Overturned call causes near riot by bottle-throwing Browns fans

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2001

CLEVELAND -- An overturned call in the final minute helped give the Jacksonville Jaguars a 15-10 win over Cleveland and caused a near riot by bottle-throwing Browns fans Sunday.

The fans pelted the field with thousands of plastic bottles -- many of them filled with beer -- and other debris before the game was stopped with 48 seconds left. A few fans tried to run on the field but were quickly caught by security personnel.

The Jaguars (5-8) had to dodge flying objects as they sprinted off the field, and the officials were doused with beer and cups of ice as they tried to run for safety.

While both teams were in the locker room, NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue called game supervisor Dick McKenzie and ordered him to have the final 48 seconds played.

Nearly 30 minutes after leaving the field, Cleveland's defense and Jacksonville's offense came out of the locker room. The Jaguars re-entered and left the field through the Browns' tunnel to avoid being hit again by debris.

About 5,000 fans were still in the stadium to see Mark Brunell take two snaps and run out the clock. The Jaguars were escorted off the field, surrounded by Browns players, Cleveland police and security personnel.

The fans' ugly behavior came after the Browns (6-7) had a first down at the Jacksonville 9 taken away despite running a play before the officials reviewed it. It was ruled that Tim Couch's pass on a fourth-down play to wide receiver Quincy Morgan was incomplete.

Notes: Browns rookie Anthony Henry returned an interception 97 yards for a TD, matching the longest in Browns' history. Najeee Mustafaa had a 97-yard interception return against Miami on Oct. 10, 1993. ... Browns rookie RB James Jackson sprained his left ankle in the first half and did not return. ... Jacksonville scored a TD on its first possession for the first time since Nov. 21, 1999.

Bears 27, Buccaneers 3

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears clinched their first playoff spot since 1994, forcing four turnovers and putting pressure on Tampa Bay quarterback Brad Johnson all afternoon.

Tony Parrish intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble, and R.W. McQuarters had an interception and a forced fumble.

Anthony Thomas rushed for 173 yards as Chicago (10-3) reached double-digit wins for the first time since 1991. With a minute left in the game, ''Da Bears are playoff bound'' flashed across the scoreboard, and the fans at Soldier Field erupted.

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Buccaneers (7-6) and further damaged their playoff hopes.

Lions 27, Vikings 24

PONTIAC, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions won for the first time this season as rookie quarterback Mike McMahon accounted for 316 yards, ran for a touchdown and had no turnovers against Minnesota.

Detroit (1-12), which lost its previous nine games by a total of 38 points, almost found yet another dramatic way to lose.

The Lions scored the go-ahead touchdown with 10:36 left after seeing a 13-point halftime lead turn into a 24-20 deficit on Randy Moss' two third-quarter touchdowns for the Vikings.

Minnesota (5-8) had the ball twice inside Detroit territory in the final 10 minutes, but could not drive get close enough for a game-tying field goal. The loss likely ended the Vikings' run of five consecutive playoff appearances.

49ers 21, Dolphins 0

SAN FRANCISCO -- Kevan Barlow rushed for two touchdowns to end lengthy scoring drives, and Zack Bronson made two of San Francisco's three interceptions as the 49ers recorded their second straight home shutout, beating the Miami Dolphins.

The 49ers (10-3) won for the sixth time in seven games and moved to the verge of a playoff berth.

Jeff Garcia shook off bruised ribs to pass for 133 yards and a touchdown to rookie Eric Johnson, while Garrison Hearst rushed for 103 yards, giving him 1,042 yards in his comeback season.

San Francisco, which shut out Buffalo 35-0 two weeks ago, was just as dominant against the Dolphins (9-4).

Eagles 20, Redskins 6

PHILADELPHIA -- Donovan McNabb overcame a career-high three interceptions to throw touchdown passes to Freddie Mitchell and Todd Pinkston, and the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Washington Redskins.

The victory gave the Eagles (9-4) a 6-0 road record and a three-game lead over the Redskins (6-7) and New York Giants (6-7) with three games remaining.

One more Eagles' victory or one Giants' loss will give Philadelphia its NFC East crown since 1988.

The Redskins had drives reach Philadelphia's 21, 20, 7, 35, 30, 20, 16 and 1, and all they had to show for it were field goals bt Brett Conway.

