CLEVELAND – Reuben Droughns outran his embarrassment and brought the Cleveland Browns a win.

Droughns, arrested earlier in the week on a drunken driving charge, rushed for 116 yards and caught a crucial third-down pass for 51 yards, powering the Browns over the Tennessee Titans 20-14.

Droughns added four receptions for 73 yards, but he spent most of the final six minutes in the locker room being treated for leg cramps.

In the third quarter, Droughns caught a short screen pass over the middle and weaved 51 yards to set up Jason Wright’s 6-yard TD run – Cleveland’s first rushing touchdown in nearly a year.

Dennis Northcutt caught a 58-yard TD pass and Phil Dawson kicked field goals of 37 and 19 yards as the Browns (3-5) held off a late rally by the Titans to snap a three-game losing streak.

Dawson was wide right from 39 yards – his first miss in 17 tries this season – with 39 seconds left, and without any timeouts, Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair drove the Titans to Cleveland’s 28 with two seconds left.

McNair was nearly sacked but managed to muscle a pass toward the goal line on the game’s final play that was picked off by Brodney Pool as time expired. But that didn’t end the afternoon for Titans rookie cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones and Browns safety Sean Jones, who exchanged pushes and shoves before being separated.

Cleveland quarterback Trent Dilfer, whose job security was becoming more uncertain with each loss, finished 18-of-34 for 272 yards in blustery conditions and threw his only interception on a desperation heave to end the first half.

Browns punter Kyle Richardson, too, atoned for some lousy performances by placing three kicks inside the 20-yard line.

Tennessee’s Chris Brown had a 15-yard TD run in the fourth and Erron Kinney a 24-yard scoring reception for the young Titans (2-7), who have lost four in a row but now get a bye week to get rested and healthier.

McNair went 18-for-41 for 235 yards. Brown carried 22 times for 95 yards, and brought the Titans within 20-14 on his 15-yard TD with 7:13 left.

With William Green and Lee Suggs injured, the Browns activated Wright from the practice squad on Thursday. After Dilfer hit Droughns underneath for 51 on the inside screen, Wright took a handoff and powered his way into the end zone for his first career TD, giving Cleveland a 17-7 lead.

It was the Browns’ first rushing TD this season and their first since Nov. 28 of last season – a span of 50 quarters.

Dawson’s 37-yard field goal gave the Browns a 20-7 win early in the third quarter.

Lamont Thompson’s 38-yard punt return helped set up Tennessee’s tying touchdown late in the first half.

Taking over at his own 46, McNair completed passes of 19 and 11 yards to rookies Bo Scaife and Roydell Williams before finding Kinney over the middle to make it 7-all.

Northcutt had become a forgotten man in Cleveland’s offensive scheme, failing to catch a pass in each of Cleveland’s past two games. But Dilfer didn’t hesitate going to the speedy wideout, hitting him to put the Browns ahead 7-0 in the first.

Northcutt also had a key 31-yard run on a reverse in the fourth.

AP-ES-11-06-05 1642EST


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