I have the Rotoworld news shift tonight, so I'll be covering the Broncos/Browns game. I'm looking forward to seeing the starting debuts of both Ryan Torain and Brady Quinn.
Hey, no Bryant Gumbel tonight. I had forgotten about that piece of very good news.
Collinsworth says Brady Quinn will be a bit of a "game-manager" tonight in his first start. I think he's the type to thrive in the spotlight, though, so this should be interesting.
So after ClevelandBrowns.com made my life miserable for the last half-hour by claiming that Selvin Young would start, Rotoworld (courtesy of NFL Network) had it right after all: Ryan Torain started and received the first carry. Selvin Young came on for third-down duties. Tony Scheffler highlighted the first drive with a 39-yard reception, but Matt Prater missed an easy field goal.
Syndric Steptoe runs his route a yard short, and the Browns can't get the first-down. Collinsworth says Quinn is much more decisive QB than Anderson b/c Anderson holds the ball. Some Broncos defenders were disappointed not to face Anderson.
Sign seen at game: "Quinner Winner, Chicken Dinner."
Ryan Torain looks slow to the hole to me. The Broncos are going to have to pass tonight. Beautiful pitch-and-catch Cutler-to-Marshall on bump and run coverage for 34 yards. Hope you bought low on Cutler while his weapons were injured. First down Torain. Still looks slow and hesitant to me. Cutler to Royal, and his feet were in the end zone, but the ball was at the 1-yard line. Let's see what they do here at the stripe. Torain up the gut and denied. Torain again, and this time he's over the top for a TD.
Interesting that Eddie Royal is returning punts and kickoffs after talk a month ago that he would be taken off returns entirely due to his ankle injury. The rookie has shown impressive versatility.
Playfake and Quinn rolls out to find Stallworth wide open. Nice touch pass by Quinn. In a predictable turn of events, Jamal Lewis is carving up the Broncos run defense. Collinsworth says the Broncos are no match physically up front, "they're too small." Lewis is down to the 1-yard line. Second & goal. After a Nate Webster injury, Lewis bobbles the ball and loses yardage. Quinn, under pressure, threads the needle to Winslow for a TD! Tie ballgame.
Cutler off to a fast start, 6-of-8 for 120 yards. Torain finds a hole thanks to a Chris Cooper block and gets a 19-yard gain.
It's the Jerome Harrison drive. Two straight nice plays for the backup RB. Collinsworth is impressed with Brady Quinn's decisiveness. Fans getting on Braylon Edwards for not coming down with an acrobatic catch. Browns settle for a field goal and take a 10-7 lead.
Browns corners are giving too much space, but Cutler is staring down his receivers. Let's see what happens this drive. Cutler throws it right into Brodney Poole's gut for a pick. Brandon Marshall fell down, but that looked like a misread anyway. Marshall jumped inside when he should have slid outside. Collinsworth says the pick is on Marshall, not Cutler. Quinn-to-Winslow for their 2nd TD connection of the day, and it's 17-7 Browns. Collinsworth says "this is what the Cleveland Browns offense looked like a season ago.
Tony Scheffler isn't moving well despite that 39-yard opening drive reception. That groin injury is still an issue. Uh-oh, Torain down and holding his left knee. Better get over to Rotoworld:
Ryan Torain went down with a left knee injury in the second quarter of Thursday's game against the Browns.
Torain appeared to have his knee bent back while being tackled. After being down for a minute, trainers checked him out and he half-jogged to the sidelines. Torain was running well and had posted 68 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries before leaving. A clearly hobbled Selvin Young replaced Torain, and NFL Network's Cris Collinsworth surmised that rookie fullback Peyton Hillis may have to finish the game at tailback.
Brady Quinn is off to a 10-of-14 for 100 yards and 2 TDs start. What took so long, Romeo? Phil Dawson hits a 52-yard knuckleball for a 20-10 lead.
Brandon Marshall wide open and just drops the ball. Discombobulated drive to end the half for the reeling Broncos. They're an awful football team right now.
Quinn throws a much more catchable short pass than Derek Anderson, which is nice since the Browns have noticeably shortened their passing game. Jerome Harrison looked awfully good on his one drive. Quinn's 1st-half QB rating = 131.0 and managing the game well. Collinsworth said he's come out and "run the entire package."
Quinn hits Braylon Edwards on a 17-yard slant to open the first half. Dre Bly had been shadowing Edwards throughout the first half.
