Final

Broncos 34

(5-4, 2-2 away)

Browns 30

(3-6, 1-4 home)

Coverage: NFL

8:15 PM ET, November 6, 2008

FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, OH 

1 2 3 4 T
DEN 7 3 3 2134
CLE 7 13 3 730

Top Performers

Passing: J. Cutler (DEN) - 447 YDS, 3 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: R. Torain (DEN) - 12 CAR, 68 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: E. Royal (DEN) - 6 REC, 164 YDS, 1 TD

Cutler's 447 yards spoil Quinn's starting debut

Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- John Elway isn't the only Denver quarterback capable of breaking Cleveland's heart.

Jay Cutler pulled off this fourth-quarter comeback, turning Brady Quinn's big night into his own prime-time showcase.

Rarified Air

Jay Cutler's 447 passing yards against the Browns was the third-highest total in Broncos history. Here's a look at the list:


Most Passing Yards Single
Game, Broncos History
Year Player Yards
2004 Jake Plummer 499
2000 Gus Frerotte 462
2008 Jay Cutler 447
1962 Frank Tripucka 447

Cutler passed for a career-high 447 yards and threw three touchdown passes in the final 15 minutes Thursday night -- the last an 11-yarder to Brandon Marshall with 1:14 remaining -- to rally the broken Broncos to a 34-30 win over the Browns, spoiling Quinn's highly hyped debut as an NFL starter.

The Broncos (5-4) entered the fourth quarter trailing 23-13, but Cutler, borrowing a page out of Elway's comeback playbook, brought Denver back. He recorded his fifth career fourth-quarter comeback victory despite losing two more running backs to injuries and only having his fullback to carry the ball.

"It was a big, big win for us," Cutler said. "To be down 13 and have an empty backfield and to come back like this, it means a lot."

Walker: Cleveland Caput!

As fast as Cleveland leads have vanished the past two games, its 2008 season, which began with high expectations, disappeared just as quickly as the Browns suffered another fourth-quarter meltdown in a 34-30 defeat, James Walker writes. Blog

Cutler threw a 93-yard TD pass to rookie wide receiver Eddie Royal, a 28-yarder to tight end Daniel Graham and then finished off the Browns like so many Denver teams have done in the past with his toss to Marshall in the corner of the end zone.

The Broncos have beaten Cleveland eight straight times and been the Browns' longtime nemesis, with Elway beating them three times in AFC title games.

Cutler finished 24-of-42 with three TDs and one interception. He piled up 204 yards passing in the fourth quarter alone.

Quinn threw two TD passes to Kellen Winslow and went 23-of-35 for 239 yards, but thought he could have done more.

"I told everyone, this one is flat on me," Quinn said. "I know I am good enough that I can make a play at the end and win. I felt comfortable out there, it's my home away from home."

Keeping It Short

Making his first NFL start, Brady Quinn took advantage of the short passing game in Thursday's loss to the Broncos. Here's a look at the breakdown:

Dist. Thrown Comp-Att Yards TD/INT
Behind line 2-2 10 0/0
0-10 yards 20-30 213 1/0
11+ yards 1-3 16 1/0
Total 23-35 239 2/0

After hauling in Cutler's final TD pass, Marshall, who spent the week exchanging barbs with Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter, was about to pull something out of his pants when teammate Brandon Stokley ran over and stopped him from getting a possible personal foul.

After the game, Marshall said he had a black-and-white glove designed to honor President-elect Barack Obama and former Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who made controversial black power salutes at the 1968 Games in Mexico City.

Quinn had one last chance, getting the ball back with 1:10 remaining. The former Notre Dame star, who waited 25 games to take over Cleveland's offense, completed a 9-yard pass to Winslow on first down before two incompletions gave him no margin for error. On fourth down, Quinn whipped a high pass to Winslow that sailed through the hands of the Pro Bowl tight end.

Broncos vs. Browns highlights

NFL.com Video

The Denver Broncos defeat the Cleveland Browns 34-30 on Thursday Night Football.

"I just can't get that last play out of my head," Winslow said. "The great ones, the legends make those plays. That's where I want to be and I'm going to take it as a lesson."

Denver's bench burst into celebration while the Browns sustained another gut-wrenching loss after blowing a 14-point lead in the second half Sunday against Baltimore.

That loss cost Derek Anderson his starting job. He was benched by coach Romeo Crennel in favor of fan favorite Quinn, who made plays and was efficient moving the ball by throwing mostly underneath. Quinn completed passes to eight different receivers with Winslow catching 10 passes for 111 yards.

Quinn had the Browns (3-6) in position to win, but once again Cleveland's defense couldn't come up with a stop as Denver racked up 564 total yards.

"We let them throw the ball over our head, couldn't tackle and let the game get away," Crennel said. "It's disappointing that your defense can't do some simple things and does some other things poorly. A 93-yard touchdown pass should never happen -- ever."

