Browns get first rushing TD of season, win over Titans

CLEVELAND (AP) -- 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.

The 27-year-old, 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

"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."

Game 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 straight games.


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