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Browns' Rally Honors Lerner

October 28, 2002|From Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — As Coach Butch Davis left the field, he looked up to the sky. He sensed his Cleveland Browns did something very special Sunday.

Four days after team owner Al Lerner died, the Browns rallied from an 18-point deficit to beat the New York Jets 24-21.

Quarterback Tim Couch, who threw two touchdown passes and a two-point conversion in the second half, said the team wanted to play well for Lerner and his family.

"This was about courage and heart and it exemplified what Mr. Lerner was all about," said Couch, who finished 33 for 49 for 307 yards.

Phil Dawson's third field goal, from 35 yards, won it after Couch guided another long second-half drive. But the game turned in the third quarter, when the Browns scored 15 points to tie at 21-21.

Couch, shrugged off several near sacks in throwing a five-yard touchdown pass to a diving Mark Campbell, then a four-yarder to rookie Andre' Davis. And his lob under heavy pressure for the tying two-point conversion somehow found Dennis Northcutt in the end zone.

New York (2-5) dominated the first half but stopped pressing its advantage in the third period, when it was outgained, 93-2.

Cleveland (4-4) dominated the final quarter against the Jets -- who wasted three timeouts in the third quarter -- and staged a drive of 8:33 to the winning field goal.

Courtney Brown blocked John Hall's 44-yard field-goal attempt with 16 seconds left.

After holding Cleveland to a three-and-out to start things, the Jets got Santana Moss' 63-yard punt return with just 39 seconds gone. The Browns had nobody on the left side of the field as Moss sped down the sideline for the first punt return for a touchdown of his career, and the second-quickest touchdown in Jet history.

"We gave them some early openings ... but we never felt we were out of the game," Davis said.

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