Colts
Browns
10 - 6 Final
  for this game

Fumble return by Mathis saves sluggish Colts

Nov 30, 2008 - 10:53 PM By Jeff Brewer PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- Defensive end Robert Mathis rescued the Indianapolis Colts from what would have been a horrendous loss.

Mathis returned a fumble 37 yards for a touchdown with just under 10 minutes for his first career score Sunday as the Colts posted a 10-6 victory over the Cleveland Browns.

"I still don't know how to feel," Mathis said. "I just remember thinking, 'Don't get caught.' When I saw the ball on the ground, it looked like a pile of gold."

Indianapolis (8-4) overcame three turnovers, including two by quarterback Peyton Manning, who threw an interception and fumbled on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line.

"It seems like every time we come to Cleveland, it comes down to the last play," said Colts coach Tony Dungy, whose team is 5-0 here since the Browns returned to the NFL in 1999.

Through three-plus quarters, the Colts were held to only a field goal and seemed headed to their first game without a touchdown since a 9-6, season-opening win at Cleveland in 2003.

But fellow defensive end Dwight Freeney stripped Cleveland quarterback Derek Anderson. The ball bounced right into the hands of Mathis, who returned it the distance to give Indianapolis its fifth straight victory.

"Our defense won the game for us," said Manning, who was just 15-of-21 for 125 yards.

Mathis, who also forced a fumble in last week's 23-20 victory at San Diego, sacked Anderson for a 10-yard loss on the Browns' final possession.

Anderson, starting in place of Brady Quinn, who is out for the season with a fractured finger, was knocked out of the game on the sack.

The Browns (4-8) were forced to go with third-string quarterback Ken Dorsey, who saw his first action of the season. But Dorsey threw two incompletions and an interception, ending Cleveland's hopes.

"We knew we might be able to get some bull rushes on the Browns," Dungy added. "Both of our sacks ended up because of bull rushes."

The Colts kept alive their slim chances for a sixth straight AFC South title, although they trail Tennessee by three games with only four remaining.

An early tone was set when Indianapolis running back Joseph Addai fumbled at the Colts' 47 on the game's opening play, his first in two years.

Cleveland cashed the turnover into a 34-yard field goal by Phil Dawson with 9:09 remaining in the first quarter.

After Indianapolis answered on Adam Vinatieri's 30-yarder that capped a seven-minute drive, the Browns kept the ball out of the hands of Manning with a 16-play, nine-minute possession, Cleveland's longest of the season.

Once again, however, the Browns had to settle for a field goal, taking a 6-3 halftime lead on Dawson's 25-yard kick with 7:36 remaining in the second period.

"We only gave up three points," Cleveland defensive back Sean Jones said. "They have a prolific offense. It's a testament to how far we have come as a defense."

Their defense may be improved, but the Browns' offense remains missing in action, which will do nothing to help the job security of embattled coach Romeo Crennel.

Anderson completed his first seven passes, but finished just 16-of-26 for 110 yards as the Browns were held without a touchdown for the second straight game.

"The team played their hearts out today," Crennel said. "We held them off the scoreboard by forcing them to kick field goals. If you can get that done against this offense, you are doing a good job."






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    Colts 10, Browns 6  FinalDec 1 5:43 PM
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  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    INDIANAPOLIS 3 0 0 7 10
    CLEVELAND 3 3 0 0 6 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: CLE - FG, PHIL DAWSON 34 YD, 5:56. Drive: 10
    plays, 30 yards in 5:32. Key plays:
    Wright recovery of Addai fumble at
    Indianapolis 47; Anderson 3-yard
    run on 3rd-and-1 to Indianapolis
    35; Wrig

    Nov 30 3:46 PM
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    Colts 10, Browns 6  4th - 2:00Nov 30 3:36 PM
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    Colts 10, Browns 6  4th - 5:32Nov 30 3:29 PM


  • NFL
    TD IND
    ROBERT MATHIS 37 YD FUMBLE RETURN
    (ADAM VINATIERI KICK)
    INDIANAPOLIS 10
    CLEVELAND 6 9:45 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Colts 10, Browns 6  4th - 9:45Nov 30 3:19 PM
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    Colts 10, Browns 6  4th - 9:45Nov 30 3:19 PM
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  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    INDIANAPOLIS 3 0 0 3
    CLEVELAND 3 3 0 6 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: CLE - FG, PHIL DAWSON 34 YD, 5:56. Drive: 10
    plays, 30 yards in 5:32. Key plays:
    Wright recovery of Addai fumble at
    Indianapolis 47; Anderson 3-yard
    run on 3rd-and-1 to Indianapolis
    3

    Nov 30 3:04 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    INDIANAPOLIS 3 0 3
    CLEVELAND 3 3 6 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: CLE - FG, PHIL DAWSON 34 YD, 5:56. Drive: 10
    plays, 30 yards in 5:32. Key plays:
    Wright recovery of Addai fumble at
    Indianapolis 47; Anderson 3-yard
    run on 3rd-and-1 to Indianapolis
    35; W

    Nov 30 2:17 PM
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  • NFL
    FG CLE
    PHIL DAWSON 25 YD
    INDIANAPOLIS 3
    CLEVELAND 6 7:35 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Colts 3, Browns 6  2nd - 7:35Nov 30 1:46 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    INDIANAPOLIS 3 3
    CLEVELAND 3 3 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: CLE - FG, PHIL DAWSON 34 YD, 5:56. Drive: 10
    plays, 30 yards in 5:32. Key plays:
    Wright recovery of Addai fumble at
    Indianapolis 47; Anderson 3-yard
    run on 3rd-and-1 to Indianapolis
    3

    Nov 30 1:32 PM


  • NFL
    FG IND
    ADAM VINATIERI 30 YD
    INDIANAPOLIS 3
    CLEVELAND 3 1:58 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Colts 3, Browns 3  1st - 1:58Nov 30 1:24 PM


  • NFL
    FG CLE
    PHIL DAWSON 34 YD
    INDIANAPOLIS 0
    CLEVELAND 3 9:04 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Colts 0, Browns 3  1st - 9:04Nov 30 1:10 PM
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