NFL

McCown throws pair of touchdowns; Bears beat Browns

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Associated Press
8/31/2012 12:36:27 AM
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CLEVELAND -- The passes have been thrown, the performances are over. There's nothing left for Browns coach Pat Shurmur to do but name either Colt McCoy or Seneca Wallace as his backup quarterback.

Shurmur's not ready.

"I do know what I want to do," Shurmur said Thursday night. "I'm just not telling you."

The wait goes on -- for one more day.

McCoy did little to help his case for backing up rookie starter Brandon Weeden -- or impress any other NFL team -- and Chicago's Josh McCown threw two touchdown passes in the first half, leading the Chicago Bears to a 28-20 win over Cleveland in the exhibition finale.

McCoy, who lost his starting job to Weeden in training camp, went 2 of 5 for 16 yards and an interception. Wallace completed 3 of 4 attempts for 36 yards and a touchdown.

With NFL teams required to cut their rosters to 53 on Friday, time is running out. Shurmur refused to tip his hand and appears determined to hold off his announcement as long as possible. The Browns could keep Weeden, McCoy and Wallace as well as Thad Lewis, who spent all last season on the roster but didn't play. They could trade McCoy or Wallace.

Shurmur is keeping his options open.

"All three quarterbacks played like backups tonight," he said. "I'll just leave it at that. I can see a lot of different scenarios."

The Bears (3-1) returned an interception and blocked punt for TDs in a 90-second span of the third quarter to pull away from the Browns (2-2).

McCown played the entire game, finishing 20 of 29 for 157 yards and the two TDs. He will sit behind starter Jay Cutler and Jason Campbell, but at least the 33-year-old showed he's still got something left.

"To get the feel and rhythm of a whole game felt good," McCown said. "For the most part, we went out and executed well. All I know is when you take the field and they turn the lights on, you've got to go out and play hard."

The Browns are unlikely to keep both McCoy and Wallace on the roster. Cleveland has discussed trading McCoy with several teams, but Shurmur has been impressed with the way his former starter has handled his demotion and may want to keep him as insurance should Weeden get hurt.

McCoy felt he did all he could to win a roster spot.

"I wouldn't say I'm worried," he said. "I've practiced well. I've improved. I feel confident."

Wallace, never lacking for confidence, could envision both he and McCoy staying around.

"It's possible," he said. "Obviously, there's some other stuff that has to take place, but at this point, me, Colt, Brandon, Thad, we all did what we can. It's not in our hands anymore. It's in the coaches' hands. We'll just wait and see what happens."

Shurmur may have much more to worry about than naming a backup QB.

Cleveland's special teams were bad again, and rookie running back Trent Richardson still hasn't returned after undergoing knee surgery on Aug. 9.

Phil Dawson's 39-yard field goal brought the Browns within 14-10 in the third before the Bears struck quickly.

First, cornerback Greg McCoy picked off Lewis and returned it 15 yards for a TD. Moments later, Bears linebacker Patrick Trahan shoved up-back Rod Windsor into punter Reggie Hodges, whose kick caromed off his teammate's back and Brittan Golden scooped it up and ran 22 yards for the score.

Rookie Adonis Thomas flipped over from the 1 in the fourth to pull Cleveland within 28-17.

Shurmur rested Weeden for the opener against Philadelphia and he watched from the sideline as McCoy, who started 13 games last season before being sidelined with a severe concussion, struggled.

On McCoy's first pass, he never took his eyes off Greg Little and nearly got his wide receiver pummeled. When Cleveland got the ball back, McCoy threw high to Jordan Norwood and was intercepted by Chicago backup free safety Jeremy Jones.

On the first play following the turnover, McCown waited for wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher to get behind rookie Trevin Wade, and the Bears' versatile wide receiver made a diving, one-handed TD grab. The play stood following an official replay.

"Typical Dane," coach Lovie Smith said of the former Ohio State star. "When we throw him the ball, he makes plays. He's a Buckeye, so I know he was looking forward to this game. It's always special to come back home."

Bears running backs Lorenzo Booker (81) and Armando Allen (83) combined for 164 yards on 31 attempts. They're competing for a spot behind Matt Forte and Michael Bush.

"This was a Super Bowl for a bunch of players tonight," Smith said. "Booker and Allen stepped up and made play after play."

McCoy was lifted after one quarter -- 13 total plays -- and was replaced by Wallace, who engineered an 80-yard scoring drive before halftime, capping it with his 2-yard TD pass to Windsor.

As Wallace ran off the field, McCoy greeted his teammate with a tap on the helmet and pat on the back.

McCoy bristled when asked if he thought his "audition" went well, and although he followed Weeden into all four preseason games, he never thought that made him the obvious backup.

"I'll let you guys talk about it," he said. "Ask Pat. I have not thought about that one time through this whole off-season. My mind has not wandered there. My mind has been completely focused on making myself a better quarterback. "

Notes: Browns RB Montario Hardesty had six carries for 24 yards, but most importantly didn't fumble after a turnover in each of the past two games. His roster spot seems secure because of Richardson's uncertain status. ... Browns rookie LB James-Michael Johnson injured his side in the first half and did not return. Johnson is expected to start if LB Scott Fujita has to serve his 3-game suspension for his role in the Saints' bounty scandal. ... Booker and NT Brian Price sustained head injuries.

Josh McCown (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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