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Holcomb Leads Late Comeback

September 22, 2003|From Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Though Carmen Policy wore the biggest grin in the Cleveland Browns' locker room, the win and the fourth-quarter comeback were even more important to Kelly Holcomb.

Andre Davis caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Holcomb with 29 seconds left as the Browns rallied for two late scores and a 13-12 victory Sunday over the San Francisco 49ers.

The Browns (1-2) had one touchdown in their first 11 quarters this season before scoring two in the fourth against San Francisco, which held Cleveland to 113 yards in the first three quarters.

It was all leading up to another comeback win for a franchise that has specialized in them -- though not always winning -- since rejoining the NFL four seasons ago.

"That's Cleveland Browns football: Just wait until the last minute and 35 seconds of the game," Coach Butch Davis said.

Holcomb beat out Tim Couch in training camp, but two middling performances in losses had put his job and Cleveland's season in jeopardy.

His first three quarters against the 49ers (1-2) weren't much better -- but with two sore ankles and a 12-point deficit, he led the Browns on two stirring drives for the victory.

"We just hung in there, and when we had to make plays, we made them," Holcomb said. "It's just satisfying that when we had to do it, we stepped up."

Both scoring drives ended in touchdown passes to Davis -- the second capping a 91-yard drive comprised mostly of short passes. Kevin Johnson caught 11 passes for 109 yards.

The turnaround thrilled a miniature Dawg Pound at Candlestick Park, which at times was loud enough to drown out the disappointed thousands in San Francisco's sellout crowd.

"I think we saved the season today," said Policy, the Cleveland president who held the same job for eight years with the 49ers. "When you go 0-3, everybody is focused on where you aren't. Now, we can focus on moving forward to where we want to be.... We were Nineresque at the end."

Both offenses sputtered and stalled on a stifling day, but Cleveland found its offense in time to win the clubs' first meeting since 1993. Holcomb was 25 for 38 for 222 yards.

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