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American Football: Recap: Kansas City vs Cleveland

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posted on Aug, 29 2004 @ 09:28 AM
In the final minutes of this preseason game, rookie quarterback Luke McCown showed accuracy, arm strength and grace under fire.

McCown, already penciled in as Cleveland's third-team quarterback, connected with rookie Richard Alston for a 34-yard TD pass with no time left Saturday night, lifting the Browns past Kansas City 21-19.

McCown, a fourth-round pick out of Louisiana Tech, engineered an eight-play, 80-yard drive in the final 1 minute, 39 seconds. He also hit C.J. Jones for 37 yards in the drive and found Darnell Sanders for a 7-yard scoring pass with 3:40 left to pull the Browns within five.

"When I can go out and have fun, make the right reads, make quick decisions and give us a chance to win, that's all that matters," said McCown, who was 8-for-15 for 109 yards.

Losing wide receiver Marc Boerigter pained the Chiefs more than losing the game. Boerigter was helped off the field with a knee injury in the first half, further crippling a wide receiver corps already weakened by an Achilles tendon injury to Johnnie Morton. The Chiefs said Boerigter would be examined Sunday.

"I heard it's not good," said wide receiver Dante Hall. "The guy's worked so hard. You just hate to see that happen to anyone."

Morton's return remains murky. The other starting wide receiver, Eddie Kennison, has been hampered by an arm injury.

"If (Boerigter) is out for a while it's a blow," said Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez. "It's a significant blow in my opinion. But at the same time we do have a lot of guys around here who can make plays."

Much of the night belonged to rookies and reserves. Todd Collins, the Chiefs' backup to Trent Green, hit 12 of 14 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns, putting the Chiefs (1-2) on top 19-7 before McCown got cranked up.

Kansas City's second team offense had come to the top after the starters failed for the first time in three exhibition games to score a TD.

Collins found rookie wide receiver Richard Smith on a 21-yard strike to fuel a nine-play, 64-yard march on his first possession, capped by a 9-yard scoring pass to Derrick Blaylock.

A few minutes later, he hooked up with Chris Horn on a sideline pattern that went 50 yards. An additional 15 yards were tacked on for a roughing-the-passer penalty against Sherrod Coates.

Four plays later, Collins found fullback Omar Easy wide open in the corner for a 4-yard TD strike that made it 19-7 with 54 seconds to go in the third period.

In their summer-long battle to be Cleveland's starting running back, William Green had 53 yards on just three carries and Lee Suggs had 31 on four.

The Cleveland offense, which has emphasized the run throughout the preseason, rushed for 90 yards in the first half. In the first team's only touchdown drive, Green broke loose for 42 yards to the Kansas City 23.

Then following a 5-yard penalty, Suggs got an outstanding downfield block from wide receiver Quincy Morgan and went 28 yards for the TD.

"These two guys are great kids and they're busting their tails to be the best players they can be," said Cleveland coach Butch Davis.

In three exhibition games for the Browns (2-1), Green has 100 yards and Suggs 118.

"It's a dynamic duo for us and it's one of the real strong parts of our football team," Davis said. "I'm really proud of them and the way they are handling the running back competition. I thought it was a really good, solid first half."

Chiefs starter Trent Green was 12-of-22 for 167 yards, including a 37-yard strike over the middle to Gonzalez. But the offense that led the NFL in scoring each of the past two years and scored TDs on four of six possessions in the first two exhibition games could not dent the Cleveland defense.

"Too many dropped passes and too many penalties," said coach Dick Vermeil. "We stopped ourselves that way."

Lawrence Tynes, in a close battle with longtime NFL star Morten Andersen, was 2-for-3 on field goals.

Cleveland starter Jeff Garcia was 4-for-8 for 37 yards, but the Browns' first-team offense was penalized five times.


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