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Steelers AFC North: Browns slip past 49ers

Monday, September 22, 2003

By The Associated Press

Though Carmen Policy wore the biggest grin in the Cleveland Browns' locker room, the win and the fourth-quarter comeback were even more important to Kelly Holcomb.

Andre Davis caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Holcomb with 29 seconds left as the Browns rallied for two late scores and a 13-12 victory yesterday against the San Francisco 49ers.

The Browns (1-2) had one touchdown in their first 11 quarters this season before scoring two in the fourth against San Francisco's defense, which held them to 113 yards in the first three quarters. It was all leading up to another comeback win for a franchise that has specialized in them since rejoining the NFL four seasons ago.

"That's Cleveland Browns football: Just wait until the last minute and 35 seconds of the game," coach Butch Davis said.

Holcomb beat out Tim Couch in training camp, but two middling performances in losses had put his job and Cleveland's season in jeopardy. His first three quarters against San Francisco weren't much better -- but with two sore ankles and a 12-point deficit, he led the Browns on two stirring drives for the victory.

"We just hung in there, and when we had to make plays, we made them," Holcomb said. "It's just satisfying that when we had to do it, we stepped up."

Both scoring drives ended in touchdown passes to Davis -- the second capping a 91-yard drive comprised mostly of short, expertly thrown passes. Kevin Johnson caught 11 passes for 109 yards.

The turnaround thrilled a miniature Dawg Pound at Candlestick Park, which at times was loud enough to drown out the disappointed thousands in San Francisco's sellout crowd.

"I think we saved the season today," said Policy, the Cleveland president who held the same job for eight years with the 49ers. "When you go 0-3, everybody is focused on where you aren't. Now, we can focus on moving forward to where we want to be. ... We were Niner-esque at the end."

Other game

Ravens 24, Chargers 10: A week after setting the NFL single-game record with 295 yards on 30 carries, Jamal Lewis ran for 132 yards and one touchdown on 23 carries as visiting Baltimore defeated punchless San Diego. Lewis also fumbled at midfield late in the first quarter, but the ball bounced a few yards ahead and fullback Alan Ricard picked it up and ran 50 yards for a touchdown. Lewis needed 182 yards to break O.J. Simpson's two-game record of 476 yards set in 1976.

Lewis irked LaDainian Tomlinson during the week by saying Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis was going to dominate him. Tomlinson, the NFL's second-leading rusher last year with 1,683 yards, had a season-high 105 yards on 23 carries and scored his first touchdown in three games. He also had eight catches for 51 yards. The Ravens (2-1) won their second in a row . San Diego (0-3) has been outscored, 88-37, this season. Including their second-half collapse last year, the Chargers have lost seven in a row and 10 of 12.

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