CLEVELAND - Overcome with emotion, Kellen Winslow could barely speak. For a long moment, he sat at his locker, bowed his head and reflected on a day unlike any he’s exerpienced in the NFL.
This was a special win for Winslow, and the tear running down his left cheek was proof.
He’s tired of losing, and so are the Cleveland Browns.
“It’s about how bad do you want it,” said Winslow, who ignored shoulder and knee pain to catch 11 passes for 125 yards. “I’m just so proud of us because we fought as a team. We deserve this.”
Counted out before the season started, the Browns are back.
Phil Dawson’s 25-yard field goal in overtime sent Cleveland to a 33-30 comeback win Sunday over the Seattle Seahawks, giving the surprising Browns their first three-game winning streak in six years.
Jamal Lewis rushed for a career-high four touchdowns, the last with 2:17 remaining in regulation, for the Browns (5-3), who trailed 21-6 in the first half and were down 27-22 in the fourth quarter.
But quarterback Derek Anderson brought them back, and Cleveland’s pitiful defense, which came in as the NFL’s worst-ranked unit, made a stop — helped by an official’s review — on a crucial play in OT to lift the Browns, who until Sunday had beaten teams with a combined 6-24 record.
Dawson, who hooked an extra point in the first half, atoned for his miss by kicking the game-winner — on second down 5:43 into OT — to send a crowd of more than 70,000 into a frenzy. The Browns went just 4-12 last season and were given little chance of being competitive this season.
But here they are at the halfway point of the regular season: near the top of the AFC North and in the playoff mix.
“We became a team today,” Dawson said. “The offense moved the ball. The defense stopped them and we were feeding off one and other. It’s been a long time since I’ve kicked one that mattered like that.”
Anderson went 29-of-48 for 364 yards, and Winslow, who missed most of his first two seasons with serious injuries, played the way his Hall of Fame father once did. He left everything he had on the field, and afterward credited his teammates for never giving up.
“The whole team fought their butts off,” Winslow said. “If we had lost that one, the way we came back, it may have turned the season around.”
As he was discussing the victory, his personal comeback from injuries and his dad, Winslow had to briefly stop to regain his composure. Overwhelmed by it all, he stared at the floor and savored a moment he could have only dreamed about.
“You’ve got to love that guy,” cornerback Leigh Bodden said. “He loves the game. He loves to play and he loves to win. He just wants it.”
Lewis scored on runs of 2, 1, 2 and 1 yards on a day his single-game rushing record of 295 yards — set against the Browns while he was with Baltimore in 2003 — was topped by Minnesota rookie Adrian Peterson.
Seattle’s Matt Hasselbeck went 30-of-47 for 318 yards and threw two TD passes for the Seahawks (4-4), who also got a 94-yard punt return from Nate Burleson in the first half to open a 15-point lead.
Bobby Engram had a career-high 14 catches for 139 yards and a TD for the Seahawks.
After Lewis’ fourth TD gave the Browns a 28-27 lead, they had to go for 2 because of Dawson’s earlier missed extra point. Anderson then jammed a pass to Joe Jurevicius to make it 30-27.
Hasselbeck drove Seattle to Cleveland’s 2 and Josh Brown booted a 22-yard field goal as time expired in regulation.
Seattle won the toss and got the ball first in OT. The Seahawks appeared to pick up a crucial first down when Hasselbeck scrambled on 3rd-and-8. However, the play was reviewed and the officials determined the quarterback’s left elbow had hit the ground short of the first-down marker.
Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren was disappointed with the reversal.
“It was called good on the field,” he said. “They really have to see something pretty decisive to overturn it. I thought that was the rule. We’re looking at the same replay in our booth as they are, I think. I just don’t think you can overturn it unless they saw something we didn’t.”
“We didn’t get the job done,” Hasselbeck said.
The Browns took over, and on second down, Anderson hit Lewis with a well-timed screen pass to the 21.
Anderson ran for 10 yards, and after another run inside, Dawson, the only Browns player left from the 1999 expansion team, came in and booted the Browns to victory.
“It was a rough day at the office,” Dawson said. “But the guys gave me a chance to come back and redeem myself.”
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