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News » Cleveland Browns Inside Slant 2008-10-10

Cleveland Browns Inside Slant 2008-10-10

Cleveland Browns Inside Slant 2008-10-10
Atonement, more so than revenge, is the motivating factor for the Browns as they prepare to play the Giants Monday night in Cleveland Browns Stadium.

It is the first of three Monday night appearances for the Browns this season, and they are determined to clean up a mess they made on national television two months ago in a preseason game against the Giants in the Meadowlands.

"Everything went wrong -- everything," middle linebacker Andra Davis said. "There was a pass interference, personal fouls, Sean (Jones) slipped and the dude (Domenik Hixon) caught the ball (for the Giants second touchdown), Jamal (Lewis) fumbled, they ran a punt return back -- everything went wrong."

The Browns lost by only three points, 37-34, but nobody was fooled by the final score. At one point the Giants led 30-3. They scored 16 points in a span of 76 seconds.

A punt by Dave Zastudil out of the end zone hit teammate Travis Thomas in the back and bounced out the left side of the end zone for a safety, making it Giants 16-3 with 21 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Zastudil punted from the 20 on a free kick and Hixon returned the ball 82 yards for a touchdown -- Giants 23, Browns 3, nine seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Syndric Steptoe returned the following kickoff 90 yards to the New York 9. Earlier in the game, kick returner Josh Cribbs was knocked out with a sprained ankle. The Browns had a chance to get back into the game, but two plays after Steptoe's return, a bad exchange between Derek Anderson and Jamal Lewis resulted in a fumble at the 2. James Butler scooped the ball up and returned it 95 yards for a touchdown -- Giants 30, Browns 3, 14:05 remaining in the second quarter.

One minute, 40 seconds after Butler scored, Anderson was sacked and staggered to the sideline with a concussion.

And it wasn't just that 76-second span that seemed a portent of things that would follow for the Browns. Anderson's concussion kept him out the rest of the preseason and he wasn't sharp in the first three games of the regular season. Cribbs missed two preseason games and played hurt in the opener. A shoulder and hamstring injury followed. He is just now feeling close to 100 percent after the bye last weekend.

The Browns committed six penalties for 98 yards in the first quarter in the preseason game against the Giants. A pass-interference penalty on Eric Wright 53 yards downfield started the flood. It is not an exaggeration to say the Browns have been scrambling to find their footing ever since.

Part of the bye week was spent in getting a jump on their preparation for the Giants, but most of the practices last Wednesday and Thursday were dedicated to eliminating mistakes such as aggravating penalties, including lining up offside on defense and lining up illegally on offense.

"They came out and played a great game and shocked us or something," center and offensive co-captain Hank Fraley said Monday. "We didn't look good and we haven't really looked great all year in all three phases. We still got a lot of football left in us. We're still waiting to play a good game and hopefully this Monday night will be it."

The Browns are 1-3, already 2 1/2 games behind the Steelers in the AFC North.

SERIES HISTORY: 47th meeting. The Browns lead the regular-season series, 25-19-2. The Browns and Giants met twice in the playoffs prior to the merger between the AFL and NFL in 1970, each team winning once. All but seven of the games were played prior to the merger. The reincarnated Browns have played the Giants twice since 1999 and lost both times.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 10, 2008

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Rex Hadnot Name: Rex Hadnot
Position: C
Age: 26
Experience: 5 years
College: Houston
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