Browns 23, Raiders 9
Walking through the wide doors of Cleveland’s locker room,
Browns coach Eric Mangini was greeted by smiling faces.
“Congratulations, coach,” a team employee hollered at
“Thank you,” he replied.
Once thought to be on his way out of Cleveland after just one
season, Mangini may be staging a stunning comeback of his own.
Jerome Harrison rushed for 148 yards on 39 carries and the
Browns won their third straight, 23-9 over the reckless Oakland
Raiders on Sunday, extending a surprising streak that Mangini can
use to strengthen his case to convince new Browns boss Mike
Holmgren to keep him.
With consecutive wins over Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Oakland,
the Browns (4-11) have their first three-game winning streak since
2007 and only their third since 1999. Holmgren, who last week
agreed to become Cleveland’s team president, may have to factor
Cleveland’s late-season surge into whether he retains Mangini.
When the Browns were 1-11, Mangini’s fate seemed to be sealed.
There’s no telling now what his future could hold.
“I’m happy with the way things have been going,” he said.
“I’ve seen progress from the group. It is a process. To see this
is a real positive.”
The Browns had been expected to introduce Holmgren at a news
conference this week. However, those plans may be pushed back until
the new year. Following Sunday’s game, the team announced that
Holmgren would be available only via conference call on Monday.
The team has no firm plans to bring in Holmgren, who may be
waiting until the conclusion of the season before arriving from his
home in Arizona and officially taking over the Browns. Speculation
has centered on Holmgren hiring his own coach, but the Browns’
sudden spurt could cause him to consider giving Mangini more
If the Browns can beat Jacksonville at home next Sunday, they
would have their first four-game winning streak in their expansion
“This shows the character of the guys we have in this locker
room,” said quarterback Derek Anderson, who finished 8 of 17 for
121 yards with one TD pass and didn’t throw an interception in his
first start since Nov. 1. “Nobody is going to quit.”
There’s no denying the Browns have improved. They’ve cut down on
turnovers, penalties, showed imagination on offense and had backups
emerge as playmakers, none more so than Harrison, who followed up a
286-yard game last week by scoring the second time he touched the
ball and breaking Lee Suggs’ team mark for attempts.
“We see it as we’re moving in the right direction,” said
Harrison, who was happy to be the workhorse for a second straight
week. “If my number is called, I just try to make the best of it,
whether it’s running, blocking, catching whatever it may be.”
The Raiders (5-10) helped the Browns beat them.
They committed 13 penalties for 126 yards, had two players
ejected and failed for the fifth time this season to win two
“Some it is uncalled for stuff,” Oakland coach Tom Cable said.
“We’ve got to see what’s going on, but that’s 130 yards and that’s
One positive for the Raiders was Sebastian Janikowski, who
kicked a 61-yard field goal – the fourth longest in league history
– on the final play of the first half. Janikowski’s low line drive
barely cleared the crossbar, hitting the goose-neck support and
bouncing back onto the field.
Janikowski’s kick has only been bettered by New Orleans’ Tom
Dempsey (1970) and Denver’s Jason Elam (1998), who share the record
of 63 yards and Tampa Bay’s Matt Bryant (2006), who hit from 62
“That’s one of the best kicks I’ve ever had,” Janikowski said.
“In these conditions with the snow and wind, I’m proud of it. In
warmups, we kicked it 60 yards going in that direction. I hit it
hard. I thought it was short at first and it barely got in
Janikowski also made kicks from 44 and 34.
Phil Dawson kicked field goals of 42, 33 and 34 yards for
Oakland’s Charlie Frye had a rough homecoming.
The former Browns QB went 26 of 45 for a career-high 333 yards,
but was sacked four times and threw three interceptions, including
one on his first pass.
“I didn’t give our team a very good chance to win. Turnovers
trump everything,” said Frye, who sustained a concussion last week
Anderson’s 19-yard TD pass to rookie Mohamed Massaquoi with 18
seconds left before halftime gave the Browns a 17-6 lead, capping a
drive in which the Raiders lost their cool. Pro Bowl lineman
Richard Seymour was called for unsportsmanlike conduct and
cornerback Stanford Routt was flagged for head-butting and
“A little light just started the whole thing,” Seymour said.
“Everybody just jumped on. Obviously, we have to keep our
composure. You never want to have personal fouls on a drive,
especially on a play that didn’t even happen and you get another
NOTES: Browns WR Brian Robiskie (ankle) and DE Kenyon Coleman
(ankle) were injured and did not return. … Janikowski’s previous
career best was a 57-yarder in overtime last season to beat the
Jets. … Frye joins Marc Wilson (1987) as the only Raiders QBs to
throw for at least 300 yards, with three or more picks and 0