OAKLAND, Calif. (Dec. 18, 2005) -- The ball popped loose, the officials huddled and the referee signaled that Oakland had possession.
Just when it seemed as if the game was over, a replay review overturned Reuben Droughns' fumble to give Charlie Frye his first NFL win and deal the Raiders another devastating loss.
"The encouraging thing is we fought and made the play at the end of the game to win," Browns coach Romeo Crennel said. "We haven't made this play at other times this year. We made some progress, and hopefully we can build on that through the last two games and into the next year."
Frye, a third-round pick out of Akron, is giving the Browns (5-9) hope he can be the quarterback to lead them, calmly engineering the last-minute drive to win it. It didn't come without some tense moments.
"It was tense," Droughns said. "Even though I knew I was down, they might not have been able to see I was down because there were so many people around me."
The Raiders, predictably, had a different view, saying the ball came loose before Droughns was down and adding that there wasn't enough video evidence to overturn the call on the field.
"Every time the Raiders have an opportunity to change the whole situation around, it goes against us," linebacker Danny Clark said. "It was a huge play for us to get the ball turned over to our offense and essentially win the football game. For it to get overturned, it was one of biggest disappointments of the year."
After Cleveland got the reprieve, Frye took a knee to let the clock run down to five seconds. Holder Kyle Richardson then deftly handled a low snap and Dawson kicked his third field goal of the game to win it.
"I told them get it inside the 40 and we could give it a ride," Dawson said. "The offense did a great job of getting it down."
Frye went 4 for 5 for 32 yards on the drive that started after Alvin McKinley blocked Sebastian Janikowski 's 46-yard field goal attempt with 3:15 to play. The drive was aided by a personal foul facemask penalty against Derrick Burgess after he sacked Frye on third-and-3.
"He's awesome," right tackle Ryan Tucker said of Frye. "I'm really excited about this guy. He's got a great presence, controls the huddle. He takes some shots, but bounces right back."
Frye's comeback spoiled Kerry Collins ' return as Oakland's starting quarterback. Benched after throwing seven interceptions in a four-game span, Collins was given the job back after Marques Tuiasosopo turned the ball over four times in last week's 26-10 loss to the New York Jets.
Collins struggled in the rain, going 14 for 30 for 132 yards and an interception as Oakland lost its fourth straight. He threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Randy Moss late in the first half for Oakland's only score.
"There were a couple of throws I missed today that I just can't miss," Collins said. "It's frustrating."
Frye wasn't much better but made key plays when he needed to down the stretch of his third career start. He finished 21 for 32 for 198 yards and an interception.
"The conditions were pretty bad. Balls were slick, so that was something we had to deal with," Frye said. "Each week something different comes up, but we're fighting through all of that as a team. That's why this was a team win."
Collins got some cheers when he led an 89-yard drive late in the first half that ended with the perfect pass to Moss in between three defenders. Collins completed five straight passes and also converted on a fourth-and-1 sneak on the drive.
The Browns answered after Joshua Cribbs returned the ensuing kick 46 yards to the Cleveland 49. Frye completed three passes to move the ball to the Oakland 27, leading to a 44-yard field goal by Dawson on the final play of the half to make it 7-3.
Dawson added a 24-yard field goal in the third quarter to make it 7-6.
Notes: Oakland's LaMont Jordan ran for 132 yards to give him 1,025 yards on the season. ... Dawson has made 20 straight field goals on the road. ... Browns C Jeff Faine probably will miss the rest of the season after injuring a muscle in his right arm in the first half. ... The paid attendance was 41,862, although many fans with tickets chose to stay away in the rain.