Royal had six catches for 164 yards and Marshall caught six passes for 89 yards.

Cutler was playing at a huge disadvantage with Denver's running game going backward because of injuries. It hardly mattered.

With starter Michael Pittman and backup Andre Hall already out with season-ending injuries, rookie Ryan Torain made his first start with third-year pro Selvin Young as his backup.

Torain scored on a 1-yard run in the first quarter but sprained his left knee midway through the second when he got bent backward underneath a pile of players. He was replaced by Young, who gained 2 yards on his first carry but left a few plays later with a groin injury and didn't return.

Those losses forced the Broncos to use fullback Peyton Hillis as their primary ball carrier, and the rookie from Arkansas came through on Denver's final scoring drive by blasting his way through the line for a crucial first down on 4th-and-1 at the Cleveland 45.

From there, Cutler completed a 14-yard pass to Graham before catching the Browns off guard with a quarterback draw for 18 yards. After missing Marshall in the end zone on first down, Cutler had his wideout run the same route against cornerback Brandon McDonald for the game-winner.

Earlier, McDonald was burned by Royal for the 93-yard TD, the fourth-longest in Denver history.

The Browns played up Quinn's pregame introduction, saving him to be the last player to run from the smoke-filled tunnel. He received a huge ovation from Cleveland fans, who despite having a Pro Bowl QB in Anderson, have spent many Sunday afternoons chanting "Bra-dy, Bra-dy" for most of the past two seasons.

Quinn didn't disappoint, throwing two TD passes to Winslow in the first half to help the Browns open a 20-10 lead.

It was a night the 25-year-old Quinn had dreamed of since he was a little kid in Dublin, Ohio. He grew up in the Columbus suburb cheering for the Browns and he still has a picture of himself wearing a No. 19 Bernie Kosar jersey.

Quinn's No. 10 jersey dotted every corner of Browns Stadium and a white bed sheet with "Save Us Brady" hung from the second deck.

But in the end, there was nothing he or anyone else in orange helmets could do to stop Cutler.

Game notes


Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said Torain's sprained knee "doesn't look good." ... The Browns honored their 1947, 1948 and 1949 teams from the All-American Football Conference at halftime. One of those on hand was former Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian, who was thrilled to see Quinn's coming-out-party. "I picked up a newspaper coming down here yesterday and I saw that Brady Quinn is going to start," Parseghian said. "I said, 'They're doing that for me." ... The Browns had a season-high 160 yards rushing. ... Broncos LB Nate Webster came out with a strained left knee in the first quarter and did not return. ... Denver improved to 19-2 against Cleveland since 1974.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Team Stat Comparison

 
Denver
Cleveland
1st Downs2620
3rd down efficiency
6-116-14
4th down efficiency
1-11-2
Total Yards564399
Yards per play7.96.2
Total Drives12
Passing441239
Comp-Att
24-4223-35
Yards per pass
10.56.8
Interceptions thrown
10
Sacks-Yards Lost
1-60-0
Rushing123160
Rushing Attempts
2829
Yards per rush
4.45.5
Penalties3-303-20
Turnovers11
Fumbles lost
01
Interceptions thrown
10
Possession27:5132:09

Passing Leaders

DENC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Cutler24/4244710.6311-6
CLEC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Quinn23/352396.8200-0

Rushing Leaders

DENCARYDSAVGTDLG
Torain12685.7119
Cutler7294.1018
CLECARYDSAVGTDLG
Lewis19603.2129
Harrison5489.6016

Receiving Leaders

DENRECYDSAVGTDLG
Royal616427.3193
Scheffler49223.0039
CLERECYDSAVGTDLG
Winslow1011111.1230
Stallworth44812.0019

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERDENCLE
TD07:03Ryan Torain 1 Yd Run (Matt Prater Kick) 70
TD03:38Kellen Winslow 5 Yd Pass From Brady Quinn (Phil Dawson Kick) 77
SECOND QUARTERDENCLE
FG12:45Phil Dawson 24 Yd 710
TD10:29Kellen Winslow 16 Yd Pass From Brady Quinn (Phil Dawson Kick) 717
FG05:48Matt Prater 35 Yd 1017
FG01:09Phil Dawson 52 Yd 1020
THIRD QUARTERDENCLE
FG10:21Phil Dawson 33 Yd 1023
FG05:37Matt Prater 30 Yd 1323
FOURTH QUARTERDENCLE
TD13:30Eddie Royal 93 Yd Pass From Jay Cutler (Matt Prater Kick) 2023
TD09:50Daniel Graham 28 Yd Pass From Jay Cutler (Matt Prater Kick) 2723
TD04:57Jamal Lewis 1 Yd Run (Phil Dawson Kick) 2730
TD01:14Brandon Marshall 11 Yd Pass From Jay Cutler (Matt Prater Kick) 3430