CLEVELAND -- Their season in shambles, the Cleveland Browns
left the field on Sunday to an eerie silence and thousands of
empty, orange seats.
Another home loss had left them beaten, battered and bewildered.
"There's no explanation for it," running back Jamal Lewis
said. "We were just all over the place."
Picked apart by Houston quarterback Sage Rosenfels and unable to
do anything once they had the ball, the Browns were humiliated in a
16-6 loss on Sunday to the Texans, who snapped an eight-game road
losing streak and dropped Cleveland deeper into a seemingly
bottomless abyss of defeat.
Rosenfels passed for 275 yards and a touchdown, and Kris Brown
kicked three field goals as the Texans (4-7) got their win away
from home since Nov. 4, 2007, at Oakland. All it took was a weekend
in chilly Cleveland and a date with the bumbling Browns for Houston
to have a road trip to remember.
"When you are on the road and you see the crowd filing out,
that's the way you want it to be," defensive end Anthony Weaver
It has gone from bad to worse for the Browns (4-7).
They lost their third straight at home, made five turnovers and
watched their ever-faithful fans, who have endured a decade of
dysfunction, leave by the tens of thousands in the final minutes.
Unlike the previous two losses, the Browns didn't blow a
double-digit lead as they fell behind 10-0 early and never
Cleveland quarterback Brady Quinn was pulled in the second half
of his third start by coach Romeo Crennel after throwing two
interceptions, the second a killer inside Houston's 10-yard line.
Quinn was playing with a broken right index finger on his
throwing hand, but Crennel said the injury was not the lone reason
for switching to Derek Anderson, who lost his starting job to Quinn
three weeks ago.
"It was a combination of his decisions that could have been a
little better and the injury to his finger," Crennel said in
explaining his surprising move. "I decided to play the other guy
for a little bit to see if that could give us a spark, and that
didn't work either."
Nothing, it seems, works for the Browns these days.
Quinn went 8-of-18 for 94 yards, picking up 42 on a pass to
Braylon Edwards in the second quarter. Quinn said his fractured
finger, which the former Notre Dame star hurt in Monday night's win
over the Buffalo Bills, was not a factor in his poor performance.
Quinn, though, was not clear why he didn't get to finish the
"You would have to ask coach why I was pulled," he said. "He
was upset with a couple of decisions I made out there. I didn't
have any idea that I was on such a short leash."
Crennel was adamant that Quinn would remain Cleveland's No. 1
"Brady has not lost his job," Crennel said. "He is still the
quarterback and we are going to through the week and prepare him
and he is going to play."
Despite Crennel's assurance, Quinn wasn't certain if he'll lead
the offense next week against Indianapolis.
"Whoever the starter is, that's the starter," Quinn said.
"And if I'm in the backup role, I'll do the best I can to help
D.A. prepare for a game. We're going to stick together and work
Cleveland's loss capped a turbulent week for the Browns, who
could be on the verge of another massive rebuild this winter. On
Thursday, general manager Phil Savage apologized for sending a
profane e-mail to a fan following Monday's win over the Bills.
Savage's admission was the latest episode in a soap opera of a
season perhaps best defined by Edwards' slippery hands.
A Pro Bowler last season, Edwards leads the NFL in dropped
passes. He had three more on Sunday, including a potential TD in
the final minutes.
"It would have been difficult, but I hold myself to a higher
standard," Edwards said of the leaping attempt he couldn't haul
in. "That's a catch that I've got to make for this team. I'm not
worried about what people on the outside say. I'm just worried
about my team. When they are depending on me to make a play, and
they're calling my number I've got to deliver.
"I don't know what it is, but I got to go somewhere and get my head
Rosenfels, a career backup, had his best game since replacing
injured Matt Schaub three weeks ago. He went 24 of 32 and found
Kevin Walter for a 17-yard TD pass in the first quarter. However,
Rosenfels nearly let the Browns back in it with two picks in the
Andre Johnson had 10 catches for 116 yards as the Texans also
ended a three-game losing streak.
"It's a great feeling," Rosenfels said. "It's a huge, huge
win for us. Cleveland's a tough place to play. For us to come in
here and play like this shows a lot about our players and our
Brown kicked two 32-yard field goals, one from 38 and had
another blocked by Browns NT Shaun Rogers, his 13th career blocked
kick. ... Browns K Phil Dawson was wide left with a 39-yarder in
the fourth quarter, his first miss in 16 attempts. ... Texans RB
Ahman Green injured his left knee in the third quarter and could be
out a few weeks. ... Johnson went over 1,000 yards receiving for
the third time in his career. He has 1,071 yards on 81 catches.