Per ESPN's James Walker:
- Denver's defense is as porous as advertised. The Browns are having their way at the line of scrimmage and the Broncos are getting no pass rush when needed. It's also put a lot of pressure on Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler to throw often and he's been shaky in the first half.
Brady Quinn had hit 10 in a row before that miss to Edwards. Cribbs direct-snap rush, and that dude is tough to bring down. They have to get the ball in his hands more often. Collinsworth: "right now the Denver Broncos defense is simply horrible."
Rookie Wesley Woodyard disses Jamal Lewis' stiffarm attempt and starts getting all geeked up. Hey, at least it's a sign of life from the defense. Dawson nails a 33-yarder for a 23-10 lead.
Peyton Hillis starts the second half at tailback for the Broncos. Awesome catch by Scheffler on a perfect Cutler throw. I should have started him tonight, but I didn't think he was healthy enough. And on cue, he's slow to get up. Peyton Hillis is going nowhere on the ground.
Shaun Rogers is sidelined with a "stinger" and Tony Scheffler is on the stationary bike with an aggravation of his groin injury. Ryan Torain has been ruled out for the remainder of the game.
Collinsworth impressed with Quinn's scrambling ability, drawing time for his receivers down the field. He says it's a big difference between Quinn and Anderson.
Wow! Cutler to Royal for 93 yards and a touchdown! Woo-hoo! A slant-and-go, Royal burns McDonald and ducks under the flailing tackle. We've got a 23-20 ballgame, folks.
Joshua Cribbs answers with a 43-yard return to mid-field. That boy good. Quinn hits Winslow for the third-down conversion, but Winslow is stripped. Bronco football, recovered by Karl Paymah. Both Scheffler and Shaun Rogers are back in the game.
Cutler just misses Scheffler, throws a near pick, and then finds Eddie Royal for a third-down conversion. Cutler sacked for the first time tonight -- Cameron Wimbley. Cutler throws into heavy traffic, and Nate Jackson makes a fantastic fighting catch. Cutler misses Jackson this time, and Browns pass rushers are starting to pin their ears back. I'm assuming Scheffler is banged up again, since Jackson is seeing so much time on a key drive. Daniel Graham makes up for the first half goal-line drop with an impressive run after the catch for a lengthy touchdown. Broncos take the lead, and Cutler is over 400 yards. 17 unanswered points for the Broncos.
Let's see what Brady Quinn is made of here. Browns haven't gone down the field all game. Quinn's first pass is a bullet with little touch that is too hot for Stallworth to handle. Settle down, Brady. Cribbs with a first-down on the end around, and as usual, he's tough to bring down. Quinn-to-Winslow, short pass but big gainer. 30 yards, most of it coming after the catch. Never fails. Any time a tight end has the best game of his season, I end up playing him in my Dynasty league. I just hope Eddie Royal helps set that off. Quinn hits Jamal Lewis under pressure, and Lewis does damage after the catch. Good pocket presence by Quinn. Stallworth to the goal-line, and Paymah stops a TD. Lewis stuffed. Lewis breaks the plane this time on a second & third effort, 30-27 Brownies with just under 5:00 left.
Cutler trying to drive, but he lays Nate Jackson out, and Willie McGinest drills him right in the head. Here comes Scheffler back in the game even though he's clearly far from healthy. Fourth & 1, and the Broncos will use a timeout here after already losing one on the challenge. Jay Cutler has a career high in passing yards. Eddie Royal's 52 receptions through 8 games is an NFL rookie record. Cutler scrambles for about 15 yards, and the Broncos have it at the Browns' 10-yard line. Cutler to Marshall in the end zone, and there's awful lot of contact, but Marshall can't hang on. Go to Royal here! No, same play to Marshall, and this time he breaks free for the TD. Broncos take the 34-30 lead with a minute left.
Brady Quinn is laughing about it the sidelines. Great sign, cool under pressure. Can he take it down the field and put it in the end zone here? A big Cribbs return would help. Collinworth repeats that Quinn's mobility is a real difference-maker for the Browns offense. He's also shown a nice pocket presence. He drills this throw into the dirt on 3rd & 1 and may have had the yips on that one. 4th & 1, big play here. Through the hands of Winslow, and Collinsworth is stunned that the Browns didn't run . . . or even have Jamal Lewis in the game for the threat of a run. That's going to end the game. Broncos win a thriller, 34-30.