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Balanced attack makes team go



Published: Mon, September 24, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Browns' defense enjoyed playing with a two-touchdown lead.

By TOM WILLIAMS

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

CLEVELAND -- Browns fans were treated to an unusual sight Sunday: A 17-point lead.

Cleveland's offense jumped on the Detroit Lions for two touchdowns and a Phil Dawson field goal to help turn loose their defensive teammates en route to their third home victory since 1999.

"Playing with a 14-point lead enables us to go after them and changes the whole offensive scheme," linebacker Jamir Miller said. "We want a winning attitude around here and we won't accept anything less."

The Browns had leads of 17-0 and 24-7 en route to their first win of the season.

Playing a huge role in the Browns' 24-14 victory over the Detroit Lions was the rushing attack led by rookie running back James Jackson.

"I have been getting a lot of practice [repetitions], about 50 to 55 every day," said Jackson, who rushed for 124 yards on 31 carries. "I wasn't winded out there, I was just pounding the ball inside."

Wide receiver Kevin Johnson said, "Any time that you have a young guy run that hard and punish people, that is only going to help us as the season goes on."

Balanced attack: Browns coach Butch Davis said, "I am a firm believer in the theory that you need to be able to have a balanced offensive attack to be successful in this league.

"If you can run for between 100 and 150 yards per game, then you can really set up your passing game for whenever you want it."

Quarterback Tim Couch completed 12-of-20 passes for 138 yards and three touchdowns.

"Tim made some really good plays," said Davis of his third-year quarterback who missed most of last season with a broken thumb. "He is coming along and making himself better every week. He is really developing some good practice and study habits."

After a 9-6 loss to Seattle two weeks ago, Couch said he's noticed a new attitude among the Browns (1-1).

"Right now, the attitude in the locker room is that we are supposed to win," Couch said. "I really think [that in] those first two years, we were only trying to be competitive and win it at the end. Right now, before we come to this stadium, we are thinking this is our game."

Late in the second quarter ahead 14-0, the Browns came very close to taking their first three-touchdown lead since the previous franchise moved to Baltimore after the 1995 season.

But Couch was intercepted at the Lions 7 by cornerback Robert Bailey to thwart the threat.

Happy for the win, several Browns admitted feeling bad for former teammate and Lions quarterback Ty Detmer, who threw seven interceptions.

Cornerback Corey Fuller, who stole one pass, said he walked over to Detmer after the seventh pick. "I just told him that he [is] a lot better than that."

Fuller said the Browns secondary expected the Lions "to quick rhythm us, and they did, especially in the second half. They are trying to figure out the West Coast offense. Ty just has to learn on the run because he spent all of training camp with us."

Tough to watch: Couch said Detmer is "one of my closest friends, and to see him out there throwing interceptions" was tough.

"I have been there and have had bad days, too," Couch said. "That is not a reflection on the player Ty Detmer is. He is a great player and will bounce back and play well for them this year."

After being told Lions coach Marty Mornhinweg describes Detmer's play as being "a little loose with the football," Detmer agreed.

"Yeah, every time you throw seven interceptions, you're a little loose with it. It's embarrassing, disappointing and just a situation where I tried to make too many plays on third down, and I know better than that. I need to chuck it down, punt the ball away and let us play defense."




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