1:00 PM ET, January 1, 2006
CLEVELAND (ESPN.com news services) -- Sudden turmoil and rumors twisting around the Cleveland Browns led to something factual: their first division win.Dennis Northcutt's 62-yard punt return for a touchdown helped the Browns close a tumultuous final weekend Sunday with a 20-16 win over the Baltimore Ravens, who finished 0-8 on the road.
|It was over when ...|
|Dennis Northcutt took a bow after his 62-yard punt return for a touchdown gave the Browns the lead in the third quarter.||Game ball goes to ...|
|Northcutt. Earlier this season, he twice brought back punts for TDs only to have them nullified by penalties. But his return Sunday stuck, ending the Browns' season with the first win in the AFC North.|
According to the sources, Sanders, 38, is serious about wanting to continue his career in football as a head coach, if not in the NFL then perhaps one day at his alma mater, Florida State.
Sanders would not comment on his future after the game."No retirement questions," Sanders said. "We'll handle that in Baltimore."The Ravens haven't won outside Maryland since Nov. 14 last season when they beat the New York Jets in overtime."Today's loss epitomized our season," said cornerback Samari Rolle. "We're not supposed to lose to them, and we wanted to send Deion out right. It was a dream come true to play with him. He has been great for the game."The Browns trailed by 10 when Frye's TD pass to Bryant got Cleveland within 16-13 in the third quarter.That's when Northcutt came through.Fielding Dave Zastudil's kick near midfield, Northcutt started left, spun right out of a tackle and picked up a wall of blockers down the right sideline. Wide receiver Frisman Jackson dived to knock off the final tackler."I was running out of gas and Frisman gave me the final block," Northcutt said. "I knew he'd be there."Northcutt didn't know Jackson would appear again in the end zone seconds later. After bowing to the crowd, Northcutt was raising up when Jackson jumped over his head, clearing his teammate like a kid playing leap frog."It wasn't anything we planned," Jackson said. "I yelled to warn him, 'I'm going to jump.' Whether he bowed or not, I was going to jump on him. It was a great run."
Ravens K Matt Stover booted three field goals, giving him 1,593 points and moving him into eighth place on the NFL's career scoring list. ... Droughns (1,232 yards) and Bryant (1,009) are the first tandem of Browns to go over 1,000 in rushing and receiving in the same season since Mike Pruitt and Ozzie Newsome in 1981. ... Browns K Phil Dawson had two field goals and tied his career high with 100 points.Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Team Stat Comparison
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||3.8||3.6|
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
|FG||0:39||Matt Stover 21 Yd |
Drive: 9 plays, 47 yds, 4:54
|FG||6:44||Matt Stover 43 Yd |
Drive: 6 plays, 16 yds, 2:38
|TD||7:55||Adalius Thomas 9 Yd Fumble Return (Matt Stover Kick)||13||0|
|FG||12:17||Phil Dawson 21 Yd |
Drive: 9 plays, 66 yds, 4:22
|FG||15:00||Phil Dawson 39 Yd |
Drive: 7 plays, 37 yds, 1:09
|FG||6:15||Matt Stover 31 Yd |
Drive: 5 plays, 16 yds, 2:02
|TD||7:33||Antonio Bryant 6 Yd Pass From Charlie Frye (Phil Dawson Kick) |
Drive: 3 plays, 24 yds, 1:18
|TD||8:55||Dennis Northcutt 62 Yd Punt Return (Phil Dawson Kick)||16||20|