CLEVELAND (AP) – Kicked out of town after one tumultuous season, Jeff Garcia came back to Cleveland and got some payback against the Browns.
Making his first start this season in place of Joey Harrington, Garcia ran for a touchdown, and Jason Hanson kicked two field goals Sunday to lead the Detroit Lions to a 13-10 win over the careless Browns.
After missing Detroit’s first five games with a broken left leg, Garcia returned to practice this week and the 35-year-old got the starting nod before the game from Lions coach Steve Mariucci, who has run out of patience with an ineffective Harrington.
Garcia, whose one season in Cleveland was marred by inconsistent play, a feud with offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie and personal issues, had a one-yard touchdown run in the first half and Hanson kicked a 50-yard field early in the fourth quarter as the Lions (3-3) hung on.
Following the game, Garcia strutted off the field and flashed a thumbs-up sign to cheering Lions fans near the team’s tunnel.
Garcia finished 22-of-34 for 210 yards and didn’t turn the ball over. His biggest play came late in the fourth, when he stepped away from a possible safety and completed a 10-yard pass to Scottie Vines, one of the Lions’ backup wide receivers, for a first down.
Because of injuries, Detroit was down to its Nos. 4 and 5 receivers, but Garcia was able to buy himself time to throw in the pocket and made completions when it appeared he had nowhere to go.
The same can’t be said of Browns quarterback Trent Dilfer, who was 10-of-19 for 73 yards and threw three interceptions.
The Browns (2-4) didn’t pick up a first down in the second half until only 9:52 remained. They had their chances, but wide receiver Antonio Bryant dropped a key third-down pass in the fourth, and Cleveland didn’t capitalize on a 100-yard performance by Reuben Droughns.