Browns notebook: Kickers, old vs. new, to square off Sunday
Matt Stover and Phil Dawson, the best leg men ever to come out of Dallas Lake Highlands High School, meet in the middle again.
Stover was on one side of the gulf between the old Browns and the expansion reincarnation. He was Bill Belichick’s only place-kicker in Cleveland, from 1991-95.
Dawson is on the other side, aside from injury downtimes, serving as Cleveland’s only place-kicker since 1999.
For a while now, Stover has been the only “old Brown,” who has stuck with the Ravens since they bolted to Baltimore in 1996.
Dawson is the only “new Brown,” who has been with the team since the comeback.
When Baltimore invades Cleveland on Sunday, they¹ll have a lot to talk about.
They have so much in common. Dawson’s birthday is Jan. 23; Stover’s is Jan.
Stover, 39, set all of the Lake Highlands kicking records; Dawson, 32, broke them.
They became friendly rivals. In offseasons, when both were home in Dallas, they would play kick H-O-R-S-E against each other, simulating the basketball game with their feet.
Now, both are growing old in the NFL.
Stover, though, felt young again Sunday, making all four of his field-goal tries, including a 46-yarder that delivered a 26-23 win over Arizona as time expired.
Baltimore Coach Brian Billick calls Stover the best clutch kicker he has ever seen. Almost exactly one year ago, Stover beat the Browns, 15-14, on a 52-yard field goal with 20 seconds left.
Dawson felt old Sunday. Three hours after Stover¹s winning kick, he had a chance to beat Oakland with a 40-yard field goal. The kick was blocked.
“You have to be the guy that wants the ball,” Stover told writers after the game.
Dawson was his usual classy self.
“You¹ve got to give (the Raiders) credit,” he said. “Their guys had been coming hard all day.”
“To not take advantage of it is pretty tough.”
Dawson helped the Browns to three wins in four games against Stover in 2001 and ’02.
Since then, Stover is 6-2 against Dawson.
- Kamerion Wimbley had his first two sacks of the season Sunday after 11 ½ as a rookie. “After three games last year, I think I had three,” Wimbley said. “I’m still working hard to get pressure. I can do better.”
- The Ravens haven’t quite been on their defensive game, allowing an average of 301.3 yards. Still, that ranks ninth in the league.
- A year ago Monday, Baltimore outgained the Browns, 340 -288, in a 15-14 win.
Reach Canton Repository sports writer Steve Doerschuk at (330) 580-8347 or e-mail