Week 15 Game Recap: Cleveland Browns 9, Oakland Raiders 7
What you need to know
The Browns overcame a pair of turnovers in the fourth quarter, and an apparent third turnover in the closing seconds that was overruled after an official’s replay challenge, allowing Phil Dawson to kick the winning field goal from 37 yards as time ran out. Charlie Frye got his first win as a starter for the Browns by completing 21 of 32 passes for 198 yards with one interception. While virtually ignored in the first half, Antonio Bryant came out and had a big second half, catching five balls for 86 yards. Dennis Northcutt caught two balls for 25 yards and Frisman Jackson added another two catches for 21 yards. Tight end Steve Heiden was active and also caught two balls for just eight yards. For the first time in three starts, Frye looked more often to his running backs, with Reuben Droughns catching five passes for 31 yards. Fullback Travis Smith caught three passes for sixteen yards and Lee Suggs added a four yard grab.
In slippery conditions, the Browns were unable to establish an effective run game against the Raiders interior defense. Reuben Droughns had his lowest total since week two, gaining 53 yards on eighteen carries. Lee Suggs played sparingly in this game, carrying the ball just once for six yards. Charlie Frye showed his mobility in moving around the pocket, avoiding the sack and officially carried the ball six times for twelve yards.
The switch back to Kerry Collins failed to produce a win for Oakland, who failed to take advantage of those opportunities presented to them, especially in the fourth quarter of this game. Collins completed just 14 of his 30 passes for 132 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Randy Moss saw significant coverage all afternoon, and made his only catch of the day on a 28 yard touchdown perfectly thrown by Collins. Jerry Porter was the most targeted wide receiver on the afternoon, but with six catches accumulated just 31 yards. Doug Gabriel rounded out the receiving corps with one catch for nine yards, while none of Oakland’s tight ends caught a pass. Lamont Jordan was targeted often out of the backfield, and caught five passes for 40 yards.
Following a pattern created by Rudi Johnson in Week 14, the Raiders attempted to beat the Browns with the run. The Raiders had great success with Lamont Jordan, who gained 132 yards on 25 carries. Zack Crockett added ten yards on four carries, while Kerry Collins had one yard rushing on two attempts.
What you ought to know
|QB Charlie Frye, Pass: 21 - 32 - 198 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 6 - 12 - 0|
Frye completed 66% of his passes and averaged 6.2 yards per completion with a pair of turnovers en route to a passer rating of 69.5. Despite this, he led a game winning drive for his first career victory as a starter and played an inspired game, never giving up. At the conclusion of the game, teammate Ryan Tucker had the following to say about Frye. “I'm really excited about this guy. He's got a great presence, controls the huddle. He takes some shots, but bounces right back." Unfortunately, Frye lost his center, Jeff Faine to what appears to be a season ending arm injury.
Droughns averaged just under three yards per carry, but maintained his streak of at least 50 rushing yards in every game this season. With his north-south running style, Droughns found the Oakland defensive line to be a formidable opponent, and was unable to really get it going. Droughns biggest play of the day came in the final minute when it was ruled he had fumbled the ball prior to going down at the line of scrimmage. Droughns was confident he was down before losing the football, and an official’s challenge overturned the initial call to allow the Browns to retain possession and kick the winning field goal. Droughns was also part of a big series early in the game when he was given four chances from inside the opposing four to punch the ball in, and came up short with each try.
|RB Lee Suggs, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (1 targets)|
Suggs had two touches in the game and even with his return to health appears to be an afterthought in this offense.
After a quiet first half where Bryant saw just two targets, he got on the same page with Charlie Frye and had a much more productive second half. Bryant did a much better job of getting open in the second half and recognizing the need to step up as the playmaker for this offense.
Jackson caught two of the balls thrown to him, but continues to be limited to three wide receiver sets and primarily finding the seam in the soft zone when opposing defenses are focusing their energy on the primary receivers.
Nearly all of Northcutt’s action came in the first half, and he played a lesser role once Antonio Bryant became more active in the passing game.
Heiden played a lesser role in this game than in previous games, but caught both balls thrown his way.
The Browns rush defense struggled for the second straight week, and could not contain Lamont Jordan. The Raiders rumbled for 143 yards on 31 carries, though were kept out of the end zone all afternoon long.
The Browns pass rush and secondary frustrated Kerry Collins all afternoon, and especially took away the big play ability of Randy Moss, who caught just one pass on the afternoon. With three sacks and one interception, the Browns pass defense looked very good in this game while limiting the Raiders to 132 yards through the air.
|QB Kerry Collins, Pass: 14 - 30 - 132 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 1 - 0|
Collins completed just 47% of his passes with an average of 4.3 yards per completion for just a 56.5 passer rating. Collins attributed his poor play in part to the wet field conditions and slippery ball, but it is unclear whether he will be given the opportunity to return as quarterback next week, or whether the Raiders would go back to Marques Tuiasosopo or give rookie Andrew Walter a look.
|RB Lamont Jordan, Rush: 25 - 132 - 0, Rec: 5 - 40 - 0 (7 targets)|
Jordan combined for 172 yards on the ground and through the air on thirty touches, but did not find the end zone. He ran the ball quite effectively on the afternoon, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. With the performance, Jordan surpassed the 1000 yard marker for rushing yards on the season, and moved over 1500 combined yards.
Crockett failed to catch a pass, but spelled Jordan on occasion, and provided a different look from the rushing attack.
Porter tried to take the pressure off his teammates, but averaged just over five yards per catch on his six receptions, and struggled to gain significant separation throughout most of the game.
With their effectiveness in the running game, the Raiders utilized fewer three wide receiver sets in this game, and as a result, Gabriel caught just one pass.
The Browns made a clear focus to shut down Moss, and for the most part did so, limiting him to just one catch on the afternoon, though it went for a touchdown on a beautifully thrown ball. With just five targets, Moss found it difficult to make an impact in this game.
Anderson saw the first target of the game, but was not looked at the remainder of the game. Fellow tight end Roland Williams saw two balls thrown his way.
The Raiders rush defense shut down the Browns, who gained just 71 yards on the ground over 25 carries, and nearly forced a fumble late in the closing minute to seal the game.
The Raiders picked up three sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery, kept Charlie Frye out of the end zone and under 200 yards, but found that it was not enough when their offense put up just seven points. The secondary shutdown the biggest playmaker from the Browns (Antonio Bryant) in the first half, but couldn’t come through on the final drive, allowing Frye to complete four passes to get the Browns into field goal range and win the game.