DETROIT - The silver lining in the Cleveland Browns' 38-37 loss to the Lions Sunday was the play of quarterback Brady Quinn.
Quinn completed 21-of-33 passes for career highs of 304 passing yards and four touchdowns. His previous bests were 239 passing yards and two touchdowns in a game against Denver last season.
Quinn started in impressive style. He threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Massaquoi in the first quarter. It was the longest career TD pass of his career.
Quinn didn't stop there. He threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Chansi Stuckey and a 4-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Cribbs in the first quarter to give the Browns a 24-3 lead.
The final touchdown pass for Quinn covered 2 yards to tight end Michael Gaines late in the fourth quarter.
"Going into every week we're going to try and do what we think we can accomplish and execute there on the field," Quinn said of the long throws. "I knew they like to load the box sometimes and shots down field might work. It ended up working out pretty effectively."
The performance would seem to secure Quinn the starting job for a few more weeks if not the rest of the season. It was his fifth start of the season and second straight after Derek Anderson was benched.
"I thought he played well throughout the course of the game," coach Eric Mangini said. "If he hits that pass (late in the fourth quarter), we win the game, and he had gotten us a big third-down conversion prior to that. I felt good about how he's been throwing the ball throughout the whole game. I felt good about how the offense was playing throughout the whole game."
Quinn was far from pleased as he faced reporters in front of his locker after the game. While happy about the progress he showed, a loss on the final play of the game ruined the day.
"We didn't win, so you're never happy when you don't get a win," he said.
One pass that Quinn would like to have back came on a third-and-5 from the Browns' 42 late in the game. He faced pressure from the Lions' pass rush, but Massaquoi was open after running a short hook just beyond the first-down marker. Quinn threw to the outside of Massaquoi, forcing a punt and a possession that the Lions turned into a game-winner.
The toughest part might have been standing on the sideline and watching the Lions march 88 yards on 12 plays to win on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Brandon Pettigrew.
"You always have faith in your defense," Quinn said. "Our guys have done a great job for us. I really thought we left some stuff out there on offense."