CLEVELAND — Bernie Kosar saw no need to gloat, even though his best performance ever was witnessed by a sold-out Cleveland Stadium crowd and a national television audience Monday night.
"I don't look at it as myself showing people what I'm capable of doing," the second-year Cleveland quarterback said after he threw for 401 yards to lead the Browns past the Miami Dolphins, 26-16. "I look at it as our team showing what it can do."
Kosar, who had three potential touchdown passes dropped by his teammates and two other nullified scores, completed 32 of 50 passes without an interception--and without a touchdown.
"I'd be pretty bummed out if we'd lost," he said.
However, the 22-year-old refused to criticize his teammates for their failure to catch the football.
"The balls were a little slick out there," he said. "I was having trouble holding onto it, and so I can see how receivers might, too."
Kosar's pinpoint passing set up four short Matt Bahr field goals and touchdown runs of 16 yards by Harry Holt on an end-around and 13 yards by Curtis Dickey.
Kosar had never thrown for more than 300 yards in a game. His best was 293 yards in a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in September.
"That was a thorough job they did on us tonight," said Dolphin Coach Don Shula, who watched his team fall to 4-6. "Kosar did a good job of moving the ball around and mixing up the offensive formations.
"It was a big game, if we were going to get back into the playoff race. Now . . . we're in tough shape."
The Browns, who improved to 7-3 with their sixth victory in the last seven games, lead the Bengals by a game in the AFC Central Division. The Browns will meet the Raiders Sunday at the Coliseum.
Cleveland led, 16-10, at halftime despite outgaining the Dolphins 351 yards to 176. The Browns finished with 558 total yards.
Miami quarterback Dan Marino threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Mark Duper and Fuad Reveiz kicked a 20-yard field goal to keep the Dolphins close.
Dickey scored four plays after Miami's Ron Davenport fumbled the ball away at his 29 midway through the third period, and Bahr added a 21-yard field goal in the fourth quarter on a drive started by teammate Clay Matthews' interception.
Cleveland's Webster Slaughter, Ozzie Newsome and Brian Brennan all missed first-half passes they could have caught in the end zone, forcing the Browns to settle for the field goals.
Kosar's 401 yards matched Otto Graham's effort in 1952 for the second-best passing production in Browns' history. Brian Sipe holds the team record at 444 yards, set against the Baltimore Colts in 1981.