Final

Browns 12

(4-7, 1-5 away)

Vikings 24

(6-5, 4-1 home)

1:00 PM ET, November 27, 2005

 

1 2 3 4 T
CLE 0 3 3 612
MIN 3 7 7 724

Top Performers

Passing: T. Dilfer (CLE) - 214 YDS, 1 TD, 2 INT

Rushing: R. Droughns (CLE) - 19 CAR, 73 YDS

Receiving: T. Taylor (MIN) - 5 REC, 70 YDS

Vikings beat Browns, push record to 6-5

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- These Minnesota Vikings are proud to be boring. Most of their flashy teams in the past wound up failing anyway.

It was over when ...
The Browns kept turning the ball over. QB Trent Dilfer fumbled twice, leading to two Minnesota scores, and was intercepted once, and rookie QB Charlie Frye was also picked off once.
Game ball goes to ...
The Vikings defense, which forced the four turnovers. Three of those led to TD passes from Brad Johnson to Marcus Robinson.
ESPN's take ...
Eric Allen The reason why the Vikings have won four consecutive games is because they are playing better defense and the schedule has become easier for them. Brad Johnson is dinking and dunking and isn't throwing downfield as much as Daunte Culpepper so that when he does go deep it catches the defense off-guard. Sometimes the loss of a star player can cause a team to rally and that seems to have happened with the Vikings.
-- Eric Allen

After enduring a miserable, mistake-filled start to their season, the Vikings are winning with a grind-it-out-style -- and by taking advantage of everyone else's errors.

Brad Johnson threw three touchdown passes to Marcus Robinson, each of them set up by Cleveland turnovers, and the Vikings beat the Browns 24-12 on Sunday for their fourth straight victory.

"That's the only way we can win," coach Mike Tice said. "It's the type of talent we have. It's the type of quarterback we have. We're going to be have to be that style."

Rookie C.J. Mosley and Keith Newman both forced fumbles by Trent Dilfer with sacks, leading to Robinson's first two scores.

Dilfer, who hurt his right knee in the third quarter, was replaced early in the fourth by rookie Charlie Frye -- who was intercepted by Darren Sharper on the first play. Dilfer was the best option for Cleveland's next possession, coach Romeo Crennel said, but Sharper picked him off in the end zone to seal it for Minnesota (6-5).

Johnson, 4-0 since taking over as the starter after Daunte Culpepper's season ended because of a knee injury, was his usual efficient self. He went 19-for-28 for 207 yards, with one interception, spreading the ball between Robinson, Travis Taylor and scrappy tight end Jermaine Wiggins.

"That's just kind of the way it is," Johnson said. "It's been so explosive for so long for a lot of different reasons. Early in the year, we got behind the 8-ball. But now, playing with the lead changes the way you play the game and the way you attack."

After defeating the Miami Dolphins 22-0 last week, the Browns (4-7) continued to play pretty well on defense -- holding the Vikings to 38 yards rushing through the first three quarters.

Reuben Droughns ran 19 times for a tough 73 yards and had five receptions for 46 yards, but he had only five carries after halftime.

November's leading rushers
Larry Johnson 569
Shaun Alexander 563
Warrick Dunn 478
Reuben Droughns 401
Edgerrin James 315

"I'd rather compete and be close than worry about how many times I get the ball," said Droughns, who moved within 59 yards of becoming Cleveland's first 1,000-yard rusher since 1985.

"Not my call," he added, smiling.

A first-quarter pass nicked off the hands of first-round draft pick Braylon Edwards and into the arms of Antoine Winfield for Dilfer's first interception. Leading receiver Antonio Bryant dropped a second-down pass in the second quarter, with Cleveland trying to move into field-goal range.

And then there were the fumbles, and Frye's interception, that preceded touchdown drives by Minnesota of 35, 17, and 32 yards.

"It's very frustrating," Droughns said. "You always want to take a step forward, not two steps back."

