This Day in Browns History - Sept. 15

Posted Sep 14, 2013

On this day in Cleveland Browns history, the team earned a 20-7 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

It wasn't until the very end of the 2002 season that Browns quarterback Kelly Holcomb had his coming-out party, in an AFC playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But at the beginning of the year, he was providing glimpses of what was to come.

Having his second straight impressive performance while subbing for an injured Tim Couch, Holcomb led the Browns to their first win of the season, 20-7, over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 15, 2002 before 73,358 at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Holcomb completed 17 of 30 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions as the Browns evened their record at 1-1.

In the season-opening, 40-39 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs the week before, he was 27-of-39 passing for 326 yards and three scores with no interceptions.

In two games, Holcomb was a combined 44-of-69 for 524 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions. He had completed nearly 64 percent of his passes and had a 111.02 quarterback rating.

He had played his first five NFL seasons as a backup with the Indianapolis Colts, playing in just five games. In his first season with the Browns in 2001, he attempted just 12 passes.

Not much was known about Holcomb early in 2002, but what he had done to that point was enough to raise some eyebrows.

Holcomb did most of his damage against the Bengals (0-2) in the second quarter, throwing both of his touchdown passes as the Browns roared to a 17-0 halftime lead.

Phil Dawson’s 52-yard field goal accounted for the only points of the first quarter, then Holcomb connected with a pair of wide receivers for scores, hitting rookie Andre Davis with a 15-yarder and Kevin Johnson with an eight-yarder.

There was no more scoring until the fourth quarter, when Dawson booted another long field goal, this one of 45 yards, to make it 20-0.

In most cases, a lead like that late in the game is enough to pretty much assure a team of a victory. But the Browns knew better than to fall for that false security.

After all, the week before against the Chiefs in the opener, they led, 30-17, early in the fourth quarter after a Dawson field goal. However, on what would have been the final play of the game, the Browns committed a defensive penalty, allowing the Chiefs to kick the winning field goal on an untimed play.

The Browns weren’t about to let that happen again, so they kept their foot on the gas, allowing the Bengals to score only a touchdown on a 22-yard pass from Gus Frerotte to wide receiver Chad Ochocinco with 6:34 remaining.

The Browns' offense took the ensuing kickoff and ran three minutes off the clock, leaving the Bengals with little time to continue their rally. The Bengals did drive from their 1 to the Cleveland 28 the next time they got the ball, but an interception by strong safety Robert Griffith sealed the victory and provided a much happier ending for the Browns this time.

This Day in Browns History is sponsored by Cleveland Clinic.

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