Browns’ defense keys win over Miami

Published 2:02 am Monday, December 6, 2010

The Associated Press

MIAMI — As the Cleveland Browns ran down the clock to set up their winning field goal, Dolphins fans streamed for the exits, pausing only long enough to join one last chorus of boos.

The jeers came often Sunday for the Dolphins. They managed to look even more inept than the hapless Browns, who stumbled to a 13-10 win.

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As Miami and Cleveland traded punts and mistakes, the question was which team would find a way to lose, and a last-minute Dolphins turnover gave the Browns the win.

Mike Adams’ interception set up a 23-yard field goal by Phil Dawson on the final play.

With the city of Cleveland still stinging from Thursday’s loss to another Miami team and LeBron James, the Browns (5-7) provided some salve. They won for the fourth time in six games, and for the first time in Miami since 1970.

The inconsistent Dolphins (6-6) followed a win with a loss for the fifth time this season, hurting their already slim playoff hopes. The derision from the crowd was easy to understand: Miami has lost seven of its past eight home games, including five of six this season.

“It’s not fun losing at home,” said quarterback Chad Henne, who threw three interceptions.

When Browns lineman David Bowens deflected Henne’s final pass with a minute left and the score tied, Adams snatched the ball and ran 25 yards to the 2.

“I got an early Christmas gift,” Adams said. “It got deflected, and I just grabbed onto it.”

On fourth down, Dawson’s kick gave the Browns the win.

“This was what we talked it about it being — it’s going to be a tough game, it’s going to be a physical game, and it’s going to come down to the end,” Cleveland coach Eric Mangini said.

Until the last minute, the biggest excitement came via another kick: The Dolphins’ Dan Carpenter hit a 60-yard field goal, which tied for the fifth-longest in NFL history.

Mistakes plagued both teams — there were 16 punts and only six third-down conversions. Miami had a field-goal try blocked, and Dawson missed when he hit an upright.

The fitful offenses briefly got into gear midway through the second half. The Browns took the lead with a 94-yard touchdown drive, and the Dolphins responded with an 80-yard TD drive to make it 10-10.

Otherwise, first downs came sporadically. Miami’s Brandon Marshall (hamstring) was inactive, and teammate Bryan Hartline (finger) departed in the second half, leaving Henne without two top receivers. He finished with a dismal quarterback rating of 37.8.

“It’s frustrating, but it’s not life and death,” Henne said. “I’ll try to understand what I did wrong, fix it and stay positive.”

Hartline was 5 yards behind the Browns’ secondary on a fly pattern in the second period, but Henne underthrew him and cornerback Joe Haden recovered to make his fifth interception.

“A lot of the stuff we did today was self-inflicted,” Miami running back Ronnie Brown said. “We should have won the game. We had the better team, and unfortunately we made those mistakes that didn’t allow us to be the better team.”

Henne threw high into tight coverage and Abram Elam made a juggling interception to give the Browns the ball at the Miami 28. Seven plays later, Cleveland scored the game’s first points when Dawson kicked a 32-yard field goal.

The Dolphins opened the game with a 62-yard drive but stalled at the 23, and Shaun Rogers’ 14th career blocked field goal ended the threat. Rogers also had a sack, a tackle for a loss and a quarterback hurry.

Miami held Peyton Hillis to 57 yards rushing, and the Browns netted only 252 yards. But Jake Delhomme, filling in again for Colt McCoy, avoided any turnovers and threw his second TD this season.

“It never gets old hat, winning in the NFL,” Delhomme said. “I appreciate it so much more now.”

Delhomme did throw an especially ugly pass in his own territory with less than two minutes left — but cornerback Nolan Carroll dropped it.

“You know that miserable slow-motion feeling that you see? There was a little bit of that,” Mangini said. “But it didn’t (happen), so I was happy.”

Notes: Miami T Vernon Carey left the game with a knee injury. … Browns TE Evan Moore hurt his hip. … Haden made an interception in his fourth consecutive game. … AFC sack leader Cameron Wake of Miami had 1 1/2 to increase his total to 12.