View Full Version : Browns overcome drops in coach's first win

10-12-2009, 11:10 PM
Browns overcome drops in coach's first win
By The Associated Press Tuesday, October 13, 2009

BEREA, Ohio As the chilly, Western New York winds whipped past, Browns coach Eric Mangini was handed the game ball after his first win for Cleveland.

He didn't drop it.

Somebody wearing orange and brown finally showed decent hands.

Of all the ugliness that emerged from the Browns' 6-3 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, 60 minutes of horrifying football more befitting two high school squads than paid NFL professionals, nothing was as hideous as the array of dropped passes by Cleveland receivers.

By unofficial count, nine of quarterback Derek Anderson's throws were bobbled, butchered and botched.

Mangini didn't have an official number. Maybe he was afraid to reveal it.

"I'm not sure what the official number was," he said. "It just depends on who you talk to, but it was way too high."

Despite their butter fingers, the Browns (1-4) managed to slip by the inept Bills (1-4), who helped Cleveland's cause with penalties, turnovers and a muffed punt in the final minutes that set up Billy Cundiff's game-winning field goal with 18 seconds left.

The Browns snapped a 10-game losing streak dating to Nov. 17 last season, when they defeated the Bills, 29-27.

No, it wasn't a pigskin Picasso, but to Mangini and his team it represented progress. One week after dropping a 23-20 overtime heartbreaker to Cincinnati, the Browns needed something to build on and they got it.

"We were able to finish and get the win," Mangini said. "There's no style points for winning or for losing. That's always the end goal and we're always going to try and do it in whatever way we can. And yesterday that was run the ball a lot, being able to play good defense and good special teams and winning field position. The end goal is to win, and however that comes is a good thing a positive thing.

"There are definitely things we need to fix, but there are a lot of things I really liked."

Mangini praised Cleveland's running game (171 yards), a defense that didn't give up a touchdown, sparkling special teams, third-down conversions, a drop in penalties and protection for Anderson as the pluses for his team. He's not naive enough to think the Browns can get away with nine first downs, two completions for Anderson and his 15.1 quarterback rating and win again.

But this was progress, albeit small progress.

"I think we're making strides in how we have to play each week in order to win," he said.

Anderson finished 2 of 17 for 23 yards, a statistical line that prompts a double take.

Cleveland's receivers and backs didn't do their QB any favors, dropping at least eight of his throws. Tight end Robert Royal, who is playing despite a badly broken right ring finger, let a certain touchdown "a beautiful throw," Mangini said slip through his hands.

Steady winds blew throughout the game and strengthened in the fourth quarter. Mangini said the conditions were a factor, but not an excuse.

"Some of the throws could have been better. Some of them were a function of not looking the ball into the tuck, trying to run," he said. "That was a couple times, guys were more worried with what was going to happen after the catch than securing the catch. There were some throws that were right on target, we had great opportunities and we didn't bring it."

Mangini promised that his skill players would polish their skills this week.

"We're going to wear out that JUGS machine, we're going to get a billion balls there," he said. "They're going to get a lot of balls from D.A. We're going to conscientiously continue to improve there and methodically do it because we can't leave those opportunities on the field."

He plans to leave Anderson out there, though.

Despite Anderson's woeful outing, Mangini has no intention to switch back to Brady Quinn, whom he benched after 10 ineffective quarters.

"D.A. will continue to start," he said firmly.

Mangini rewarded his players for their win by giving them the day off on Monday. They were only required to report for conditioning and treatment. He wanted to give them some extra downtime to reload before preparations begin for next week's game against the Steelers, who have won 11 straight and 25 of 29 over Cleveland.

On Sunday, Cleveland's players saluted Mangini, whose methods in his first season with the Browns have brought him outside criticism. He appreciated the gesture.

"It will be a nice thing for a long time," he said.

Mangini said he'll place the souvenir in either his house or office. He's leaning toward the office, where his three young sons won't have a chance at it.

"They've had some game balls in the past and you get home and they ruined it, you're like, 'What are you doing? This is from the Super Bowl.' To them, it's just another toy."

10-13-2009, 10:03 AM
Anderson goes 2-17 and is still the starter? Quinn mustve made Mangina very upset.