CLEVELAND (AP) -- For the first time this summer, the Cleveland
Browns looked ready for the regular season. Just in time.
"A much better game," Browns coach Butch Davis said. "The
good guys won."
Kelly Holcomb passed for 126 yards in two series and William
Green had a touchdown run, leading the Browns to a 20-9 win over
the Atlanta Falcons, who ended the preseason winless and minus
Holcomb, who beat out Tim Couch for the starting job during
training camp, completed a 68-yard pass on his first throw as the
Browns (1-3) tuned up for their Sept. 7 opener against the
Couch replaced Holcomb in the second quarter and threw a 57-yard
TD pass to Dennis Northcutt. Couch, who looked horrible last week
in his first game since losing his job, finished 7-of-8 for 144
"Baltimore went 0-4 in the preseason," Johnson said. "And
they won the Super Bowl."
Peerless Price caught a TD pass and had 90 receiving yards for
Atlanta, which will open the regular season at Dallas.
Cleveland's first-team defense, shredded during its first three
exhibition games, looked much better against a Falcons' offense
sorely missing Vick.
The Browns' defense came onto the field together during pregame
introductions, an attempt to show there were no hard feelings from
last week when players argued on the sideline in Detroit.
"We finally put things together," tackle Gerard Warren said.
"We came out looking more like we need to look."
Johnson completed 11-of-21 passes, including a 33-yard TD pass
to Price in the second quarter when coach Dan Reeves left his
offensive starters in to get some extra work against the Browns'
No. 2 defense.
However, Johnson and Atlanta's first-team offense struggled to
get going because of several drive-killing penalties in the first
"If everybody works as hard Doug, and does the things he does,
I think we will be ready," Reeves said.
Both teams were hoping to address some problem areas and come
out of the preseason finale as healthy as possible.
But Cleveland lost left tackle Ross Verba to an unspecified
injury to his right arm in the first quarter. X-rays were negative,
but Verba did not return and Davis said he will be reevaluated on
Atlanta strong safety Cory Hall sprained his right knee in the
first half. The Falcons said he will get X-rays on Friday in
Atlanta as a precaution.
Cleveland ran one of its few trick plays of the preseason on its
first offensive snap as Holcomb hooked up with wide receiver Kevin
Johnson on a flea-flicker.
Holcomb set up the play with a handoff to Green, who pitched it
back to his quarterback. Holcomb then threw a 40-yard pass to
Johnson, who caught the pass in stride and ran it to Atlanta's
"We've got some playmakers," Holcomb said. "All you have to
do it get them the ball."
Green ran it to the 4, but the Browns had to settle for Phil
Dawson's 28-yard field goal.
Holcomb then directed a 15-play drive that ended with Green
bowling over from 2 yards on fourth-and-goal.
Browns starting LB Kevin Bentley sat out with an injured
left ankle. Bentley said he hurt it last week at Detroit, but the
team did not disclose it this week. ... Falcons nose tackle Ellis
Johnson had a sack and wreaked havoc inside during the first half.
... Browns rookie LB Chaun Thompson was laid out on a crackback
block by Falcons TE Alge Crumpler. "The hardest hit, ever,"
Thompson said. ... Browns WR Andre' Davis played for the first time
in the preseason after spraining his knee during the first week of
training camp. ... Foge Fazio, fired after last season as the
Browns defensive coordinator, scouted the game for the Washington
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