Dilfer threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Dennis Northcutt with 1:06 left, cutting the deficit to 12, but Droughns was stuffed in the backfield on the two-point conversion. Dilfer finished 23-for-35 for 214 yards.

The Browns fell to 1-5 on the road.

"If you have to go back and re-teach and make up ground that you thought you covered," Crennel said, "you're not making progress."

Mosley had two of Minnesota's sacks after replacing Kevin Williams at tackle. Williams, an All-Pro last year who has just one sack this season, sprained his right knee in the first quarter and didn't return.

The success by Mosley, a sixth-round draft pick who hasn't played much, was more evidence of a defense that is getting better and gaining confidence. Besides the five turnovers, Minnesota had a season-high five sacks.

Though they will still have a difficult time making the playoffs, the Vikings have come a long way since losing four of their first five and embarrassing themselves with a bye-week boat party that produced allegations of sexual misconduct by several players.

"I don't know if we'll ever put it all together. We're pretty dysfunctional," Tice said. "It's a maturity. I don't know where that came from. It probably came from some of the adversity we've faced."

Game notes


Vikings rookie Marcus Johnson, who started for Mike Rosenthal at right tackle, was pulled after his third false-start penalty on the opening drive. Later, Johnson negated a touchdown run by Mewelde Moore with a holding penalty -- the fourth of his five infractions. ... Cleveland tight end Steve Heiden had five catches for 55 yards. He played at Rushford-Peterson High School in southeast Minnesota. ... Sharper now has seven INTs and 265 return yards, which established a Vikings season record. Jimmy Hitchcock held the old mark, with 242 in 1998. ... One highlight for the Browns was Joshua Cribbs, who returned five kickoffs for 155 yards and a long of 48. ... Minnesota went 4-0 in November for the first time since 1999. ... Cleveland starting left guard Joe Andruzzi (knee, calf) missed his second straight game.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
CLE
MIN
1st Downs2018
Passing 1st downs
1312
Rushing 1st downs
55
1st downs from penalties
21
3rd down efficiency
2-87-14
4th down efficiency
0-00-0
Total Plays6161
Total Yards262281
Yards per play4.34.6
Total Drives1411
Passing184200
Comp-Att
23-3619-28
Yards per pass
4.56.7
Interceptions thrown
31
Sacks-Yards Lost
5-302-7
Rushing7881
Rushing Attempts
2031
Yards per rush
3.92.6
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-40-3
Penalties6-307-49
Turnovers52
Fumbles lost
21
Interceptions thrown
31
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession27:4432:16

Passing Leaders

CLEC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Dilfer23/352146.1125-30
Frye0/100.0010-0
MINC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Johnson19/282077.4312-7

Rushing Leaders

CLECARYDSAVGTDLG
Droughns19733.8014
Dilfer155.005
MINCARYDSAVGTDLG
Moore21673.208
Fason3144.709

Receiving Leaders

CLERECYDSAVGTDLG
Heiden55511.0016
Droughns5469.2033
MINRECYDSAVGTDLG
Taylor57014.0018
Wiggins56713.4024

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERCLEMIN
minFG8:02Paul Edinger 36 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 15 plays, 42 yds, 6:53
03
SECOND QUARTERCLEMIN
minTD4:27Marcus Robinson, 15 yd pass from Brad Johnson (Paul Edinger kick is good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 35 yds, 0:56
010
cleFG0:08Phil Dawson 25 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, 63 yds, 4:09
310
THIRD QUARTERCLEMIN
minTD7:29Marcus Robinson, 15 yd pass from Brad Johnson (Paul Edinger kick is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 17 yds, 2:06
317
cleFG3:32Phil Dawson 31 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 7 plays, 31 yds, 3:44
617
FOURTH QUARTERCLEMIN
minTD8:52Marcus Robinson, 2 yd pass from Brad Johnson (Paul Edinger kick is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 32 yds, 1:47
624
cleTD1:12Dennis Northcutt, 9 yd pass from Trent Dilfer
Drive info: 11 plays, 52 yds, 1:54
1224