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Tennessee at Cleveland

Droughns runs beyond tough week, leads Browns

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CLEVELAND -- Before his postgame news conference, Reuben Droughns slid the backpack from his shoulders, dropped it at his feet and shed the lightest load he had carried in days.

Any lingering shame or embarrassment had vanished. Back on the field, Droughns had outrun his past.

"I'm doing better," Droughns said, flashing a smile.

Just days after apologizing to teammates and Cleveland fans following his arrest on a drunken driving charge, Droughns rushed for 116 yards and caught a crucial third-down pass for 51 more, powering the Browns over the Tennessee Titans 20-14 on Sunday.

Droughns, 27, who had expressed deep regret for his mistake, made up for it with his best all-around game this season. By the fourth quarter, as Droughns fought painful leg cramps, fans chanted "Reu-ben, Reu-ben."

"For me, this is like my cathedral," said Droughns, who also caught four passes for 73 yards. "But I wasn't using what happened to me as motivation. I just poured my heart and soul into it."

With the Browns clinging to a six-point lead, Droughns spent most of the final six minutes in the locker room being treated for dehydration, something he could later laugh about.

"It might be old age," he said. "I'm in great shape. It's just one of those things when I put so much into it."

In the third quarter, Droughns caught a short screen pass over the middle and weaved 51 yards to set up Jason Wright's 6-yard TD run -- Cleveland's first rushing touchdown in nearly a year.

Dennis Northcutt caught a 58-yard TD pass and had a 31-yard run on a reverse, and Phil Dawson kicked field goals of 37 and 19 yards as the Browns (3-5) held off the Titans to snap a three-game losing streak.

"It feels good," said Browns rookie coach Romeo Crennel. "But it still came down to the last play. This week we made it."

Dawson's miss from 39 yards -- his first miss in 17 tries this season -- with 39 seconds left gave the Titans a final chance. Without any timeouts, Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair drove the Titans to Cleveland's 28 with two seconds left.

McNair was nearly sacked by Kenard Lang but managed to muscle a pass toward the goal line on the game's final play that was picked off by Brodney Pool as time expired.

But that didn't end the afternoon for Titans rookie cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones and Browns safety Sean Jones, who exchanged pushes and shoves before being separated near the end zone.

"No man, we're cool," said Jones, who denied the two were fighting. "I've known him since I was in fourth grade."

Cleveland quarterback Trent Dilfer, whose job security was becoming less certain with each loss, finished 18-of-34 for 272 yards in blustery conditions and threw his only interception on a desperation heave to end the first half.

Browns punter Kyle Richardson, too, atoned for some lousy performances by placing three kicks inside the 20-yard line.

"We showed really good resolve," Dilfer said. "We pumped each other up. All week in practice we had our pom-poms and skirts on and we were cheerleaders for each other."

Tennessee's Chris Brown had a 15-yard TD run in the fourth and Erron Kinney a 24-yard scoring reception for the young Titans (2-7), who have lost four in a row but now get a bye week to get rested and healthier.

"It's a perfect time for us both mentally and physically to heal and get our minds away from the game," said McNair, who went 18-for-41 for 235 yards. "We're learning from all these losses."

Brown carried 22 times for 95 yards, and brought the Titans within 20-14 on his 15-yard TD with 7:13 left.

With William Green and Lee Suggs injured, the Browns activated Wright from the practice squad on Thursday. After Dilfer hit Droughns underneath for 51 on the inside screen, Wright took a handoff and powered his way into the end zone for his first career TD, giving Cleveland a 17-7 lead.

It was also the Browns' first rushing TD this season and their first since Nov. 28 of last season -- a span of 50 quarters.

"I wasn't thinking, I was running," Wright said. "Then I thought, 'Hey, that's a touchdown.'"

Notes

  • Sunday marked the 10th anniversary of owner Art Modell's announcement that he was moving the Browns to Baltimore.
  • Browns OG Cosey Coleman will undergo an MRI on Monday for a sprained right knee.
  • The Titans nearly converted on two faked punts, but one was called back for holding and punter Craig Hentrich underthrew Donnie Nickey on the other.
  • The Browns have forced a turnover in 21 consecutive games.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Browns WR Dennis Northcut leaves Reynaldo Hill behind on a 58-yard TD catch and run.
 
Browns WR Dennis Northcut leaves Reynaldo Hill behind on a 58-yard TD catch and run. (AP)
 

 

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Sun. Nov. 6Final
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7010320
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
TDDennis Northcutt, 58 Yd pass from Trent Dilfer (Phil Dawson kick is good), 4:01. Drive: 1 play, 58 yards in 0:10.
2ND QUARTER
TDErron Kinney, 24 Yd pass from Steve McNair (Rob Bironas kick is good), 1:24. Drive: 3 plays, 54 yards in 0:53.
3RD QUARTER
FGPhil Dawson 37 Yd, 12:09. Drive: 7 plays, 47 yards in 2:51.
TDJason Wright, 6 Yd run (Phil Dawson kick is good), 6:12. Drive: 8 plays, 77 yards in 3:44.
4TH QUARTER
FGPhil Dawson 19 Yd, 13:35. Drive: 6 plays, 46 yards in 2:38.
TDChris Brown, 15 Yd run (Rob Bironas kick is good), 7:13. Drive: 8 plays, 73 yards in 3:19.
Players of the Game

R. Droughns
Rush 20
Yds 116
Avg 5.8
TD 0

C. Brown
Rush 22
Yds 95
Avg 4.3
TD 1
 
Tennessee
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
S. McNair18/4123511
C. Hentrich0/1000
RushingATTYDSTDLG
C. Brown2295132
S. McNair1202
J. Payton1101
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
E. Kinney574125
R. Williams561015
B. Scaife559019
C. Roby129029
C. Brown1808
T. Fleming1404
Cleveland
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
T. Dilfer18/3427211
RushingATTYDSTDLG
R. Droughns20116024
D. Northcutt131031
J. Wright81916
T. Dilfer2303
T. Smith1000
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
D. Northcutt380158
A. Bryant379049
R. Droughns473051
S. Heiden215010
J. Wright315015
T. Smith2807
B. Edwards1202
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
IND 40 Final
NE 21
PHI 10 Final
WAS 17
PIT 20 Final
GB 10
NYG 24 Final
SF 6
SEA 33 Final
ARI 19
CAR 34 Final
TB 14
SD 31 Final
NYJ 26
CHI 20 Final
NO 17
DET 14 Final
MIN 27
ATL 17 Final
MIA 10
OAK 23 Final
KC 27
HOU 14 Final
JAC 21
CIN 21 Final
BAL 9