It’s only the first preseason game, but let’s here’s a look at some of what transpired in the Browns preseason win over the Lions.
Rookie WR Travis Benjamin—
Benjamin showed flashes that he could be what the Browns were hoping for as a DeSean Jackson-type of game-breaking player. Benjamin got behind the
cornerback early in the game and caught a 34-yard pass from Brandon Weeden. He had another reception for 12 yards and returned two kickoffs for 55 yards,
including a 32-yarder. Benjamin flashed his speed on the kickoff as he turned the corner and went down the sideline.
Other than starter Brandon Weeden, the other three quarterbacks all had ratings of over 100. Colt McCoy was 6-of-8 for 88 yards and showed good accuracy
hitting Jordan Cameron deep down the seam for a 42 yards gain. He was sacked twice, when Oniel Cousins failed to slow down Willie Young on an attempted
Hail Mary to end the first half. McCoy had a rating of 110.4 and led the Browns on a scoring drive that resulted in a field goal.
Seneca Wallace was 7-of-13 for 86 yards and threw a touchdown pass to Brad Smelly and finished with a rating of 100.2. He led the Browns on a touchdown
Thaddeus Lewis led the Browns on two scoring drives to rally the Browns to the win. He hit Dan Gronkowski and Bert Reed in the closing moments to set up
Jeff Wolfert’s winning 45-yard field goal. Lewis finished 5-of-8 for 90 yards and a 101.0 rating.
The rookie seventh-round draft choice showed up throughout the second half and finished with three tackles and two passes broken up. If he can be this
year’s version of Eric Hagg, the Browns will have added depth in the secondary, which will be important if Joe Haden is suspended and Dimitri Patterson’s
ankle injury is serious.
The young, athletic tight end continued his solid play with two receptions for 58 yards, including a leaping 42-yard catch on a pass down the middle from
McCoy. Unfortunately, Cameron injured his back and didn’t return.
Norwood had just one catch for two yards, but had two punt return for 52 yards, including one for 45 yards. He also had a run for 14 yards.
Despite missing most of training camp thus far, Mitchell had a 33-yard reception late in the game trying to catch the coaching staff’s attention with a big
Rookies John Hughes and Billy Winn—Both had a couple of good plays, including a tackle for loss by Hughes.
K Jeff Wolfert hit the game-winning field from 45-yards out with just 28 seconds left. He did miss a 46-yard attempt earlier. Old reliable, Phil Dawson hit
a 37-yard attempt in his only attempt. P Reggie Hodges looked back to form after missing last season with a ruptured Achilles as he pinned the Lions inside
the 20 and would’ve had one inside the five if Ray Ventrone would’ve downed the ball before it went into the end zone.
The Bad …
The injuries are piling up for the Browns. Three projected starters and possibly four on defense are expected to miss the beginning of the season in DL
Phil Taylor (pectoral), LB Chris Gocong (Achilles), LB Scott Fujita (suspension) and possibly CB Joe Haden (suspension). RB Trent Richardson had
arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and the Browns are hopeful he’ll be ready for the season opener.
The Browns appeared to suffer at least four injuries in the first half, to four key contributors. WR Mohamed Massaquoi suffered a head injury on the first
play after a 12-yard catch and it was ruled a concussion. Massaquoi has had at least three concussions in the past two years, but he tweeted
“precautionary” and that he can’t wait to get back to work.
Over a course of nine plays, DL Scott Paxson suffered a knee injury, while moments later, CB Dimitri Patterson a foot injury and then TE Jordan Cameron
landed on his back after a 42-yard reception and was out of the game. Pat Shurmur didn’t know the severity of any of the injuries after the game.
The rookie signal caller had poor numbers for his first NFL outing. He was just 3-of-9 for 62 yards, but he had two turnovers. He was strip-sacked once and
finished with a rating of 19.0 His best throw was when he hit Benjamin in stride for a 34 yard gain down the side line
Mitchell Schwartz --
Schwartz had a rough start. On first drive he had a false start and then allowed a strip-sack by Willie Young, which resulted in a fumble by Weeden in
which the Lions recovered.
Josh Gordon –
The highly anticipated debut of the rookie wide receiver was disappointing. Gordon was targeted three times, failing to make a catch. He also didn’t help
Weeden on a comeback route and the ball was almost intercepted.
Oniel Cousins –
The backup left tackle was called for holding after he wrestled Young to the ground and then allowed a sack as Young blew by him on an attempted ‘Hail
Mary’ play to end the first half by McCoy.
The Ugly …
Run Defense --
It’s only been the case for the majority of time the Browns have been back. They have not been able to stop the run and the Lions ran at will against the
Browns totaling 198 yards rushing, 115 in the first half for an average of six yards a carry.
Last year, the Browns ranked 30th against the run giving up 147 yards a game. Sure, the Browns were missing Phil Taylor, Frostee Rucker and
Ahtyba Rubin. However, Scott Paxson injured his knee early and that doesn’t help the depth.
Despite missing Richardson, the other running backs combined for just 69 yards on 25 carries (2.76 avg.). Montario Hardesty (4-16); Brandon Jackson (6-18);
Chris Ogbonnaya (7-27) and Adonis Thomas (8-8, 1 TD). Unfortunately, the quarterbacks combined for an average of over nine yards a carry with 37 yards on
four carries (Lewis 3-17 and McCoy 1-20).