CLEVELAND (AP) -- The Romeo Crennel era began with a bang, some
booms and more than a few bolts.
Cleveland's first-year coach had his debut diluted by some
severe weather that caused a lengthy delay, but he got his first
exhibition win as the Browns rallied for a 17-14 win over the New
York Giants on Saturday night.
Rookie Tyler Jones kicked a 41-yard field goal with 6:18 left as
Crennel got a victory that may not count in the standings but
should help him get the Browns to believe.
Another rookie, quarterback Charlie Frye, a Browns fan since he
was a kid, threw a 19-yard TD pass to tight end Paul Irons in the
third quarter to put Cleveland up 14-7. New York's Tim Hasselbeck
tossed a 9-yarder to Ataveus Cash to tie it.
After 24 years as an assistant, including the last four with New
England, Crennel was on the sideline as the man in charge for the
first time. He's trying to turn around a team that went 4-12 last
season and has made just one playoff appearance since 1999.
Crennel has some major work to do. The Browns don't have many
playmakers on either side of the ball and little depth.
"A win is a win is a win," Crennel said. "We were able to do
what we had to do. Still, as you probably noticed, there's a lot of
work to do."
Both teams showed why the NFL plays a preseason as there were
penalties (28 for 236 yards), missed tackles and enough bad plays
to give Crennel and Tom Coughlin good reason to push their players
harder during practice.
Giants second-year quarterback Eli Manning, who has struggled to
develop chemistry with his receivers during training camp, threw a
20-yard TD pass to Plaxico Burress in the first quarter -- moments
after the teams returned from a 1-hour, 19-minute weather delay.
Manning finished 6-of-8 for 53 yards in three series. On his TD
pass, Manning patiently waited for Burress to get behind cornerback
Gary Baxter before lobbing his pass into the left corner.
"We had a little play action," Manning said. "You're really
looking for the inside guys on the seams, but they had them
covered. I knew I had Plaxico one-on-one on the outside, so I threw
it up and I threw it high where only he could catch it and he made
a great catch. That's one of the good things about having a big
receiver out there."
Cleveland's William Green had a 1-yard TD run and picked up 44
yards on 12 carries. He's in a three-way competition with Lee Suggs
and Reuben Droughns to be the No. 1 tailback. Suggs had 11 yards on
three runs. Droughns sat out with a hamstring injury.
Browns quarterback Trent Dilfer couldn't do much with a
Cleveland offense that spent most of its time going in reverse.
Hurt by four penalties -- two holding calls against guard Cosey
Coleman -- the Browns lost 6 yards on their first two possessions
with Dilfer, who went 2-of-5 for 16 yards.
"I thought we did all right," Dilfer said. "Obviously, the
penalties kill you. You'd like to overcome them but we were in such
a hole it was hard to get out of."
Doug Johnson, who has been battling with Frye to be Cleveland's
No. 2 QB, drove the Browns 80 yards in 15 plays with Green's plunge
tying it 7-7 in the second quarter.
Seconds after Manning took the opening kick and drove the ball
in five plays to Cleveland's 46-yard line, referee Terry McAulay
suspended play at 8:09 p.m. Most of the announced crowd of 67,429
waited patiently as the skies over Lake Erie and outside Browns
Stadium were illuminated by spectacular lightning strikes.
"There's nothing you can do about the weather," Crennel said.
"We played it safe. The NFL played it safe."
Play resumed at 9:28, and four plays later, Manning hooked up
with Burress, who signed with the Giants as a free agent after five
seasons with Pittsburgh.
The Browns, who have been decimated by injuries in the past few
years, sustained their first significant on-field one of 2005 on
the opening kickoff as rookie safety Brodney Pool suffered a
Cleveland rookie wide receiver Braylon Edwards suited up but
didn't play. The No. 3 overall draft pick ended his contract
holdout Thursday by signing a five-year, $40 million deal but