CLEVELAND (AP) -- In a matter of seconds, Dwayne Rudd lost his
head, his helmet and the game.
Will the Browns, and particularly Dwayne Rudd, be able to quickly rebound or does this type of mistake have lingering effects?
I believe coach Butch Davis will allow that mistake to push Rudd and the Browns into next week -- they'll be focused and ready to play. Another issue is the quarterback situation: After a performance like that, what do you do with Tim Couch? If he struggles for two or three straight weeks, it will be interesting to see if Davis sits Couch or sticks with him.
Eric Allen played 14 seasons in the NFL for the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.
Rudd drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for throwing his
helmet in celebration, setting up Morten Andersen's 30-yard field
goal with no time showing Sunday and giving the Kansas City Chiefs
a stunning 40-39 win over the Cleveland Browns.
"I'm sick,'' Browns coach Butch Davis said. "To have something
like that happen at the end is inexcusable.''
And unbelievable for the Browns, who had their second straight
bizarre finish at home. Cleveland's home finale last season ended
with angry fans throwing thousands of plastic beer bottles on the
field to protest a call overturned by instant replay.
Bottles are now banned in Browns Stadium. Rudd's lone projectile
cost Cleveland this time.
"I shouldn't have taken it off,'' Rudd said. "It's against the
rules. I thought we had won.''
Rudd, thinking he had sacked Kansas City's Trent Green, had his
back to the play and didn't see the quarterback flip the ball to
6-foot-6, 323-pound tackle John Tait, who rumbled 28 yards to the
As Rudd retrieved his helmet -- which he tossed 15 yards down
field -- the officials moved the ball half the distance to the goal
line for Andersen, whose game-winning kick capped a 23-point fourth
quarter for Kansas City.
"This was just luck,'' said Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez, who
missed training camp but had five catches for 87 yards and a TD.
"The coaches might call it preparation or whatever. But to me,
it's luck, and I'll take it every time.''
Priest Holmes matched a club record with four TD runs -- three in
the final 9:06 -- and had 122 yards for the Chiefs, who trailed
30-17 with 11:19 left after Cleveland's Phil Dawson kicked a
34-yard field goal.
"Right then, we've got to shut the door,'' Davis said.
Dawson had four field goals for Cleveland, which lost three
games on the final play -- two in OT -- in 2001.
Dawson's fourth field goal with 29 seconds left extended his
streak to 19 in a row dating to last season and put the Browns
However, Cleveland holder Chris Gardocki was called for taunting
on the kick, forcing Dawson to kick off from his own 15 and the
Chiefs returned it to the 35. TV replays appeared to show that it
was Dawson who had yelled at one of the Chiefs.
On first down, Green ran for 12 yards and quickly lined up the
offense before spiking the ball with four seconds left.
The Chiefs sent all their receivers deep into the right end zone
to try a final, "Hail Mary'' play. Green was flushed from the
pocket and was about to be sacked by Rudd when he alertly tossed
the ball behind him to Tait.
"I was just looking for a red jersey, and I saw it was John,''
Green said. "We're going to have to check his background to see if
he was a running back at any point in his career.''
With a couple blockers in front of him, Tait then stomped his
way down the left sideline in front of Cleveland's shocked bench
before being run out of bounds by safety Devin Bush.
Tait said he knew Green was in trouble.
"We made eye contact and he flipped me the ball,'' Tait said.
"I've never had the ball before, not even in Pop Warner. When I
was a kid I always dreamed about doing something like that, but in
the dream, I score the winning touchdown.''
Rudd was sure he had tackled Green before the quarterback got
rid of the ball.
"I thought he was down,'' Rudd said. "When I tackled him, he
rolled over on my facemask. I looked up and saw triple zeros on the
clock and thought the game was over.''
The Browns thought they had won their season opener and began
walking across the field to shake hands when referee Ron Blum waved
them back to the bench.
Blum then announced the infraction against Rudd, and said Kansas
City's kick would be an untimed play.
Andersen, who kicked a 33-yarder in the third quarter, then
split the uprights to give Kansas City the stunning victory and cap
a wild afternoon of scoring.
"I went to BYU, man,'' Tait said. ``I'm used to these
high-scoring games but it's never over 'til it's over.''
Holmes' four rushing TDs matched the Chiefs' record
previously set by Abner Haynes in 1961. ... Browns RT Ryan Tucker,
one of the club's big free agent signings, sprained his left knee
in the first quarter and didn't return. ... Andersen has 30 career
game-winning kicks. With 2,046 points, he needs 88 to pass Gary Anderson as the NFL's all-time scoring leader. ... The Chiefs came
in 0-6-1 in their last seven trips to Cleveland since 1971. ...
Kansas City DE Eric Hicks sprained his right ankle and sat out the
second half. ... Browns WR Kevin Johnson, a former college
quarterback at Syracuse, threw a 33-yard TD pass in the first half.
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