Week 5 Game Recap: Cleveland Browns 12, Carolina Panthers 20
What you need to know
After taking advantage of a special teams penalty early in the game, the Browns drove down the field to jump out to an early 3-0 lead. Just two minutes later, an untimely interception which bounced high in the air off of Dennis Northcutt’s hands was returned for a touchdown, a play which would set the tone for the Panthers’ dominance the remainder of the day. With a strong pass rush led by Julius Peppers, Charlie Frye struggled much of the day, finishing with just 173 yards, completing 26 of 43 passes with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
Kellen Winslow led all Browns’ receivers with eight catches for 55 yards, tying for the team lead in targets with Braylon Edwards. Edwards turned his eleven targets into three catches for 27 yards. Officially, Dennis Northcutt started opposite Edwards, and had a rough day, catching only one pass for eleven yards, and departed early with a rib injury. In Northcutt’s absence, Joe Jurevicius saw some late looks, accumulating three receptions for 28 yards. Reuben Droughns added three catches out of the backfield for three yards, and Jerome Harrison pitched in with four receptions for ten yards. Second tight end Steve Heiden pulled in two balls for twenty one yards.
The Browns made an attempt to establish the run early, however after falling behind, were forced to abandon it. Reuben Droughns carried the ball eighteen times for 65 yards, with rookie Jerome Harrison getting three carries for fourteen yards. Jason Wright saw the field sparingly, and did not receive any looks on the day. Fullback Lawrence Vickers was utilized on a trick passing play, but did not carry the ball in this game. On two scrambles, Charlie Frye rushed for twelve yards.
With time to pass and find the open receiver, Jake Delhomme played an effective game, completing 20 of 29 passes for 170 yards with one touchdown. Steve Smith was again Delhomme’s primary target, though Smith did not have a great game, dropping three passes, including a potential touchdown ball, and finished with six catches for 62 yards. Keyshawn Johnson used his size on a fade pattern in the end zone to bring down his touchdown reception, en route to five catches for 67 yards. Tight end Kris Mangum caught all of the short passes thrown his way, finishing with five receptions and 21 yards. DeShaun Foster added twelve yards out of the backfield on three receptions.
DeShaun Foster carried the load for the Panthers, topping the century mark with 106 yards on 24 carries. Foster carried the load when rookie DeAngelo Williams exited the game with a right ankle injury and did not return after his only carry for the day, which went for four yards. Nick Goings entered in many situations while Williams typically would be in the game, and gained three yards on his only carry. Steve Smith received one official rushing attempt, which went for seven yards.
What you ought to know
|QB Charlie Frye, Pass: 26 - 43 - 173 - 0 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 2 - 12 - 0|
Frye was on the run much of the day, and finished with just a 49.9 passer rating. Charlie completed over 60% of his passes, but could not get the ball downfield, averaging only four yards per passing attempt. Of his two interceptions, the first would be attributed to a wide open Northcutt tipping the ball up in the air, and the second to Frye trying to make a play in attempting the comeback. Frye showed great determination, however his competitive nature has gotten him into trouble with fourth quarter interceptions in each of the last four games.
Droughns averaged 3.6 yards per carry, but did not find the end zone. Droughns had a pair of carries over the ten yard mark in this game (13 and 22 yards). He was not utilized very much out of the backfield on screen plays, as he was left to help pick up the blitz.
Harrison was used primarily on third downs and passing plays, and caught everything thrown his way out of the backfield, seeing more time than he had in previous weeks.
Despite guaranteeing a big game against cornerback Chris Gamble, Edwards was not given the time to get behind the defense against the Panthers, and did not appear to be on the same page as Frye after great progress in previous weeks.
Jurevicius saw extensive playing time only after Northcutt left the game, and caught everything thrown his way. Jurevicius started the game on the bench, and is just returning from a rib injury himself.
Northcutt was responsible for the interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter, where he was wide open on the right side of the field for a short pass, which bounced off his hands and up in the air. As each of the other wide receivers did, Northcutt struggled, and left the game with a rib injury.
Winslow again proved to be Frye’s favorite target, and likewise seems to be his security blanket when he is looking for a big play. Unfortunately, Winslow’s biggest contributions came on the Browns opening drive, which ended in a field goal. Winslow creates a significant mismatch for linebackers and safeties who try to cover him, though the Panthers made a conscious effort to try to keep him underneath in this game.
Heiden saw considerable action in this game in an attempt to slow down the Panthers’ pass rush, and was able to break off the line to catch both balls thrown his way.
Dawson connected on four field goals in this game, from 22, 32, 41 and 47 yards. The final field goal of the day, from 32 yards out, brought an 11 point game down to an eight point game (and one score); however the Browns were unable to convert the onside kick. Interestingly, they attempted to kick the ball downfield and hope someone could outrace Steve Smith who was back on coverage. Smith was the first man to the ball at the three yard line.
The Browns have struggled to stop the rush all season long, and the Panthers were able to put up 119 yards on this unit, the majority coming from DeShaun Foster.
The pass defense struggled to slow down Jake Delhomme, who threw for 170 yards and a touchdown, though they did pick up one sack and forced nine punts.
|QB Jake Delhomme, Pass: 20 - 29 - 170 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0|
Delhomme finished with a passer rating of 95.5 by virtue of completing 69% of his passes for an average gain of 5.9 yards per attempt. Had Steve Smith not dropped three balls, including a touchdown, these numbers could have looked even more impressive, despite the fact that the Panthers led comfortably for much of this game, and did not require Delhomme to throw often.
With the injury to DeAngelo Williams, Foster saw extensive action in this game, and responded by averaging 4.4 yards per carry over twenty four attempts as the primary ball carrier, instead of the split role which these backs were recently employing. Foster got off to a slow start, with just thirty yards in the opening half, and a long of five yards, but finished the second half with fifteen attempts for 76 yards and a long rush of twenty two yards. Foster carried a third and goal from the six yard line to the one, coming up just short of a touchdown late in the game.
Williams left the game with an injury to his lower leg, described as a right ankle injury. His status will be further updated during the course of the week.
|WR Steve Smith, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0, Rec: 6 - 62 - 0 (11 targets)|
Smith found himself getting open against the Browns’ secondary, however dropped three passes in this game, including what would have been a six yard touchdown early in the second half.
Johnson was Delhomme’s favorite target early in this game, and made the most of his opportunities on a 17 yard touchdown where Delhomme threw the ball over the defender right into Johnson’s hands alongside the right sideline of the end zone.
Mangum caught everything thrown his way, however was not able to penetrate deep into the Browns’ secondary.
Kasay converted field goals from 19 and 24 yards in the second half of this game, and came up just barely wide left on a 53 yard attempt as time expired at the end of the first half on a slightly windy day at the Bank of America Stadium.
Much of the day was spent defending the pass, but the rush defense limited the Browns (Droughns, Harrison and Frye) to 91 combined yards, and kept them out of the end zone.
Led by Julius Peppers, the Panthers attacked all day long, sacking Frye twice and hitting him numerous other times, forcing two interceptions and one fumble. The secondary kept everything underneath, and after a 23 yard gain by Kellen Winslow early in the game, never let the Browns’ receivers pick up significant yardage after that.