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Defense Ty's one on



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



The Browns intercepted Lions QB Ty Detmerseven times.

By TOM WILLIAMS

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

CLEVELAND -- As NFL fans across the USA celebrated the American way of life, Cleveland Browns fans found more reasons to cheer Sunday:

UThe Browns' 24-14 victory over the Detroit Lions was Butch Davis' first as a NFL head coach.

UQuarterback Tim Couch tossed three touchdown passes for only the second time in his three NFL seasons.

URookie James Jackson was the first Browns running back to break the 100-yard mark since Ernest Byner did it in the final game at old Cleveland Stadium on Dec. 17, 1995.

UWide receiver Kevin Johnson caught his first touchdown pass in 21 games.

URookie wide receiver Quincy Morgan and backup center Shaun O'Hara scored their first touchdowns on pass plays.

UAnd the Browns' secondary had a field day, picking off seven Ty Detmer passes to tie a club record set 41 years ago.

"This was truly a team effort," Davis said. "Our guys fought through the adversity of last week and were really focused."

Lions hurt themselves: Detroit (0-2) rookie coach Marty Mornhinweg said Cleveland (1-1) "played a tremendous game. We played poorly. Penalties and turnovers are the two statistics that directly correlate to winning and losing."

The Lions were flagged for 15 penalties covering 115 yards.

"The crazy thing about it was that with all the penalties and all the turnovers that we had, we were still battling and fighting to get back in the game," Mornhinweg said.

Maybe. The Lions' fight faded just about every time Detmer, the Browns backup until a trade three weeks ago, threw the ball in the second half.

"I'm very happy with this win, but there's a part of me that wishes that Ty had come out and had a good game," Couch said.

The Browns' strong defensive pressure made that impossible.

"Our defensive coaches take a lot of pride in our defense being aggressive," Davis said. "We've got some guys in our secondary that are some real ball hawks."

Rookie defensive back Anthony Henry, who had three pickoffs, said, "I never imagined that this would happen.

"It starts up front and then it takes practice, everybody working together with a lot of intensity. [The] interceptions were a result of the entire defense's effort."

Penalties against Lions cornerbacks Todd Lyght and Terry Fair propelled Cleveland to a 7-0 first-quarter lead.

After Lyght was called for interference at the Lions 13, Fair was penalized for slapping Johnson's helmet after some trash talk.

First score: Two plays later, Couch found Johnson uncovered on a crossing route in the back of the end zone for the first touchdown.

"He was actually my fourth read," said Couch, who was getting ready to run when he saw Johnson out of the corner of his eye. "It's good to get that streak out of the way."

A 28-yard pickup of a Couch screen pass to halfback Mike Sellers set up the second touchdown that came on a trick play early in the second quarter.

On third-and-goal from the 2, O'Hara, the backup center lined up as an eligible receiver. O'Hara ran along the back of the end zone where Couch hit him with a short toss for a 14-0 advantage.

Couch said they practiced the play once Friday and O'Hara said he didn't make the catch.

So how did he do it Sunday? "I'm Irish, I'm lucky, I don't know," the second-year player said. "It's an offensive lineman's dream to catch a touchdown pass."

Detmer had the Lions moving on the Lions' first possession of the second half.

But Henry raced 51 yards with his second pickoff to set up Phil Dawson's 33-yard field goal for a 17-0 lead, the Browns' largest advantage since returning to the NFL in 1999.

Lions score: Fair avenged his costly first-quarter penalty halfway through the third quarter when he intercepted a Couch pass and raced 26 yards for Detroit's first touchdown.

But after linebackers Wali Rainer and Jamir Miller teamed up for Detmer's fourth pick, the Browns scored again as Morgan ran 34 yards unguarded into the end zone where he caught Couch's pass for a 24-7 lead.

Detmer took the Lions 84 yards on nine plays, hitting wide receiver Johnny Morton with a 14-yard scoring pass with 11:25 to go.

Interceptions by Corey Fuller and Henry ended Detroit's final two possessions.




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