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Portis: Cleveland anticipated our plays

CLEVELAND -- As a NASCAR team owner, Joe Gibbs could pull
one of his race cars off the track, change tires, drop in a new
engine and realign the chassis.

The Washington Redskins might need a bigger overhaul.

After four games, Gibbs' team is in the pits.

The Redskins lost their third straight game Sunday, watching Lee Suggs rush for one touchdown and Jeff Garcia throw a TD pass to
lead the Cleveland Browns to a 17-13 win.

Suggs, who sat out Cleveland's first three games with a neck
stinger, ran for 82 yards and scored on a 3-yard run in the fourth
as the Browns improved to 1-2 against the NFC.

Gibbs, whose celebrated return to the NFL came after dabbling in
auto racing for 11 years, has his work cut out for him. The
Redskins (1-3) were undisciplined and sloppy while losing to the
Browns (2-2), who weren't much better.

"Right now, it's penalties, mistakes and turnovers," Gibbs
said. "Because of that, we're not consistent and we beat ourselves."

It didn't help the Redskins that the Browns seemed to know exactly what Washington was going to do. Clinton Portis said Cleveland players were calling out the plays as soon as the Redskins came to the line of scrimmage.

"It was like running into a brick wall," Portis said. "They were literally calling our plays and hitting the gap before us."


Portis was adamant that the Browns knew exactly what running plays were coming -- including which lineman would lead the way and where the play was expected to go -- according to a Washington Post report.

"It's like you're telling me, 'Let's meet right here,' " Portis told the newspaper. "[But] I take the blame for this game and I take the blame for the Giants game [gaining 69 yards in a Week 2 loss]. I've been stinking it up, and I've got to play better."

He told the Post that some of the Browns as much as told him after the game that they had known which plays were coming. "How did they know? I have no idea," he said.

Garcia went 14-of-21 for 195 yards and a TD, but Cleveland didn't secure the win until Washington wide receiver Laveranues Coles fumbled with 2:08 left.

An earlier fumble by Portis -- on the first play of the
second half -- allowed the Browns to get back in it after gaining
just four first downs and being booed off the field at halftime.

"My fumble changed the momentum," Portis said. "All of a
sudden, we lost control of the game."

Mark Brunell couldn't get it back as Washington's offense
sputtered again behind its new quarterback. Brunell finished
17-of-38 for 192 yards, but was unable to get into any rhythm
because Cleveland's defense shut down Portis (58 yards, 20
carries).

Another problem: The Washington coach's headsets and sideline
phones malfunctioned.


Gibbs said the Redskins were hampered in the third quarter when he lost communication with Brunell, according to a Baltimore Sun report, and Redskins coaches resorted to hand signals to relay the plays.

Gibbs said the officials didn't feel the problems were severe
enough to shut down the Browns' communication system, too.

"It cost us a timeout," Brunell said. "It's tough,
particularly when you get into an audible situation and you need
time at the line of scrimmage. But the headsets didn't cause the
fumbles or the overthrown passes. We made mistakes."

After losses to Dallas and the New York Giants, Cleveland couldn't
afford another setback, and the Browns forced some of those Redskins mistakes.

"We wanted this game so bad," said Browns tight end Aaron Shea, who had a game-tying TD catch in the second half. "We couldn't drop to 1-3."

The Browns, who lost starters Kellen Winslow Jr. and Courtney Brown for the year with injuries, were in danger of digging a deep early-season hole with a loss.

"We just had to have this, we needed a win," defensive end
Kenard Lang said. "It's really big. Look at me, I'm smiling."

Clinging to the 17-13 lead, the Browns faked a field goal, but
holder Derrick Frost didn't see wide-open tackle Joaquin Gonzalez
down field and was stopped a yard short of a first down.

"There was no one within 20 yards of me," Gonzalez said.
"Obviously, it's upsetting. It's an offensive lineman's dream, a
little fat boy catching the football."

Out of timeouts, Brunell then completed a 13-yard pass to Coles, who fumbled as he was being taken down and Browns safety Earl Little recovered.

"I fumbled the game away for us," Coles said.

Garcia, who played poorly in Cleveland's two previous losses,
then ran out the clock.

"It was just another one of those games where we kept grinding
it out," Garcia said. "We kept willing our way and finally had
some success toward the end."

Notes
Coles had seven catches for 122 yards. ... Winslow, out for
the season with a broken leg, attended the game on crutches.
Winslow had a second surgery this week and will need four to five
months to recover. ... For a change, the Browns reported no
significant injuries.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.