CLEVELAND (Aug. 13, 2005) -- The Romeo Crennel era began with a bang, some booms and more than a few bolts.
Cleveland's first-year coach had his debut diluted by some severe weather that caused a lengthy delay, but he got his first exhibition win as the Browns rallied for a 17-14 win over the New York Giants.
Rookie Tyler Jones kicked a 41-yard field goal with 6:18 left as Crennel got a victory that may not count in the standings but should help him get the Browns to believe.
Another rookie, quarterback Charlie Frye, a Browns fan since he was a kid, threw a 19-yard TD pass to tight end Paul Irons in the third quarter to put Cleveland up 14-7. New York's Tim Hasselbeck tossed a 9-yarder to Ataveus Cash to tie it.
|It wasn't pretty, but Romeo Crennel got a win in his preseason opener with the Browns.|
Crennel has some major work to do. The Browns don't have many playmakers on either side of the ball and little depth.
"A win is a win is a win," Crennel said. "We were able to do what we had to do. Still, as you probably noticed, there's a lot of work to do."
Both teams showed why the NFL plays a preseason as there were penalties (28 for 236 yards), missed tackles and enough bad plays to give Crennel and Tom Coughlin good reason to push their players harder during practice.
Giants second-year quarterback Eli Manning, who has struggled to develop chemistry with his receivers during training camp, threw a 20-yard TD pass to Plaxico Burress in the first quarter -- moments after the teams returned from a 1-hour, 19-minute weather delay.
Manning finished 6 of 8 for 53 yards in three series. On his TD pass, Manning patiently waited for Burress to get behind cornerback Gary Baxter before lobbing his pass into the left corner.
"We had a little play action," Manning said. "You're really looking for the inside guys on the seams, but they had them covered. I knew I had Plaxico one-on-one on the outside, so I threw it up and I threw it high where only he could catch it and he made a great catch. That's one of the good things about having a big receiver out there."
Cleveland's William Green had a 1-yard TD run and picked up 44 yards on 12 carries. He's in a three-way competition with Lee Suggs and Reuben Droughns to be the No. 1 tailback. Suggs had 11 yards on three runs. Droughns sat out with a hamstring injury.
Browns quarterback Trent Dilfer couldn't do much with a Cleveland offense that spent most of its time going in reverse. Hurt by four penalties -- two holding calls against guard Cosey Coleman -- the Browns lost 6 yards on their first two possessions with Dilfer, who went 2 of 5 for 16 yards.
"I thought we did all right," Dilfer said. "Obviously, the penalties kill you. You'd like to overcome them but we were in such a hole it was hard to get out of."
Doug Johnson, who has been battling with Frye to be Cleveland's No. 2 QB, drove the Browns 80 yards in 15 plays with Green's plunge tying it 7-7 in the second quarter.
Seconds after Manning took the opening kick and drove the ball in five plays to Cleveland's 46-yard line, referee Terry McAulay suspended play at 8:09 p.m. Most of the announced crowd of 67,429 waited patiently as the skies over Lake Erie and outside Browns Stadium were illuminated by spectacular lightning strikes.
"There's nothing you can do about the weather," Crennel said. "We played it safe. The NFL played it safe."
Play resumed at 9:28, and four plays later, Manning hooked up with Burress, who signed with the Giants as a free agent after five seasons with Pittsburgh.
The Browns, who have been decimated by injuries in the past few years, sustained their first significant on-field one of 2005 on the opening kickoff as rookie safety Brodney Pool suffered a concussion.
Cleveland rookie wide receiver Braylon Edwards suited up but didn't play. The No. 3 overall draft pick ended his contract holdout by signing a five-year deal, but hasn't practiced.