27 of 34 for 256 yards and two touchdowns, and wide receiver Andre Reed caught nine passes for 97 yards and a touchdown.

Record: 3-2.

Oct. 8: Lions 38, Browns 20

Summary: Barry Sanders rushed for 157 yards and three touchdowns, as the host Lions built leads of 31-3 and 38-10 en route to victory. Detroit quarterback Scott Mitchell kept the Browns off-balance, completing 24 of 38 passes for 273 yards DTC and two touchdowns. It was the most points given up this season by the Browns, who had been allowing 13.8 points per game, fourth in the NFL.

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