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Kosar Returns and Rallies Browns : Loss Drops Phoenix Out of a First-Place Deadlock in NFC East

<i> From Times Wire Services </i>

Cleveland Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar was determined to make up for lost time.

Kosar, who had not played since suffering a sprained right elbow in the Sept. 4 season-opener, threw for 314 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Browns beat the Phoenix Cardinals, 29-21, Sunday at Sun Devil Stadium.

His last scoring strike was a 25-yarder to Reggie Langhorne with 8:14 remaining for the winning points.

“We’ve been in these type of situations before in other stadiums when it’s time for a team to show its character and we showed our character,” Kosar said. “We played a good aggressive game, and the important thing is we got the victory.”

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Kosar completed 25 of 43 passes with 3 interceptions and hit 20 of 28 passes for 224 yards in the first half.

But he missed 5 straight in the second half before starting the Browns on a decisive 8-play, 90-yard drive with Langhorne catching a pass at the 20 and zig-zagging his way into the end zone for a 27-21 lead.

“Bernie’s started 2 games this season for us and he’s 2-0. That’s all that counts for me,” Browns Coach Marty Schottenheimer said. “The Cardinals came off the bus blitzing, so we had to go to the short stuff. The key was keeping control of the ball and making first downs. Bernie called a couple of key audibles that kept drives going. We had to find a way to get it done and we got it done.”

Cleveland (5-3) and owners of the NFL’s best pass defense, intercepted backup quarterback Cliff Stoudt twice in a 3-minute span late in the fourth quarter and then sacked him for a safety with 1:43 remaining for the final points.

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The Cardinals (4-4) fell out of a first-place tie in the NFC East with the loss--their second straight after winning the previous 4.

“We had some turnovers and silly fumbles on offense and that had a lot to do with the loss,” Phoenix Coach Gene Stallings said. “Cleveland really pressured our quarterback and their defensive coverage was great. Kosar is a good quarterback. He had a lot of good passes that he threw underhand or sidearm. But Cliff came in for us and did an outstanding job.”

Phoenix had taken a 21-20 lead when Stoudt, subbing for the injured Neil Lomax, fired a 21-yard touchdown pass to Robert Awalt with 11:09 left in the game.


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