With newly promoted starting quarterback Derek Anderson leading the way, the Cleveland Browns put on an impressive offensive performance their last time out and snapped a losing streak dating to 2006.
Now, the Browns hope Anderson can build on that effort and lead them to consecutive victories for the first time in nearly four years when they visit the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
Week 3 matchups to watch
There are many intriguing games this weekend, including Cowboys-Bears, Steelers-49ers, and Colts-Texans. As we get ready for all of the action, Gil Brandt takes a look at nine matchups worth watching in Week 3. Full story ...
Anderson began the season second on the Browns' depth chart, but emerged as the top signal caller after Cleveland (1-1) dealt starter Charlie Frye to Seattle on Sept. 11 following a poor performance in a season-opening 34-7 loss to Pittsburgh.
Taking the snaps in his fourth career start and seventh NFL appearance, Anderson completed 20 of 33 passes and set career highs with 328 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Browns to a 51-45 victory over rival Cincinnati on Sunday -- their first win in six games since beating Kansas City 31-28 on Dec. 3.
"We told him, 'We're behind you and you are here because you can play,'" said wide receiver Braylon Edwards, who had eight catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns against the Bengals. "He was commanding in the huddle. This is the first time he was the guy. He came in and pulled it all together."
Cleveland amassed 554 total yards for its highest total since racking up 558 in a 26-16 win over Miami on Nov. 10, 1986. The Browns also picked up 226 rushing yards -- their most since gaining 264 against Cincinnati on Dec. 28, 2003 -- as Jamal Lewis ran for 216 and a touchdown on 27 carries.
Tight end Kellen Winslow had six receptions for a career-high 100 yards and a touchdown for Cleveland, which hadn't scored as many points since a 51-0 win at Pittsburgh on Sept. 10, 1989.
With his first win out of the way, Anderson can now concentrate on helping the Browns register consecutive victories in a single season for the first time since Oct. 5-12, 2003.
As impressive as the Browns' offense was in Week 2, it might be tough to repeat that effort against an Oakland defense that ranked third in the NFL last season with 284.8 total yards allowed per game and kept Cleveland to 240 yards in the Browns' 24-21 win on Oct. 1, 2006. Cleveland has won three straight and six of the last seven games against the Raiders (0-2).
"What's going to happen now is that a lot of these guys will be told they are the best thing since sliced bread -- they can run for 200 yards in a game and throw for 500 yards, get five touchdown passes and put 51 points on the board," Browns coach Romeo Crennel said. "The thing we have to do is, we have to get these guys to understand that nothing has changed."
Crennel hopes Cleveland remains focused against a struggling Oakland team that is mired in an 11-game skid dating to Nov. 6, 2006. The Raiders haven't lost 12 straight since dropping 19 in a row from Nov. 11, 1961-Dec. 9, 1962.
While the Raiders' defense was their strength last season, they haven't been nearly as dominant in the first two games. They gave up 392 yards in the opener and 441 in a tough 23-20 loss at Denver last Sunday.
The Raiders thought they had won the game on Sebastian Janikowski's 52-yard field goal early in overtime, but the points were taken off the board after a referee said Broncos coach Mike Shanahan called a timeout before the snap. Janikowski missed on the retry, and Denver's game-winning field goal came with 5:48 left.
While the loss was tough to take, Raiders first-year coach Lane Kiffin was more displeased with quarterback Josh McCown's effort. He completed 8 of 16 passes for 73 yards and a touchdown, but was intercepted three times -- one week after throwing for 313 yards and two touchdowns in a 36-21 home defeat to Detroit.
Despite the shaky effort, Kiffin said he'd stick with McCown for this game even with veteran Daunte Culpepper and No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell -- who signed a six-year, $61 million contract last week -- as alternates.
"Josh has got to be better, that's no secret, or he won't be our starting quarterback for long, especially at this pace," Kiffin said.
The Raiders, 26th in the league with 168 passing yards per contest, managed just 253 total yards in Denver, with the bulk of that load coming from LaMont Jordan, who rushed for a career-best 159 yards on 25 carries.
Oakland will try to improve as it faces a Cleveland defense that surrendered 531 yards to Cincinnati last week.
Cleveland is playing its first road game of the season. The Browns lost their last three contests away from home in 2006 en route to posting a 2-6 road record for the second consecutive year.
The franchise is 20-44 on the road since rejoining the NFL for the 1999 season.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press