Phil Dawson’s 41-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter, coupled with John Kasay’s miss of a 42-yard effort as time expired, helped the Cleveland Browns earn a 24-23 win over the Carolina Panthers.
Jake Delhomme, playing against his former team after spending the last seven years in Carolina, finished 24-of-35 passing for 245 yards, but threw a pair of interceptions — one returned for a touchdown by Captain Munnerlyn — for Cleveland (4-7), which dropped a 24-20 decision at Jacksonville last Sunday and have won three of its last five.
Peyton Hillis for rushed 131 yards and three scores, and caught six passes for 63 yards in the victory.
Jimmy Clausen returned to the lineup after sitting out last weekend with a concussion and connected on 16-of-28 passes for 195 yards and Jonathan Stewart ran for 98 yards on 12 carries for the Panthers (1-10), who have dropped five in a row since winning their only game of the season against San Francisco on October 24. Kasay booted three field goals in defeat.
Jimmy Clausen connected on 16-of-28 passes for 195 yards and Jonathan Stewart ran for 98 yards on 12 carries for the Panthers (1-10), who have dropped five in a row since winning their only game of the season against San Francisco on October 24. Kasay booted three field goals in defeat.
After Dawson booted the go-ahead field goal with 2:42 left, Joe Haden picked off Clausen at the Cleveland 44 and returned it inside Carolina territory at the 44.
The Browns then called three straight run plays with Hillis, causing the Panthers to spend all three time outs. Reggie Hodge’s punt pinned Carolina back to its own five with 59 seconds to play. However, a 32-yard catch-and-run by Mike Goodson moved the ball to the 48 with 12 seconds to go. Clausen then hit Brandon LaFell for a 28-yard gain to the 24 and after a replay confirmed the catch, Kasay came on hit the left upright as time expired.
With Carolina trailing 21-13 at the half, Kasay missed from 46 yards out on the Panthers’ first offensive try of the second, before Munnerlyn jumped a sideline route on Delhomme’s pass intended for Mohamed Massaquoi and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown to make it a one-point game.
Following an exchange of punts, Cleveland was on the move at the Carolina 25 early in the fourth and facing a 4th-and-1, Hillis was stopped short of the marker and the Panthers took over.
Carolina converted a 3rd-and-12 from their its own 23 when Clausen hit Dante Rosario for 14 yards and Stewart rushed two straight plays, the latter for 31 yards to the Cleveland 25. After three minimal gains, Kasay came on and booted a 43-yard field goal for a 23-21 Carolina lead with 7:01 to play
Cleveland, though, answered on its ensuing possession with three. Delhomme, who completed all five of his passes on the drive hit Hillis with a 12-yard gain to convert a 3rd-and-10 to the Carolina 46, then connected with Massaquoi for 13 more. The drive stalled at the 24, but Dawson’s 41-yard effort put the Browns back in front for good.
Goodson’s 26-yard touchdown run on Carolina’s opening possession gave his team an early lead, but Cleveland answered with a score on its first offensive try when Hillis ran around left tackle and dove just inside the left pylon for the score to even things.
Following a three-and-out, the Browns went ahead 14-7 on Hillis’ five-yard dive that finished off a seven-play, 64-yard drive.
Cleveland was denied on its next offensive set when Evan Moore fumbled at the Carolina three, but the Panthers again went three-and-out and the Browns tacked on another seven.
Hillis’ six-yard run — his third score of the day
- capped a six-play, 60 yard drive for a 21-7 game with 9:12 before halftime.
However, Carolina got three back on Kasay’s 43-yard field goal with nearly 3:19 remaining, then after a short Browns’ drive, Kasay hit from 42-yards out with 47 seconds to go and the Browns took a 21-13 lead into the locker room.
Cleveland will visit Miami next Sunday, while Carolina plays at Seattle…The Panthers had won all three of their previous meetings with the Browns…Goodson rushed for 55 yards and a score, and caught eight passes for 81 yards.