HOUSTON, OCT. 12 -- The Houston Oilers, picked to finish in last place in the AFC Central Division, have forged into the lead, thanks to two straight road victories by their replacement players.

Winning two in a row away from home was something the regular Oilers haven't done since 1981.

The Oilers defeated Cleveland, 15-10, Sunday, improving to 3-1. It was their first victory at Cleveland since opening the 1981 season with road wins over the Los Angeles Rams and the Browns.

"Our defense played like we all have grown accustomed to seeing them play," Coach Jerry Glanville said today. "Last week, we weren't pleased with the way we gang-tackled. But after they saw it on film, this week they got after it."

The replacement Oilers, who beat Denver, 40-10, in their first game, are improving, Glanville said.

"They've now had half a training camp and they're getting better," Glanville said. "The longer this thing {the NFL players' strike} goes, the better chance some of these guys will have of making the team."

One player who might have earned a spot on the regular Oilers' roster is quarterback Brent Pease. He has completed 56 percent of his passes and has an 80.0 quarterback rating, compared to 49 percent and a 70.7 rating regular quarterback Warren Moon compiled in his two games this season.

"I believe he'll be on our squad," Glanville said. "He has all the touches. When the routes change, he can put the ball where it has to be."

The Oilers' front three of ends Doug Smith and Jesse Baker and nose guard Charles Martin sacked Browns' quarterback Jack Christensen four times.

Last Sunday, against Denver, Eugene Seale earned AFC defensive player of the week honors for returning an interception 73 yards for a touchdown. He got more praise from Glanville today.

"Last week, he got AFC player of the week because he made an interception. This week, he was a football player," Glanville said. "He played well."

Andrew Jackson led Houston rushers with 99 yards in the victory over Denver, and, when Jackson was hurt against the Browns, Herman Hunter stepped in and gained 121 yards on 28 carries.

If you watched our last two games, you might want to come out and see us play," Glanville said.