Buddyball a bust? Cardinals still without win

The Associated Press

CLEVELAND Buddy Ryan should have been taking notes.

The longtime defensive coordinator-turned-head coach could have learned a few things from Cleveland's Bill Belichick on Sunday as the Browns shut out Ryan's Arizona Cardinals 32-0. It was the first time Ryan was blanked in his six seasons as a head coach, including five at Philadelphia.

Arizona (0-3), uninspired by Ryan's decision to start Jim McMahon at quarterback in place of Steve Beuerlein, was shut out for the first time since 1991. For the Browns (2-1), it was their first shutout at Cleveland Stadium since 1983 and their first on any field since 1991. Cleveland preserved the shutout by stopping the Cardinals on the 2 with one second left.

Vinny Testaverde, stung by six interceptions in his previous two games, ran for one touchdown and passed for two more, including an 81-yard catch-and-run by rookie Derrick Alexander in the fourth quarter.

Eric Turner added the exclamation point on the Browns' 29-point second half, a 93-yard interception return with two minues left after Jay Schroeder had replaced McMahon.

The Cardinals entered Sunday's game with the NFL's lowest-ranked offense, and they looked it.

They had minus-1 yard on offense in the first quarter, didn't get a first down until 10 minutes remained in the second period, and got past midfield five times in the game. Two of those forays ended in long missed field goals by Greg Davis, one from 49 yards and the other from 58; two others were stopped by interceptions, including Turner's.

The Browns started slowly on offense but got a lift late in the first quarter when rookie Antonio Langham intercepted McMahon's pass to set them up at the Arizona 31. Seven plays later, Matt Stover kicked a 32-yard field goal for a 3-0 halftime lead.

Short punts led to the Browns' two third-quarter touchdowns Testaverde's 1-yard sneak and Tommy Vardell's 16-yard reception. The Browns added a two-point conversion after Vardell's score, with holder Tom Tupa picking up the ball and running up the middle for an 18-0 lead.

Alexander, a rookie from Michigan, had six receptions for 136 yards, the majority of the yards coming when he turned a short pass in the right flat into an 81-yard touchdown by breaking free of defensive back Aeneas Williams with 8:41 left.

The Cardinals were held to 63 yards rushing, and 47 of those yards came on quarterback scrambles. Cleveland wasn't much better on the ground, managing 79 yards.

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