Romeo Crennel is not one for effusive praise, so when he said that rookie quarterback Charlie Frye "passed another test" in the 9-7 win over Oakland, it means Crennel was very pleased.
Frye completed 21 of 32 passes for 198 yards, but most important, he was calm, cool and collected as he led the Browns on a game-winning field-goal drive in the waning minutes.
Frye's best play was a rollout in which he threw to Frisman Jackson on the run. Jackson made the catch right at the sideline.
Frye took a sack, but that sack was wiped out by a penalty.
In winning the game, Frye earned the praise of his teammates.
"Same old Charlie," tight end Steve Heiden said. "Cool, calm and collected."
Those are the attributes that will help Frye progress as his NFL career progresses, but Frye's next "test" will be the most significant: Playing at home in the heated rivalry with the Steelers, against a team that is fighting for its playoff life.
REPORT CARD VS. RAIDERS
PASS OFFENSE: B-plus - Until the last drive, QB Charlie Frye had just an OK game. But when Frye calmly led the Browns to the game-winning field goal, he looked like an unflappable veteran. Frye threw for 198 yards and had a passer rating in the 60s, but he did the most important thing asked of a quarterback: When it mattered most, he came through and won the game.
RUSH OFFENSE: C-minus - RB Reuben Droughns has leveled off a bit as defenses have started to load up on him and make a rookie quarterback try to beat them. Droughns continues to run hard and get what he can, but the yards haven't been piling up the last two or three weeks. That being said, Droughns still has a chance for a 1,400-yard season, which is pretty good by any means. The major blemish: The inability to run the ball in on four tries from the 4-yard line in the first half. The Browns should be good enough to get that done.
PASS DEFENSE: B-plus - One breakdown gave the Raiders a touchdown, but it's hard to fault a team when WR Randy Moss comes free for a score. The Browns continued their habit of allowing a team some yards, but not allowing them to score many points. They played their keep-it-in-front style and Oakland scored meager seven points. That should be good enough to win a lot of games.
RUSH DEFENSE: C-minus - One has to assume that shoring up this area of the defense will be a major off-season priority. Raiders RB Lamont Jordan had 132 yards, and had some gaping holes. The Browns didn't give up points, but they did give up yards. And many backs have topped 100 yards against Cleveland this season.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A - K Phil Dawson continued to prove he is as dependable as any kicker in the league, but he couldn't have done it without P Kyle Richardson's excellent hold and Alvin Mckinley's blocked field goal. Richardson also had a strong day punting, and Joshua Cribbs had some good kickoff returns. This unit may have won the game for the Browns.
COACHING: B - The defensive plan worked, and the special teams were outstanding. Too, a team going nowhere has not quit, and now the Browns have won more games than last season. But a game cannot go by without one perplexing offensive call. This came in the fourth quarter, when the Browns tried a deep throw to little-used backup fullback Corey McIntyre down the sideline on third-and-1. It was a clear case of trying to trick a team instead of just lining up and playing, and it's been a trend all season.