Browns beat penalty plagued Raiders

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 13, 2003

CLEVELAND - The Oakland Raiders probably should have been penalized for a lack of Commitment to Excellence, too.

Why not? They got called for just about everything else on Sunday.

The defending AFC champions didn't play up to their winning reputation or maverick owner Al Davis' self-serving motto in an embarrassing 13-7 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

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The Raiders were penalized an NFL season-high 19 times for 128 yards, and had one slapstick stretch in the third quarter when they were flagged on five straight plays.

''The penalties are mind boggling to me,'' quarterback Rich Gannon said. ''It's unbelievable. How do you expect to win like that?''

After six weeks, the Raiders (2-4) are four games behind AFC West-leading Kansas City, and only the winless San Diego Chargers are keeping Oakland out of the division cellar.

''I still think this is a good football team,'' wide receiver Tim Brown said. ''We're just not playing well right now.''

Kicker Phil Dawson scampered 14 yards on a fake field goal to set up William Green's go-ahead touchdown run as the Browns (3-3) got a rare and ugly home win.

Cleveland won for the first time in three tries at home this season, and the Browns improved to just 10-25 in front of their fans since 1999.

As the final seconds ticked off, a few of Cleveland's players sprinted to the Dawg Pound for one of their few postgame celebrations over the past five years.

''Had to,'' tackle Barry Stokes said. ''The fans today were amazing. They were loud. They showed up.''

And, for the second straight week, so did Green.

The second-year back rushed for 145 yards on 26 carries and helped the Browns run time off the clock in the fourth quarter while clinging to a 10-7 lead.

Green picked up 56 yards on six consecutive plays in the fourth to set up Dawson's 31-yard field goal that made it 13-7.

''I could have run more,'' said Green, who had 33 carries for 115 yards last week in a win at Pittsburgh. ''I'm still sore, but we knew we had to finish the game.''

Green became the first Cleveland back to get consecutive 100-yard games since Kevin Mack in 1986.

But Dawson's run was the game's biggest.

Trailing 7-3 late in the third, the Browns set up for an apparent 36-year field goal.

But after watching film this week, Cleveland noticed that the Raiders overloaded one side on field goals. So after taking the snap, holder Chris Gardocki pitched it to Dawson, who lumbered his way to a first down at the 5.

''I was just praying they were going to rush and try to block the kick,'' Dawson said. ''Because if not, I wasn't going to put on any moves or outrun them.''

The Browns got a kick out of seeing the 5-foot-11, 195-pounder turn the corner.

''Dawson looked like that guy Forrest Gump,'' said defensive end Kenard Lang. ''I was gonna yell, 'Run, Forrest, run.' He didn't look all that pretty running, but the result was beautiful, man.''

Not only did his run - if you want to call it that - catch the Raiders completely off guard, it even surprised Dawson, who isn't looking forward to his next one.

''I tried to change directions, but my belly was carrying me out of bounds,'' Dawson said with a laugh. ''But if you're wearing a helmet, and they tell you to run, you run.''

During Oakland's comical stretch of ineptitude in the third quarter, the Raiders were called for a false start, holding, tripping, another false start and an illegal forward pass in a five-play span that resulted in a loss of 29 yards.

''I don't think I've ever seen that before,'' Brown said.

Yet despite their sloppiness, the Raiders still had a chance to win in the final minute, driving to Cleveland's 24 with 33 seconds left.

However, Gannon's 2-yard pass to Jerry Rice on fourth-and-1 was ruled out of bounds with 23 seconds left.

The play was reviewed, but the call stood when referee Johnny Grier couldn't find sufficient replay evidence to overturn it.

Notes: Raiders G Frank Middleton injured his right quadriceps in the first quarter and did not return. … Rice extended his NFL record by catching a pass in his 262nd straight game. … Kelly Holcomb was the Browns' No. 2 quarterback. Last week, Holcomb, who has been out with a broken right leg, was No. 3.