Frye, starting for Dilfer, completed 12 of 14 passes for 186 yards in leading the Cleveland Browns to a 16-6 victory over the Chicago Bears in the preseason finale. Then, he did all he could to defuse a possible quarterback controversy.
"Trent's the starter, and he has been doing a great job," said Frye, who completed all seven passes and led Cleveland to a touchdown in the second quarter. "When it's my turn to go in the game, I just try to go out there and do the best I can and keep learning from him."
His turn came earlier than expected. Coach Romeo Crennel told Frye during the week he might start, but did not confirm it until just before kickoff.
"We wanted to see how Charlie would handle the surprise start, and it looked like he handled it pretty good," Crennel said. "I think his numbers looked pretty good in the first half. He did a nice job."
Sultan McCullough led the Browns with 103 yards rushing on 19 attempts, while Reuben Droughns, competing for time at running back with the injured Lee Suggs and William Green, rushed for 60 yards and a touchdown on nine attempts. Green had 9 yards on five carries, while Suggs missed his third straight game with a high ankle sprain.
Antonio Bryant led the Browns (3-1) with 69 yards on four receptions, while Brandon Rideau had four receptions for 50 yards. Wide receiver Braylon Edwards, the No. 3 pick in the draft, caught two passes for 47 yards for Cleveland, which opens the season at home against Cincinnati.
In his first start, Bears quarterback
The Bears (3-2 preseason), who open at Washington, were coming off a whirlwind week.
|Charlie Frye made a case for the Browns backup job against the Bears.|
Orton, the fourth-round pick, immediately opened eyes when he hit Muhammad deep over the middle for the 47-yard gain. That put the ball on the Cleveland 23, but the drive stalled. On first down, Orton's forced pass to tight end Desmond Clark fell incomplete. Two plays later, the Browns' Leigh Bodden intercepted a pass intended for Justin Gage in the end zone.
"Obviously, we got off to a good start on the first play," Orton said. "It's kind of tough when you know you're only going to be playing a couple of series; you want to make so much happen in that little time. I got too aggressive and threw that pick, but all in all, I think it went pretty well."
Muhammad said Orton will learn from that.
"When the regular season comes, he's going to make the right decision in those circumstances," the wide receiver said.
The Browns punted on their first possession, and their second drive -- against mostly a second-team defense -- ended on a missed 41-yard field goal by Phil Dawson.
After the Bears punted early in the second quarter, Cleveland drove 80 yards for a touchdown. Frye completed a 19-yard pass to Edwards, and Droughns carried for 19 and 12 yards before leaping in from the 3 for a touchdown.
Now, the Browns have some decisions to make at running back. Droughns rushed for 118 yards on 27 attempts in the preseason, while Green carried 31 times for 112.
"I don't know," Droughns said when asked if he won the job. "That's not my choice. I will leave that up to the coaches to make that decision. It's going to be a tough decision for them."
But the Browns insisted there's no decision to make at quarterback.
"Trent is perfectly healthy and I foresee he will start the Cincinnati game unless something happens during the week," Crennel said.
Did Frye clinch the backup job? Doug Johnson, his competition, did not play, but Crennel said, "That's to be determined, but (Frye) did a lot for himself tonight."
The Browns increased their lead to 10-0 at the end of the half when Dawson kicked a 30-yard field goal.
The Browns and Bears meet Oct. 9 in Cleveland.