Browns 22

(4-12, 1-7 away)

Texans 14

(7-9, 3-5 home)

1:00 PM ET, January 2, 2005


1 2 3 4 T
CLE 3 6 7 622
HOU 7 0 0 714

Win strengthens bid to keep Robiskie at coach

HOUSTON (AP) -- David Carr was sacked, hurried and harassed by the Cleveland Browns defense all day Sunday.

But his trouble didn't stop there, as Houston Texans fans piled on the abuse with a steady stream of boos that began in the first quarter and reached a crescendo in the final three minutes of a 22-14 loss to the hapless Browns.

The Texans' franchise quarterback, who was sacked six times, was flattened by Alvin McKinley with 2:34 left in the game. The crowd jeered Carr while he was sprawled on the turf, and when he was escorted off the field.

Backup Tony Banks entered the game with the crowd chanting his name and responded with a 16-yard pass completion.

A play later, when Carr re-entered the game, the crowd reached its nastiest point, voicing displeasure with a roar of boos.

Carr said he didn't blame the fans for their reaction.

"I'd boo too," he said. "From what we were putting on the field today, I was booing in the huddle. It was embarrassing."

Carr went 15-of-25 for 114 yards with a touchdown.

The loss ruined the Texans' (7-9) chances of going .500 this season, but left them with two more wins than in 2003.

Kelly Holcomb's return to the lineup provided a lift to the punchless Browns' offense, and Cleveland, which broke a nine-game losing streak, surprised the Texans with a thoroughly dominating effort in the season finale for both teams.

"It's very disappointing to come out and lose to a team that has only won three games before this one," said Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson. "There's no excuse for this one."

Lee Suggs had his third straight 100-yard rushing day and Phil Dawson kicked a team-record tying five field goals, giving Browns interim coach Terry Robiskie his only win in five games since replacing Butch Davis on Nov. 30.

Since Davis resigned following a wacky loss to Cincinnati, Robiskie and many of the players unabashedly campaigned for turning his gig into a full-time job. The Browns' inspired performance spoke volumes about the team's belief in the wildly popular former offensive coordinator.

Cleveland (4-12) looked much better with Holcomb than rookie Luke McCown at the helm of its offense.

After missing more than a month with cracked ribs, Holcomb led the Browns to their best offensive performance since that 58-48 loss to the Bengals. Holcomb started that game, throwing a franchise-record tying five TDs.

Against the Texans, Holcomb finished 20-of-29 for 228 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Suggs had 131 yards on 26 carries, and most importantly, no fumbles a week after coughing up the ball three times in a loss at Miami.

The Texans, on the other hand, rarely got anything going Sunday.

"We need to be slapped in the face," said Texans tight end Billy Miller. "It was despicable. It was disgraceful. It was one of those learning experiences."

The lowlights started when Texans cornerback DeMarcus Faggins intercepted Holcomb at the Cleveland 37 to give Houston excellent field position with 42 seconds left in the half. But after a quick first down, Carr was sacked for a 10-yard loss, threw incomplete and was harassed into a 1-yard scramble.

The sellout crowd of 70,724 roundly booed the team, which trailed 9-7, but things only got worse for the Texans after the break.

Holcomb threw an interception on the Browns' first play after halftime, but Houston went three-and-out. Then Holcomb capped an 80-yard drive with a 9-yard touchdown pass to tight end Steve Heiden to end Houston's 13-quarter streak of not allowing a touchdown, an NFL high this season.

Domanick Davis scored on a 1-yard run and finished with 103 yards on 17 carries for Houston.

"Our team has made progress, but we certainly aren't where we want to be," Texans coach Dom Capers said. "We'll get back to work and do everything we can to improve this football team."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Scoring Summary

cleFG10:05Phil Dawson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 5 plays, 53 yds, 2:33
cleFG14:15Phil Dawson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, -3 yds, 1:24
Drive info: 9 plays, 73 yds, 4:48
Drive info: 9 plays, 73 yds, 4:48
cleFG11:31Phil Dawson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 54 yds, 4:31
cleFG2:05Phil Dawson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 76 yds, 5:41
cleFG4:05Phil Dawson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 49 yds, 4:46
houTD1:27Domanick Williams, 1 yd run
Drive info: 9 plays, 64 yds, 2:27
Drive info: 11 plays, 80 yds, 6:56
Drive info: 9 plays, 64 yds, 2:27
Drive info: 11 plays, 80 yds, 6:56