CLEVELAND (AP) -- Earl Little looked up at the scoreboard late in
the fourth quarter and had a flashback to steamy Saturday
afternoons playing in college.
Question on the Cardinals: Will they be forced to rely on the passing attack if Shipp is sidelined?
They'll be forced to rely on the passing attack and I don't see them being able to compete doing so. Over the past few weeks Shipp has become the key to this offense. He keeps defenses honest and allows QB Jeff Blake time to make plays while also forcing opposing defense to occasionally go into single coverage. It'll be extremely difficult for the Cardinals to stay competitive without Shipp.
Question on the Browns: Can this team overcome the turmoil to make a playoff run?
With the way this league is going, it's very possible. The Browns are merely a game back in the AFC North and three of their six remaining games are against division rivals. The AFC North, as well as the Browns' prospects for a return to the playoffs, could go to the last week of the season when they face Cincinnati.
Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.
"It was like being back at the University of Miami beating up
people," the Browns safety said. "Man, it felt great."
After a week of controversy, soul searching and self-inflicted
wounds, the Browns took out their frustrations on Arizona with a
44-6 rout Sunday of the Cardinals.
Kelly Holcomb passed for 392 yards and three touchdowns and the
Browns showed no signs of disarray while rolling to their most
lopsided win since 1989.
On Tuesday, coach Butch Davis released wide receiver Kevin
Johnson -- Cleveland's leading receiver -- and on Thursday the NFL
suspended star running back William Green four games for violating
the league's substance abuse program.
But the Browns showed no after effects from the upheaval with
their best all-around effort this season.
"We needed to make a stand," Davis said. "This was put up or
shut up time for us. This was the defining moment of the season.
This was not about vindication or validation."
It certainly helped the Browns that they were facing the
Cardinals (3-7), who didn't cross midfield until late in the first
half, were outgained 235-60 by halftime and finished with just 10
Cleveland had 481 total yards to Arizona's 187.
"From the top down, we got outcoached, out-prepared and most
certainly outplayed in every aspect of the game," Cardinals coach
Dave McGinnis said. "This was a humiliating defeat. This was as
lopsided from one side to the other as I have ever been around. I
haven't looked at the stats -- I don't need to. I lived through
Holcomb stayed in until the end and finished 29-of-35 with no
interceptions. He completed passes to eight receivers in recording
the fifth highest yardage total in team history.
"Hopefully, we can do that every week," Holcomb said.
With their offensive line finally intact after weeks of
reshuffling because of injuries, the Browns scored their most
points since returning to the league in 1999.
Following Johnson's release, Davis held a team meeting to
explain his actions so his players understood that what he was
doing was in the best interest of the Browns.
Apparently, they believed him, responding with three days of
crisp practices and Sunday's startling win.
"The week was incredible," Quincy Morgan said. "People were
talking bad about us, but we came together as a team. This isn't
all about K.J. (Johnson). When he was here we were 3-6."
While there was speculation that Johnson's release would
fracture the team, linebacker Brant Boyer sensed during the week
that the Browns were unified.
"Guys showed that they wanted to keep fighting," he said.
"All of this stuff brought us together."
Holcomb spread the ball around to his talented trio of wideouts,
hitting Andre' Davis, Dennis Northcutt and Morgan with his scoring
Morgan's 68-yard TD reception, in which he outran two Arizona
defenders for the final 40 yards, put Cleveland ahead 34-6 in the
Jackson's 4-yard run on the second play of the fourth quarter
made it 41-6, but Davis didn't back off and left his offensive
starters in until the end.
Andre' Davis, who had replaced Johnson in the starting lineup
last week, had a career-high seven catches for 117 yards and one
TD. Morgan finished with 116 yards, giving Cleveland two receivers
with more than 100 yards in a game for the first time since 1983
(Ozzie Newsome, Ricky Feacher).
"We didn't do anything, period," he said. "I'm dumbfounded."
The Browns scored on their first four possessions, and if not
for bogging down on two drives inside Arizona's 20-yard line in the
first half and settling for field goals, Cleveland would have led
by more than 20-3 at halftime.
Arizona has lost 10 straight road games. ... Browns DE
Kenard Lang missed his first game this season with a back injury.
... Cardinals LB Ray Thompson sprained his neck trying to make a
tackle in the third quarter. X-rays were negative. ... Browns
rookie RB Lee Suggs played for the first time this season after
undergoing shoulder surgery. He gained 5 yards on five carries and
had a solid tackle while covering a kickoff. ... The Browns are 7-1
(3-0 in 2003) when Davis catches a TD pass.