KANSAS CITY - Jeff Garcia said he needed more work in the
Cleveland Browns third exhibition game to finally start finding a rhythm for
the regular season.
Despite a last-second 21-19 victory over Kansas City Chiefs Saturday night at Arrowhead Stadium, it's clear Garcia needs even more
work than he thought.
The veteran free agent who was supposed to jump start the Browns sluggish
passing game looked out of sync with his receivers in an under-whelming and
surprisingly short quarter and a half of action, completing just 4-of-8 passes
for 37 yards.
Through three preseason games, Garcia has thrown for a total of just 105
yards while completing 12-of-20 passes. That's not exactly the kind of aerial
attack the Browns had in mind for the post-Tim Couch era.
The Browns running game, however, continues to be a pleasant surprise.
William Green kept the heat on Lee Suggs in their battle for the Browns
starting running back job, running for 53 yards on just four carries. Not to
be outdone, Suggs added 31 yards on four runs, including the first half's only
"These two guys are great kids and they are busting their butts to be the
best players they can be," said Browns coach Butch Davis. "It's a dynamic duo
for us and it's one of the real strong parts of our football team. I'm really
proud of them and the way they are handling the (running back competition)."
Against the same Chiefs defense that held St. Louis Rams Pro Bowl running
back Marshall Faulk to just 16 yards on six first-half carries Monday night,
Green and Suggs broke off a series long first-half runs.
Green ended the opening quarter with a 10-yard burst through the middle of
the line, then gashed the Chiefs on a 42-yard sprint down the left sideline on
the first play of the second quarter.
Suggs followed with a 28-yard touchdown run on the very next play, taking a
draw up the middle then bouncing outside to the sideline for his third score
in the last two weeks.
Kansas City's Lawrence Tynes booted first-quarter field goals of 28 and 48
yards to give the Chiefs an early lead before Suggs' run put the Browns ahead
7-6 with 13:31 remaining in the second quarter .
The most promising feature of the long runs by Green and Suggs was that
both were behind the left side of the Browns line. In the preseason's first
two weeks, the majority of the Browns rushing success came while running right
behind right tackle Ryan Tucker and new right guard Kelvin Garmon.
The two long runs also took place on Enoch DeMar's first series at left
guard. DeMar and Paul Zukauskas each took turns with the first-team offense as
the Browns continued their search for a full-time starter, but it was DeMar
who set up the Browns lone touchdown, delivering the key block that sprung
Suggs to the outside.
With DeMar at left guard on the Browns second two possessions, Suggs and
Green combined to run for 62 yards on four carries. With Zukauskas at left
guard for the Browns' opening two possessions, Suggs totaled just 3 yards on
Those numbers could help DeMar climb back into the lead in the battle for
the starting job at left guard.
Suggs and Green both continued to make their case to start at running back.
Suggs increased his preseason rushing average to 7.9-yards per carry
(15-for-118), while Green improved to an equally impressive 8.3 per-carry
average (12-100) after three exhibition games.
Garcia, meanwhile, failed to lead the first-team offense to scores after
being handed more than favorable field position on the Browns first two
He threw an in to Kellen Winslow on 3rd-and-6 when the rookie
tight end ran an out, helping to spoil a possession that started deep in
Kansas City territory at the 29-yard line. The failed conversion forced the
Browns to settle for a 42-yard Phil Dawson field-goal attempt that was blocked
by John Browning.
A near interception, an underthrown slant to Andre Davis, and a badly
overthrown deep ball to Winslow helped keep the Browns from scoring on their
second possession - a drive that started at their own 40 and reached the
Garcia, who had hoped to play into the third quarter, gave way to backup
Kelly Holcomb midway through the second quarter.
Kansas City won the battle of the backups in the third quarter, regaining
the lead for good in the third quarter on a pair of third-quarter touchdown
passes by second-string quarterback Todd Collins - the first a 9-yard throw to
third-string running back Derrick Blaylock and the second a 4-yard toss to
second-string wide receiver Omar Easy.
Luke McCown led the Browns third unit to a spirited comeback in the fourth
quarter, however, culminating in a last-second touchdown strike on the last
play of the game.
McCown, who entered the game late in the third quarter, was impressive as
the Browns rallied to score two touchdowns in the final four minutes of the
game. After a rough start, where he missed his first three passes, McCown
finished the game with 8 completions on 15 attempts for 108 yards and two
After a 10-play, 45-yard drive closed the gap to 19-14 Chiefs, a Felipe Claybrooks sack of Damon Huard helped the Browns regain possession with 1:40
remaining. After limited success on the first three plays, McCown found Chad Mustard for an eleven-yard completion on fourth-and-eight, giving the Browns
third-string offense one more shot at the end zone.
McCown then found C.J. Jones for a 37-yard completion to the Chiefs 34.
Following an incomplete pass, and with only four second remaining as the ball
was snapped, McCown rolled to his left, and found a double-covered Richard Alston in the end zone. Timing his leap, Alston pulled down the ball as the
clock expired, giving the Browns an uplifting victory in pre-season.
Barry McBride contributed to this report.