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CLEVELAND 27, CINCINNATI 20

Brown Win Fits to a Guarantee

November 18, 2002|From Associated Press

CINCINNATI — Chad Johnson dropped his head and covered his face with a black-gloved hand as the jubilant Cleveland Browns walked his way.

Now, they were going to do the talking. Guaranteed.

Tim Couch matched his career high with three touchdown passes and the Browns stopped Corey Dillon twice from the one-yard line in the closing minutes, preserving a 27-20 victory Sunday over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Johnson, a Bengal receiver, provided a grudge Sunday by guaranteeing a win, just as he did before Cincinnati (1-9) beat the Houston Texans. This time, his boldness backfired.

"I told him there's nothing wrong with that, but some comments you've got to keep to yourself," said Cleveland linebacker Earl Holmes, who sought Johnson out on the field. "You can't guarantee a victory. It came back to smack him in the face."

Said Johnson: "I'll do it again. I'm not going to say when, but I'll do it again. I'm not going to say we had it today, but we competed. We had every chance to win."

The Browns (5-5) stayed in playoff contention by stopping Dillon from point-blank range.

Brandon Bennett returned a kickoff to the seven-yard line with the Browns leading, 27-20.

Dillon ran the ball twice to get to the one, then was tripped up by Holmes as he went off right tackle. On fourth and goal from a foot away, the Bengals sent Dillon to the right once again behind tackle Willie Anderson.

Darren Hambrick hit Dillon first, and Holmes shoved him back for no gain with 5:51 left. It was the same spot on the field where Dillon tripped and came up inches short in a 30-24 loss to Tennessee on Oct. 27.

"We ran our best back behind our best blocker and didn't make it," Coach Dick LeBeau said.

The Bengals got the ball again at their 11 with 1:41 to go and no timeouts. They drove to the Brown 24, where Peter Warrick was tackled after a catch, but the clock ran out before the Bengals could line up for a throw into the end zone.

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