Browns-Jets: Report Card

Thomas Jones (Trotman / Getty Images)

The grades are in for the Cleveland Browns 24-18 win over the New York Jets. The team's defense might want to try some spin control when it comes to the subject of "run defense". Good luck on that, guys.

The Browns season has come to this: Win three games and they're in the playoffs.

And if they win this Sunday's game against Buffalo and get some help, they'd have clinched a spot.

The formula is complex and would require a Cleveland win, a Titans loss to Kansas City and a Denver loss or tie against Houston.

"Playoffs? Playoffs?" coach Romeo Crennel said. "I don't know anything about playoffs."

Crennel has done his best to adopt the Bill Belichick theory on the NFL, and that is that the only game that matters is the next one. So just try to win that game and move on to the next week.

"That's been the focus all year, to try and get ready for the next game," Crennel said. "We're not the New England Patriots. We know that we can improve and we have been working every week trying to improve."

Sunday's win over the Jets was not real impressive or exciting, but it was a win.

And because of it, the Browns could be headed to a place few thought they'd reach this season -- the postseason.

NOTES, QUOTES

--WR Braylon Edwards tied a Browns record when he caught his 13th touchdown pass of the season.

Not since Gary Collins in 1963 has a Browns receiver caught this many touchdown passes. Edwards seems a sure bet to break the mark in the season's final three games.

"You look at the guys who have played here -- the Paul Warfields and Gary Collins and Webster Slaughters and Ozzie Newsomes and to tie the all-time record for touchdowns in a season means a lot," Edwards said.

--RB Jamal Lewis continues to make Phil Savage look smart. Lewis had another 100-yard game, his third as a Brown, and his 31-yard ramble on third-and-four late in the game secured the win. "Jamal broke loose like a madman," receiver Braylon Edwards said. Lewis' running continues to impress, and be more and more important as time goes on. Late in the season, when the weather turns cold, teams that run the ball win games.

Lewis isn't supposed to be known as a pass catcher, but he got wide open after a play fake to catch a short touchdown pass from Derek Anderson. It was his second touchdown reception of the season.

PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES

--TE Kellen Winslow is 57 yards from 1,000 for the season. Winslow would join Edwards in the 1,000-yard club.

--WR Joe Jurevicius' hands and smarts were valuable late, as he recovered two onside kicks. The recoveries were not easy in cold, wet conditions.

--KR Joshua Cribbs was taken out of the game for the second week in a row. Cribbs averaged just 25.5 yards on his two kickoff returns. Cribbs continues to be a viable Pro Bowl candidate.

--QB Derek Anderson completed passes to eight different receivers. That matches his career high.


REPORT CARD VS. JETS

PASSING OFFENSE: C -- Derek Anderson had another bad interception and the Browns threw for just 185 yards on 16 completions. The wet, rainy conditions had much to do with that, but the Browns offense never got into a good rhythm, in part because they did not have the ball a lot.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- Jamal Lewis' 31-yard ramble sealed the victory, but the Browns didn't run often enough. Late in the game, the Browns had a couple chances to put the game away by pounding Lewis at the Jets, but they didn't. As a result, they let the Jets back into the game. Lewis seems to have proven he can carry the team, especially late. It's time to use him more as the weather gets colder.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- Kellen Clemens threw for 286 yards for the Jets, but threw an interception in the end zone and never really got going until it was late and the game was nearly out of control. Sean Jones and rookie Brandon McDonald both had interceptions, which were big, but the Browns overall limited the Jets' big-play effectiveness.

RUSH DEFENSE: D -- The Browns are nothing if not consistent. Thomas Jones ran for 106 yards. It seems it would take an act of God or a catastrophic injury to stop the opposing back from topping 100 yards against the Browns. At some point, it would seem that the team's poor run defense will catch up to it, but it hasn't happened yet.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A -- This unit won the game by recovering two late onside kicks after allowing the Jets to recover one. Joe Jurevicius recovered both, and though the Browns almost gave the game away thanks to the first onside recovery by New York, they did not thanks to the work of Jurevicius on the next two.

COACHING: B -- Never scoff at a win, but it would have been nice had the Browns put this game away with an impressive fourth-quarter drive. They didn't. The Browns coaches somehow have to find a way to use the clock when it matters. On one fourth-quarter possession, the Browns ran once, threw twice and used 46 seconds. Better play-calling was needed at that point.

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