Titans 26, Packers 20

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Steve McNair threw for two touchdowns and 283 yards as the Tennessee Titans beat the Green Bay Packers and kept them from clinching a playoff berth for at least another week.

The Packers (9-4) needed Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Washington all to lose, and they all obliged. But the Titans (6-7) played the unaccustomed role of spoiler by playing keepaway from one of the NFL's best offenses.

Brett Favre came in leading the NFL with 25 touchdown passes with a chance to add more against the league's worst passing defense. But he looked out of synch, throwing an interception and losing a fumble.

NFC-leading rusher Ahman Green was held to 9 yards on nine carries.

Seahawks 29, Cowboys 3

SEATTLE -- Ricky Watters and Shaun Alexander each rushed for a touchdown, and the Seattle Seahawks stayed in the middle of the playoff race by beating the Dallas Cowboys.

The Seahawks (7-6) ended a two-game winning streak by the Cowboys (4-7) in a driving rain and strong winds at Husky Stadium.

Watters ran for his 78th career touchdown in the first quarter, and Alexander scored 12th rushing touchdown of the season in the final quarter. Watters' right ankle was injured on the second play of the fourth period.

Chiefs 26, Broncos 23, OT

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Todd Peterson, who had one kick in overtime nullified by a penalty and missed another, hit a 32-yarder to lift the Kansas City Chiefs over the Denver Broncos.

Peterson appeared to win it with his 31-yard kick in overtime. But pushed back by a penalty, he hit the right upright from 41 yards.

Then, following a Denver punt and Trent Green's 56-yard completion to Marvin ''Snoop'' Minnis, Peterson won it for the Chiefs (4-9) with 6:10 left in overtime.

The Broncos (7-7) went with third-string quarterback Jarious Jackson in the third quarter. Gus Frerotte, subbing for an injured Brian Griese, was shaken up while diving into the end zone.

Jets 15, Bengals 14

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Seldom-used tight ends James Dearth and Anthony Becht caught short touchdown passes from Vinny Testaverde and the New York Jets rallied in the fourth quarter to beat the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Jets had lost five straight games in December, the month when they traditionally fade. The win kept New York (8-5) firmly in the AFC playoff picture.

Corey Dillon went over 1,000 yards rushing for the fifth straight season and scored two touchdowns for Cincinnati (4-9).

Patriots 12, Bills 9, OT

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Adam Vinatieri kicked a 23-yard field goal, his fourth of the game, moving the New England Patriots closer to a playoff berth with a win over the Buffalo Bills.

The Patriots (9-5) have won four straight for the first time in two years. The Bills (2-11) lost for the seventh time in eight home games.

The turned on a video ruling during the Patriots' first possession, five minutes into overtime. New England's David Patten lost the ball after catching a pass, and it was recovered by Buffalo's Nate Clements.

Initially ruled a fumble, referee Mike Carey determined by a video review that Patten's head was out of bounds while he was still in contact with the ball.

Colts 41, Falcons 27

INDIANAPOLIS -- Dominic Rhodes rushed for 177 yards, Peyton Manning threw for 325 yards and three touchdowns and the Indianapolis Colts beat the Atlanta Falcons for their first home victory since Sept. 23.

The Colts (5-8) ended a five-game losing streak and sent Atlanta (6-7) to its third straight loss.

Steelers 26, Ravens 21

BALTIMORE -- Kordell Stewart passed for 333 yards and two touchdowns and Pittsburgh's top-ranked defense stymied Baltimore, leading the Steelers to the AFC Central title and their first playoff berth since 1997.

Stewart completed 20 of 31 passes Pittsburgh (11-2), playing without leading rusher Jerome Bettis, held the ball more than 22 minutes more than the Ravens (8-5).

Stewart tossed touchdown passes to Plaxico Burress and Bobby Shaw. Burress finished with eight catches for a career-high 164 yards. Shaw had two receptions for 100 yards; including a 90-yard TD pass that tied for the longest in franchise history.

Kris Brown kicked field goals of 22 and 33 yards for the Steelers, who won their sixth straight, their longest run since 1995.

Baltimore quarterback Elvis Grbac was 20-for-38 for 159 yards and two scores.



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