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(Sunday, October 26th)
Final Score: Cleveland 23, Jacksonville 17
Jacksonville, FL (Sports Network) - Jamal Lewis rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown and Derek Anderson passed for 246 yards and another score as the Cleveland Browns held on to edge the Jacksonville Jaguars, 23-17.
Anderson was 14-of-27 passing, while Donte Stallworth contributed with a TD grab for the Browns (3-4), who have won three of their last four after dropping the first three games of the season. Steve Heiden added three catches for 73 yards and Braylon Edwards had a pair of receptions for 64 yards in the win. Phil Dawson finished with three field goals for Cleveland.
"We feel good about getting this week because it keeps us in the pack in the AFC," said Browns coach Romeo Crennel. "It was a perfect game for us, and what it does, it sets us up next week (vs. Baltimore) because it's a critical game."
The Browns were without tight end Kellen Winslow for the contest despite having his one-game suspension rescinded for negative comments toward the organization after being hospitalized for a staph infection. According to the Plain Dealer, Winslow will pay a $25,000 fine to the Browns.
David Garrard had a solid game in defeat for the Jaguars (3-4), completing 25- of-42 for 283 yards and two touchdowns. Matt Jones had eight catches for 117 yards and a score, while Reggie Williams had three grabs, including a TD for Jacksonville, which has dropped two of three.
"Not good enough," said Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio. "Too many things being given away and made too easy for the opponent. We have to take care of those things. We'll do it internally, but I'm not at all pleased with what I just saw."
With the Browns holding 17-7 lead after one half, Jacksonville got the ball to start the third quarter and narrowed the deficit to three after Jones hauled in an eight-yard scoring pass, jumping in front of would-be defender Brandon McDonald. The drive covered 72 yards on nine plays.
The Browns would maintain the slim edge into the fourth quarter and following a stalled Jags' drive that started on their own 25, Josh Scobee was brought on to attempt a 38-yard field goal, but Shaun Rogers came through the line and blocked the kick.
After Cleveland was forced to punt on its next possession, Jacksonville went back to the attack and quickly got down to the Browns 39-yard-line. Jones pulled in a 20-yard pass from Anderson and Rogers was flagged for a 15-yard roughing the passer call to get the visitors into striking distance. Following two short gains by Maurice Jones-Drew and an incomplete pass, Scobee came on a nailed a 53-yarder to tie the game at 17-17 with 8:48 remaining in the fourth.
A 53-yard catch-and-run from Anderson to Syndric Steptoe gave the Browns a 1st-and-goal from the two-yard line. However, Cleveland couldn't punch it in and had to settle for a 20-yard chip shot by Dawson and a three-point advantage with 4:35 left.
On the ensuing kickoff, Brian Witherspoon fumbled and Joshua Cribbs recovered for the Browns, which led to another Dawson field goal, this time from 42 yards away, making it a 23-17 game.
After an exchange of punts, the Jags got one last chance with less than two minutes remaining and converted a key 4th-and-three near midfield. On the play, Jacksonville was given an 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty that pushed them back to the 39.
Garrard then hooked up with Jones for 35 yards to the 26 with 36 seconds left. Following a pass that bounced off the hands of a leaping Jones in the end zone with one second left, Garrard's final pass fell incomplete and the Browns held on for the win.
The Browns got on the board first when Anderson connected with Stallworth, capping a nine-play, 80-yard drive with 2:08 left in the opening quarter. Cleveland quickly moved inside Jacksonville territory to the 48-yard line, then Lawrence Vickers ripped off 10 yards on the ground and Anderson hit Edwards for 21 more, taking it to the 17. Then facing a 3rd-and-goal from the three, the Cleveland signal-caller found Stallworth on the right side for the score.
Jacksonville responded on its ensuing possession when Reggie Williams pulled in a five-yard TD pass to tie things at 7-7 early in the second quarter.
However, the Browns countered with a score of their own a little over three minutes later. After a decent kickoff return by Cribbs to the Cleveland 38, the home team converted a key 4th-and-1 on its own 47 when Anderson hit Heiden for 51 yards. Then on second-and-goal from the two, Jamal Lewis muscled his way up the middle for the score.
Dawson's 32-yard effort with 2:09 left in the half gave Cleveland a 17-7 lead, which they would take to the intermission.
Jacksonville plays at Cincinnati next Sunday...Despite the loss, the Jaguars have won six of the last eight meetings against the Browns and have an 8-3 edge in its all-time series. Cleveland has won four in a row at Jacksonville...Jones-Drew was limited to 29 yards on 12 carries and three catches for 19 yards, while Fred Taylor had only 24 yards on the ground for the Jags.
10/26 22:53:34 ET
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