CLEVELAND - Quarterback Charlie Frye won the pre-game “coin flip” to start tonight’s game against the Chiefs, and may have taken a half-step towards winning the starting quarterback job despite an uneven first half of play.
Frye was good enough to lead the Browns to two field goals, but also left the team short at the goal line as the half ended, and was involved in an errant backwards pass which led to a Kansas City touchdown. The Chiefs lead 7-6 at halftime.
Frye ended the first half by completing 12 of 15 passes for 122 yards, including a handful of good-looking passes across the middle to Travis Wilson and Kendrick Mosely. Despite the good-looking stats, Frye was far from perfect, particularly when executing the two-minute offense as the first half closed. The Browns ended the first half on the Kansas City two-yard line as time expired without scoring.
In addition to the poor clock management as the half ended, Frye was also involved with a failed swing pass to Jerome Harrison which led to the Chiefs single score.
Frye couldn’t get the ball to RB Jerome Harrison, running to his right, who then gave up on the play. Chiefs cornerback Benny Sapp, however, noticed that the pass was for negative yardage, making the failed pass a failed lateral. Sapp scooped up the ball and raced 56 yards to the end zone, giving the Chiefs enough points to lead at halftime.
Turnovers snagged by the Browns young and improving secondary led to Frye’s two opportunities to take the team to field goals. Interceptions by Leigh Bodden of a Brodie Croyle pass and by Daven Holly of an overthrown toss by Damon Huard led to Frye’s drives of 49 and 30 yards, both of which culminated in Phil Dawson field goals.
Fans at a half-full (at best) Cleveland Browns Stadium also witnessed first-half implosions by QB Derek Anderson and RB Jerome Harrison.
Anderson finished the first half 2-of-6 for 26 yards, including a couple of badly underthrown passes within ten yards of the line of scrimmage. Anderson’s less than impressive performance handed the first half to Frye, despite the latter’s lapses.
In addition to giving up on the lateral, Harrison later lost the handle on the ball, fumbling it forward during the second quarter. While the fumble was recovered by Travis Wilson and negated by a penalty, Harrison’s inability to hold onto the football put him that much further behind RB Jason Wright, who had a solid first half.
LINEUP CHANGES: Charlie Frye was the starting quarterback. Antwan Peek started for the injured Willie McGinest and, as expected, Lennie Freidman started in place of Eric Steinbach. He may not have wound up on the top of the depth chart distributed earlier this week, but rookie CB Eric Wright got the starting nod against the Chiefs.