7:42 P.M. MDT: Besides the third-down issues — which, of course, were chronicled in the first-quarter blog — there were some other numbers of interest:
FIRST DOWNS: Browns 7, Broncos 3
TOTAL YARDAGE: Browns 106, Broncos 66
OK, gotta refocus on the game …
7:44 P.M. MDT: Leave it to John Lynch, the ancient mariner of the Broncos’ defensive sailboat, for a third-and-1 stop. Lynch nabbed Jamal Lewis in the backfield, holding him up for no gain. But it might not allow the No. 1 defense to force its first punt of the preseason … Cleveland has called timeout and its offense remains on the field for now.
7:47 P.M. MDT: Yep, they’re going for it … and it looks like the Broncos got the stop, but it won’t matter, because Kellen Winslow committed a false-start infraction. So there’s the punt after all …
7:48 P.M. MDT: Denver’s first-team offense will take over at its 20 following a touchback on Dave Zastudil’s punt.
7:50 P.M. MDT: D’Qwell Jackson’s got some turbo boost — which he showed in catching Cecil Sapp near the left sideline. Pretty much nullified a great block by Matt Lepsis to spring Sapp loose … One play later, Jay Cutler finds a wide-open Brandon Stokley for 26 yards.
7:51 P.M. MDT: Some other receivers working their way into the rotation — Glenn Martinez and Brian Clark. For Martinez, it is his Broncos debut; he was in uniform but did not play last week and missed the San Francisco preseason game entirely.
7:53 P.M. MDT: Now Domenik Hixon’s in; he catches a 5-yard pass out of the slot … Denver still in third-and-5, and a harried Cutler finds Selvin Young, who would have been better off dropping the pass than catching it; the 5-yard loss pushes Denver out of field-goal range.
7:55 P.M. MDT: Todd Sauerbrun tries to pooch it; it hits about five feet from the goal line but bounces into the end zone. A net of 20 yards on the punt … and Cleveland takes over possession at its 20 with 9:41 left in the quarter.
7:57 P.M. MDT: Charlie Frye, exit stage left … Derek Anderson comes in, while the rest of the Browns No. 1 offense remains intact.
7:58 P.M. MDT: Ian Gold had the Browns’ first-and-10 play from their 20 diagnosed, but he missed the tackle on Jamal Lewis. Fourteen yards later, the Browns are on the move at the Cleveland 34. One play later, Lewis is wide open and scoots forward for 16.
7:59 P.M. MDT: Jason Wright relieves Lewis and scoots up the middle for seven yards of his own … Denver has Jimmy Kennedy in at left defensive tackle … Anderson is now 3-of-3 after finding Steve Heiden, moving Cleveland to the Denver 34.
8:01 P.M. MDT: Cleveland now at the Denver 21 after Anderson finds Kellen Winslow. Denver has yet to even force a third down on this drive. In the TV booth, ex-Broncos running back Reggie Rivers is declaring this “gut-check time.”
8:02 P.M. MDT: Ryan Tucker commits a false-start infraction, putting Cleveland in second-and-9 from the Denver 20.
8:03 P.M. MDT: Lynch with another big hit, clobbering Steve Heiden to limit him to a 2-yard gain. Cleveland now with third-and-7 from the Denver 18. Maybe this will get the crowd into it … there’s palpable foot-stomping for the first time … but it doesn’t help the defense, as Winslow slides for a 10-yard reception in the right flat. Cleveland hurries to the line of scrimmage, but Denver will challenge the ruling.
8:06 P.M. MDT: Still a completion. First-and-goal, Cleveland, at the Denver 8.
8:07 P.M. MDT: Well, here comes a third down — after two Jamal Lewis runs net five yards. Third-and-goal forthcoming. Crowd making some noise … and it helps, as Anderson loses the football as he pump-fakes. It’s a two-yard loss — and it’s also the two-minute warning here in a rapid first half.
8:11 P.M. MDT: Phil Dawson hits the field-goal attempt, but a flag flies … offsides against Dre’ Bly … declined, and it’s 10-3, Cleveland, with 1:59 left in the half.
8:13 P.M. MDT: Broncos at the 20 after a kickoff touchback … First-and-10, shotgun formation … and some dazzling moves by Brandon Marshall after the reception only net him one more yard. They did, however, allow him to get out of bounds and stop the clock.
8:14 P.M. MDT: Cutler finds Marshall wide open in the right flat … he breaks a tackle and ends up with a 22-yard gain to the Cleveland 49. Time out, Denver, with 95 seconds left before halftime.
8:15 P.M. MDT: Now it’s Daniel Graham as the target for 11 yards and another first down … Cutler then scrambles for six more yards, with a flag flying in at the end after Cutler dove forward … It’s an unnecessary-roughness infraction against Shaun Smith, who spins Cutler’s legs after the play … That moves Denver to the Cleveland 17 with 1:07 left.
8:17 P.M. MDT: Nice change-of-pace draw play to Cecil Sapp … you can make that kind of call when you’re inside the 20, have two timeouts and over a minute to play … That picked up 10 yards to the Cleveland 7 … With no timeout called and the clock ticking, the ball goes to Sapp once again, and he picks up five more yards to the Cleveland 2 … An impressive drive so far, but the Broncos’ No. 1 offense has had red-zone troubles since the game-opening drive at San Francisco.
8:18 P.M. MDT: Last week, Kyle Johnson couldn’t hang on when the Broncos went to their bread-and-butter goal-line play — the playfake rollout-and-toss-to-the-fullback. Tonight, he does, and the game is deadlocked with 33 seconds left. Cutler looked quite composed and downright comfortable in the hurry-up offense, and you have to like the draw to Sapp in the Cleveland red zone when Cleveland’s ‘D’ was thinking pass.
8:20 P.M. MDT: Ernster’s kickoff sails 68 yards … probably not what he wanted. It’s returned 24 yards to the Cleveland 26.
8:22 P.M. MDT: A terrific individual pass-rush by Elvis Dumervil to get to Derek Anderson — one that saw the defensive end push his blocker back into Anderson — was ruined when Dumervil was flagged for a face mask. It’s the equivalent of a perfect vault with a flubbed landing, and it moves the Browns up to the Denver 37 since the infraction was enforced after the four-yard sack.
8:23 P.M. MDT: Another outstanding pass rush by Dumervil, looking to make amends … this time he flushes Anderson out of the pocket, allowing Amon Gordon to take advantage for the sack and the five-yard loss.
8:26 P.M. MDT: Halftime, tie game.
Tags: Cleveland Browns