Final

Ravens 16

(6-10, 0-8 away)

Browns 20

(6-10, 4-4 home)

1:00 PM ET, January 1, 2006

 

1 2 3 4 T
BAL 0 13 3 016
CLE 0 6 14 020

Top Performers

Passing: C. Frye (CLE) - 199 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: J. Lewis (BAL) - 20 CAR, 89 YDS

Receiving: A. Bryant (CLE) - 9 REC, 123 YDS, 1 TD

Browns rally for AFC North win, keep Ravens winless on road

CLEVELAND (ESPN.com news services) -- Sudden turmoil and rumors twisting around the Cleveland Browns led to something factual: their first division win.

Dennis Northcutt's 62-yard punt return for a touchdown helped the Browns close a tumultuous final weekend Sunday with a 20-16 win over the Baltimore Ravens, who finished 0-8 on the road.

It was over when ...
Dennis Northcutt took a bow after his 62-yard punt return for a touchdown gave the Browns the lead in the third quarter.
Game ball goes to ...
Northcutt. Earlier this season, he twice brought back punts for TDs only to have them nullified by penalties. But his return Sunday stuck, ending the Browns' season with the first win in the AFC North.

Earlier this season, Northcutt twice brought back punts for TDs only to have them nullified by penalties. But after his third-quarter jaunt, when he reversed field and picked up some blocks, Northcutt checked to be certain there were no penalty flags and waved his arms like an official.

"I got one," Northcutt said. "No flags. Finally. My goal was to get a few, but at least I got one."

Cleveland safety Brian Russell's second interception of Kyle Boller with 58 seconds left gave the Browns (6-10), who were embarrassed 41-0 by Pittsburgh a week ago, end the season with their first win in the AFC North.

They also finished with two more victories under first-year coach Romeo Crennel than they had in 2004, and they closed with a come-from-behind victory behind rookie quarterback Charlie Frye.

He survived a first-half pounding and finished 22-of-38 for 199 yards with a 6-yard TD pass to Antonio Bryant.

Cleveland's Reuben Droughns got just 40 yards, but broke Hall of Famer Jim Brown's club record for most rushing attempts in a season, ending with 309. Bryant had nine catches for a career-high 123 yards, giving him 1,009 this season.

"I've been here six years and this is one of our biggest wins," tight end Aaron Shea said. "We fought back."

The Browns' home finale took place two days after a report the club was planning to fire general manager Phil Savage, who has been with Cleveland less than one year. Team president John Collins denied the move was even considered and said the young front office has worked out any differences.

Savage, who scouted a bowl game Saturday, refused to address his situation before the game. Afterward, he had little to say.

"I'm still general manager of the Browns," said Savage, who was asked if he felt better about his status. "We won and I'm excited about that."

Several of the Browns said they were caught off-guard by reports Savage's job was in jeopardy. Not Northcutt.

"Nothing shocks me," said Northcutt, drafted by Cleveland in 2000. "I've seen four coaches, four offensive coordinators, tons of quarterbacks and a couple of GMs, too."

The Ravens (6-10) have lost 11 straight on the road and finished with their worst record since Brian Billick took over as coach in 1999. Earlier in the week, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti ended speculation over Billick's future, saying his coach would be back in 2006.

Deion Sanders, however, won't return. Baltimore's fleet-footed "Prime Time" cornerback is expected to retire in the near future at the age of 38, ending his career as one of the game's most gifted and flamboyant personalities, team sources told ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

According to the sources, Sanders, 38, is serious about wanting to continue his career in football as a head coach, if not in the NFL then perhaps one day at his alma mater, Florida State.

Sanders would not comment on his future after the game.

"No retirement questions," Sanders said. "We'll handle that in Baltimore."

The Ravens haven't won outside Maryland since Nov. 14 last season when they beat the New York Jets in overtime.

"Today's loss epitomized our season," said cornerback Samari Rolle. "We're not supposed to lose to them, and we wanted to send Deion out right. It was a dream come true to play with him. He has been great for the game."

The Browns trailed by 10 when Frye's TD pass to Bryant got Cleveland within 16-13 in the third quarter.

That's when Northcutt came through.

Fielding Dave Zastudil's kick near midfield, Northcutt started left, spun right out of a tackle and picked up a wall of blockers down the right sideline. Wide receiver Frisman Jackson dived to knock off the final tackler.

"I was running out of gas and Frisman gave me the final block," Northcutt said. "I knew he'd be there."

Northcutt didn't know Jackson would appear again in the end zone seconds later. After bowing to the crowd, Northcutt was raising up when Jackson jumped over his head, clearing his teammate like a kid playing leap frog.

"It wasn't anything we planned," Jackson said. "I yelled to warn him, 'I'm going to jump.' Whether he bowed or not, I was going to jump on him. It was a great run."

Game notes


Ravens K Matt Stover booted three field goals, giving him 1,593 points and moving him into eighth place on the NFL's career scoring list. ... Droughns (1,232 yards) and Bryant (1,009) are the first tandem of Browns to go over 1,000 in rushing and receiving in the same season since Mike Pruitt and Ozzie Newsome in 1981. ... Browns K Phil Dawson had two field goals and tied his career high with 100 points.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
BAL
CLE
1st Downs1212
Passing 1st downs
710
Rushing 1st downs
52
1st downs from penalties
00
3rd down efficiency
4-186-18
4th down efficiency
0-20-1
Total Plays7065
Total Yards267226
Yards per play3.83.5
Total Drives1616
Passing138172
Comp-Att
15-3622-37
Yards per pass
3.64.1
Interceptions thrown
21
Sacks-Yards Lost
2-135-27
Rushing12954
Rushing Attempts
3223
Yards per rush
4.02.3
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-30-2
Penalties8-649-64
Turnovers33
Fumbles lost
12
Interceptions thrown
21
Defensive / Special Teams TDs11
Possession29:3430:26

Passing Leaders

BALC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Boller15/361514.2022-13
CLEC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Frye22/371995.4115-27

Rushing Leaders

BALCARYDSAVGTDLG
Lewis20894.5016
Taylor8364.5012
CLECARYDSAVGTDLG
Droughns19402.1014
Frye284.0016

Receiving Leaders

BALRECYDSAVGTDLG
Mason37324.3031
Lewis3299.7013
CLERECYDSAVGTDLG
Bryant912313.7133
Northcutt6416.8010

Scoring Summary

SECOND QUARTERBALCLE
balFG14:25Matt Stover 13 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 13 plays, 47 yds, 10:10
30
balFG8:21Matt Stover 35 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 6 plays, 16 yds, 2:33
60
balTD7:15Adalius Thomas, 9 yd fumble return (Matt Stover kick is good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 9 yds, 0:55
130
cleFG2:47Phil Dawson 14 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 66 yds, 4:11
133
cleFG0:03Phil Dawson 31 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 37 yds, 1:06
136
THIRD QUARTERBALCLE
balFG8:49Matt Stover 23 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 5 plays, 16 yds, 1:58
166
cleTD7:34Antonio Bryant, 6 yd pass from Charlie Frye (Phil Dawson kick is good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 24 yds, 0:58
1613
cleTD6:27Dennis Northcutt, 62 yd punt return (Phil Dawson kick is good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 55 yds, 0:54
1620