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

Mangini.

“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

time.

If the Browns can beat Jacksonville at home next Sunday, they

would have their first four-game winning streak in their expansion

era.

“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

straight games.

“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

disappointing.”

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

yards.

“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

there.”

Janikowski also made kicks from 44 and 34.

Phil Dawson kicked field goals of 42, 33 and 34 yards for

Cleveland.

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

at Denver.

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

ejected.

“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

one.”

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

TDs.