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News » Cleveland Browns Inside Slant 2008-12-19

Cleveland Browns Inside Slant 2008-12-19

Cleveland Browns Inside Slant 2008-12-19
The Browns have two games remaining to figure out how they could be so good at taking the ball from opponents but so lousy at scoring points.

With 22 interceptions and seven fumble recoveries, the Browns are tied with the Bears and Buccaneers with a league-high 29 takeaways. The Browns, though, are 28th in scoring. The Bears are 14th and the Buccaneers are 16th in scoring.

Five of their takeaways -- three interceptions and two fumble recoveries -- were at the expense of the Bengals on Sept. 28 in Cincinnati. The rematch of "The battle of Ohio" is Sunday in Cleveland Browns Stadium.

The Browns have scored 73 points off takeaways on six touchdowns and 10 field goals. That represents 35 percent of their 17 touchdowns and 33 percent of their field goals. In other words, the offense scored 55 percent of the time the defense handed it the ball.

The offense has had 126 possessions without the gift of a defensive takeaway, and of those 126 chances, they have scored 31 times on 11 touchdowns and 20 field goals. That means they have scored a touchdown on just 8.7 percent of their possessions without benefit of a takeaway.

During their four-game losing streak, which matches their four-game streak without an offensive touchdown, the Browns have intercepted nine passes and recovered three fumbles by opponents plus two of their own fumbles. Phil Dawson totaled eight field goals in those four games.

"Our defense is playing exceptionally well, and they're giving us chances," quarterback Ken Dorsey said. "I have to capitalize on those chances. We have a great team. We have great weapons on offense. We have to get down to the red zone more and capitalize when we are down there."

The Browns haven't had this many interceptions since they snagged 33 in 2001. They finished 7-9 that season and scores 285 points. They have scored 232 in 2008 with a game left against the Steelers in Pittsburgh to wrap up the season after they play the Bengals.

Offensively, the Browns are stumbling as they did in 2006 when they scored 232 points in 16 games, fired offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson and ended up switching quarterbacks in the 2007 opener; it wasn't just one bad quarter against the Steelers that got Charlie Frye banished to Seattle.

The 2006 Browns finished 4-12. At 4-10, this team is careening toward the same record, but these Browns are playing better defensively if takeaways (27 in 2006) and points allowed (356 in 2006, 305 so far this year) are the measuring sticks.

"It's definitely frustrating," said strong safety Sean Jones, one of four Browns with three interceptions. Brandon McDonald leads the pack with five. "Usually takeaways equal wins, but we have to have all three phases playing well to win ball games.

"This year, one phase will be playing well and the others aren't. We can't say anything about (the offense) because we could have won some games the defense let slip away. If you make a mistake at this level as a defensive back, it's usually a touchdown."

Jones was referring to the back-to-back losses to the Ravens and Broncos four days apart in November. The Browns led the Ravens 27-14 and lost 37-27. They led the Broncos 23-10 and lost 34-30. The defense had no takeaways in the Baltimore game. An interception by Brodney Pool was the only takeaway in the Denver game.

SERIES HISTORY: 71st regular-season meeting. The series is tied, 35-35. The Browns own a 21-13 advantage in games played at home, but the Bengals have won three of the last five games in Cleveland. The rivals met in Cincinnati in September. The Browns scored 17 points in the fourth period. It was their most productive quarter of the season.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 19, 2008

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