CLEVELAND — It was anything but the type of debut either first-round pick wanted.
Trent Richardson, the 3rd overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, carried the ball 19 times with just 39 yards (2.1 avg.) and a long run of just 9 yards. He also caught one pass for five yards.
Meanwhile Weeden, the 22nd overall pick in the first-round was just 12-of-35 for 118 yards including no touchdowns and four interceptions. He finished with a rating of just 5.1. He also was sacked twice and fumbled twice, but he recovered one and the other was recovered by Joe Thomas.
“You have to take care of the football,” Weeden said.
Weeden was the 17th different Browns quarterback to start a game since 1999 and the first rookie to start on opening day.
Richardson missed the entire preseason after having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Aug. 9. However, Richardson expected to play.
“I expected to play a lot,” Richardson said. “It felt good out there (playing). For the first game, I did okay, but it could’ve been better.
“We kept fighting the whole game,” he said. “It got frustrating at times, but every play is not going to be perfect.”
Richardson vowed to make strides by next week.
“The O-line played hard,” he said. “I have to make people miss like I usually do.”
Pat Shurmur felt Richardson played pretty well and said he had to hold him back. Neither Brandon Jackson or Montario Hardesty carried the ball from scrimmage, but Jackson caught two passes for 20 yards.
“(The Eagles) are an outstanding defense,” Shurmur said. “We tried to run Trent and I thought he held up pretty well.
Richardson’s highlight play was when he burst up the middle for nine yards and delivered a crushing blow to safety Kurt Coleman, whose helmet flew off.
“Now, that’s a competitor,” Shurmur said. “We had to put a leash on him to (give him a break). He’s going to play some good football around here for a long time.”
“It was just a simple run for them, but I got cracked by the wide receiver and when (Richardson) hit me, my helmet chinstrap popped off and then I couldn’t even see and the rest is history,” Coleman said. “He ran right into me and my helmet id some work on my face as you can see, but I’m feeling good even though I’m in pain. I feel good.”
Weeden said there was some positives in the game, but not many. His longest completion was to Massaquoi on his first NFL pass for 24 yards. He connected with Josh Gordon on a 20-yard play and had a 14-yard pass to Jackson and a 12-yard throw to Travis Benjamin.
“Overall, there was some good, but it’s hard to tell.”
Shurmur didn’t place the blame at the feet of his rookie quarterback.
“He’s going to be like everyone in the (locker room),” Shurmur said. “He will shake his head and say he can do better.
“I think we saw a rookie quarterback playing.”
After the Eagles scored with 1:18 to play to take a 17-16 lead the Browns started at their 30 with one timeout needing about 35 yards to get in range for Phil Dawson to attempt a game-winning field goal. However, Weeden threw his fourth interception as he sailed the pass over Mohamed Massaquoi and it was intercepted by Coleman sealing the win for the Eagles.
“They played man-to-man,” Weeden said. “We had practiced the two minute a lot. Phil (Dawson)is good and Mo ran a good route and the ball slipped and it took off. When that happens, bad things happen.”
Greg Little, who was held without a reception, said it isn’t all Weeden’s fault.
“I wouldn’t say it’s on Brandon,” Little said. “(The Eagles) lined up in man-to-man press coverage a lot we have to help him.”
Weeden feels bad that the Browns wasted a great effort by the defense when even a little bit of offense would’ve won the game.
“My hats off to our defense” Weeden said. “I expect more of myself.
Early in the game, Weeden missed a wide open Massaquoi and then Alex Smith in the end zone.
“I was so jacked up,” Weeden said. “I had a little adrenaline and missed Mo.”
Weeden said he didn’t feel he wasn’t overly excited for his first game.
“Anybody that’s a competitor is going to be amped up,” Weeden said. “Every game in college I was (amped up). It was a lot of fun to be out there.
“As an athlete you wish it was all up, but guys have downs,” he said. “I really take a lot of pride in giving our team a chance to win.”
Weeden said he will have no problem being able to shake off his first game.
“I don’t want to be remembered for my first game,” he said. “It stings.
One positive is that both rookies are ready to put this game behind them and are already looking forward to next week’s game with the Bengals.
“I expect more from myself every week,” Richardson said. “I’m going to do more studying, more mental reps and be ready next week.”
As is Weeden.
“In my makeup, I have a pretty short memory,” Weeden said. “I’m going to work hard and give us a chance to win.”