INDIANAPOLIS – This time, the Browns got it all right.
Cleveland kept the ball on the ground, traded touchdowns for field goals and finally beat the Colts 27-19 — ending a five-game losing streak in the series that dated to 1994.
Instead of the late-game bungles they had last week against the Bengals, the Browns (1-1) kept the game plan simple.
Peyton Hillis carried 27 times for 94 yards and two touchdowns, Colt McCoy threw for 211 yards and one TD, and the defense didn't allow a first down from midway through the third quarter until Indy's final desperation drive. Even Josh Cribbs managed to set up the win-sealing score with a long punt return in the game's final minutes.
For the Colts, it doesn't get much worse than this.
They've lost Peyton Manning for at least two months and are 0-2 for the first time since 1998, Manning's rookie season.
The offense struggled terribly in the second half. Kerry Collins, Manning's replacement, started the game 9 of 12 but completed only 10 of his last 26 — most of those coming when the outcome had been decided. He finished 19 of 38 with 191 yards, one interception, another lost fumble and a meaningless touchdown with 24 seconds to go.
And next week, the Colts host defending AFC champion Pittsburgh.
It looked like Indy might get itself righted when Collins took the Colts 67 yards on their opening series, and Adam Vinatieri capped the drive with a 9-yard field goal. Two series later, Collins took Indy 78 yards to set up Vinatieri for a 29-yarder that made it 6-0 early in the second quarter.
But the Browns had all the answers.
On third-and-11 from the Colts 16, McCoy scrambled left and found Evan Moore in the back corner of the end zone for a 7-6 lead. It was Cleveland's first touchdown against the Colts since Dec. 15, 2002, after three straight losses.
Indy countered with Vinatieri's 52-yard field goal, his longest kick since 2008, to retake a 9-7 lead with 3:53 left in the half.
McCoy had just enough time to get the Browns back in scoring position, and Hillis powered in from a yard out to make it 14-9.
It looked like things might change early in the second half, when Antonio Johnson stripped the ball from Hillis and Antoine Bethea recovered for Indy. But after Collins took Indy to the Cleveland 15, the Colts had to settle for another Vinatieri field goal.
Phil Dawson then connected on a short kick, and Hillis scored on a decision 24-yard run. Dawson made another short one to give Cleveland a 27-12 lead with 2:59 to play.
Indy scored its only TD on Collins' 6-yard touchdown pass to Dallas Clark with 24 seconds left. But the Colts couldn't recover the onside kick.