Derek Anderson's one good moment was enough to
save the Cleveland Browns' season. Maybe his job, too.
With reserve Brady Quinn ready to take over at any time Sunday,
the embattled Anderson did just enough - and it wasn't much - to
rally Cleveland to a 20-12 victory over a winless Cincinnati
Bengals team missing its starting quarterback.
Anderson threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Braylon Edwards that
put the Browns (1-3) ahead to stay in the fourth quarter, his best
play on an afternoon that had few of them. Even that moment came
with an asterisk: A Bengals penalty wiped out a potential
interception on the drive.
Coach Romeo Crennel made it known that Quinn was ready to take
over if Anderson struggled again on Sunday. Playing with a sore
right forearm that was tightly wrapped, Anderson went 15-of-24 for
138 yards with a touchdown and an interception, keeping Quinn on
He had plenty of help from the down-and-out Bengals.
Carson Palmer rested a sore passing elbow that forced him to
miss a game for the first time since 2004, a huge setback for a
struggling offense. Cincinnati couldn't do much behind Ryan
Fitzpatrick, who hadn't completed a pass in a regular-season game
in three years.
Fitzpatrick threw three interceptions and finished the game as
Cincinnati's leading rusher with 41 yards on four scrambles,
underscoring the Bengals' futility. They're 0-4 for the first time
since 2002, when they went a franchise-worst 2-12 that got coach
Dick LeBeau fired.
It was ugly all-around.
The Bengals wasted two timeouts in the second half because their
confused defense had too many men on the field. Cleveland's Braylon
Edwards undercut a drive in the fourth quarter with a late hit,
then exchanged words on the sideline with Anderson before storming
After another futile drive, Anderson went to the bench and
covered his face in a brown towel. But at the end, Anderson and the
Browns were still standing - a little wobbly, though.
A three-play sequence late in the half encapsulated the current
state of pro football in Ohio.
Crennel decided to go for it on 4th-and-1 at the Cincinnati
45-yard line. Anderson faked a handoff, rolled right and spotted
Steve Heiden breaking open. Anderson dumped his throw low and
behind the tight end, showing again why his job was in jeopardy.
Two plays later, Fitzpatrick tried to throw a pass to Chad Ocho
Cinco, but Eric Wright made a one-handed interception and headed
upfield. He was hit and fumbled - right to Ocho Cinco.
At that moment, no one in the stadium had any doubt why these
two teams were winless.