Time: 1:00 pm, Sunday, December 27, 2009
Location: Cleveland Browns Stadium
Network, Announcers: CBS- Don Criqui and Randy Cross.
Line: Browns by three.
Team W/L Records: Cleveland is 3-11; Oakland is 5-9.
Coaches: Eric Mangini is 26-36 overall, 3-11 with the Browns; Tom Cable is 9-17 in his second season with the Raiders.
Last Week for the Browns: Got a record-setting day from Jerome Harrison and Josh Cribbs in their second consecutive victory, 41-34 over Kansas City. Harrison annihilated the franchise single-game rushing record with 286 yards, good for third all-time. Cribbs was his usual spectacular self, setting the NFL record for career kick-return touchdowns and taking two to the house from distances of 100 and 103 yards.
Last Week for the Raiders: Stunned the Broncos 20-19 at Invesco Field as the much-maligned JaMarcus Russell found Chaz Schilens with a ten-yard touchdown strike with 35 seconds to play. It was the third time in five weeks the Raiders won in either the final minute of regulation or in overtime.
All-Time Series: Raiders lead 12-7.
Last Meeting- September 23, 2009: In a bizarre afternoon in Oakland the Browns rallied from a 16-0 deficit to take a 17-16 lead, but fell behind for good on a one-yard Lamont Jordan touchdown plunge and fell to the Raiders, 26-24. Derek Anderson threw for 248 yards and let the Browns to what appeared to be the game-winning field goal by Phil Dawson, only to have the kick wiped out by a timeout called just before the snap by Oakland coach Lane Kiffin. Dawson's second attempt from 40 yards out was blocked and the Browns were losers.
Out or Questionable for Oakland: WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (foot) and WR Nick Miller (shin) are out; RB Justin Fargas (knee) and QB Bruce Gradkowski (knee) are doubtful; TE Brandon Myers (concussion), TE Justin Miller (concussion) and DE Greg Ellis (knee) are questionable.
Out or Questionable for Cleveland: S Raymond Ventrone (finger) and DE Corey Williams (thigh) are questionable.
What to watch for both teams: The history of the NFL is rife with legendary quarterback duels. From the Sonny Jurgenson-Don Meredith shootouts of the ‘60s to the Dan Marino-Ken O'Brien bombardments of the ‘80s to the Tom Brady-Peyton Manning donnybrooks of the present, we've been treated to field generals raising their game, spurred on by the challenge of greatness. This naturally brings us to the newest in the annals of the great quarterback duels: Derek Anderson versus Charlie Frye.
These two gunslingers first locked horns on the playing fields of Berea in the summer of 2007, when they cleaved the warm Ohio air with footballs- many of them wobbly, under-thrown and overthrown- in a mano-a-mano battle for the starting job in Cleveland. After several weeks of split reps, aborted drives and failed jokes about coin flips, Frye emerged as the victor. Thirty minutes into Week One, after a five-sack, zero-point fiasco against the Steelers, Frye was out and on his way to Seattle, as far as possible from Cleveland (Phil Savage would have traded him to Vladivostok if the NFL had a franchise there) and Anderson was at the top of the heap in Browns country... for the time being.
Now, nearly three full seasons later, the two combatants meet again on the briny shores of Lake Erie, in command of teams with a combined record of 8-20. Frye owns a rating of 38.0 in limited action; just ahead of Anderson's 36.2. Put those ratings together and you have a mediocre quarterback, but no matter- the memories of that long-ago competition in Cleveland should be all the motivation these two need to raise their games to a dizzying new level.
Or maybe not.
Good Past Win over the Raiders- October 12, 2003: It was the Flags, Phil and William Green Show as the Browns came from behind to top the error-prone Raiders, 13-7 at CBS. Oakland was whistled for a whopping 19 penalties on the afternoon, while Phil Dawson booted two field goals and set up Cleveland's lone touchdown with a 14-yard run off a fake field goal. Green accounted for that touchdown on a five-yard burst and ran for 145 yards on 26 carries.
Bad Past Loss to the Raiders- October 20, 1985: Marc Wilson found Todd Christiensen with an eight-yard touchdown pass on fourth down with 29 seconds to play as the Los Angeles Raiders came from behind to beat the Browns in a 21-20 heartbreaker. Out-gained 319-232, the Browns managed to gain their late lead on two Matt Bahr field goals and touchdowns by Earnest Byner and Kevin Mack. The Raiders aided Cleveland's cause with two turnovers and 13 penalties, but came through when they had to.
Next Week for Both Teams: Cleveland finishes the season at Jacksonville; Oakland finishes the season at home against Baltimore.
Trivia: The Browns are 1-5 all-time at home against the Oakland/Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, including the Red Right 88 playoff loss in January of 1981.