CLEVELAND—The preseason ended with a little drama as Phil Dawson hit a 36-yard field goal as time expired to give the Browns a 13-10 win the preseason finale.
The Browns end the preseason 2-2 and now prepare to open the season a week from Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Browns put themselves in position for the win as DeAngelo Smith partially blocked Brad Maynard’s punt with just over two minutes to play and Brett Ratliff engineered a 34-yard drive to set up the game winner.
Ratliff hit veteran Bobby Engram on two slants that moved the ball to the Bears’ 31 and then two runs by Chris Jennings put the ball at the 19 as Dawson kicked the field goal.
Most of the story line revolved around players battling for roster spots.
Colt McCoy made his first start and had an impressive performance as he finished 13-of-13 for 131 yards. He was sacked three times and fumbled the first offensive snap of the game that resulted in a Bears’ touchdown.
"We're frustrated, obviously, by the first play of the game," McCoy said. "We turned the ball over and you never want that. I was proud of the way the guys that were out there were able to respond to that type of adversity."
"I thought he had some nice reads, some nice passes," Browns coach Eric Mangini said. "he was an accurate guy in college and you could see his accuracy tonight. He's made progress throughout the course of the preseason, which is what I was looking for and what I expect."
Rookie running back Montario Hardesty started and saw his first action of the preseason, scoring a touchdown before injuring his left leg in the second quarter.
"It's something that happens in football," Hardesty said. "For me right now stay positive, get an MRI tomorrow find out what's going on and turn my focus on getting better."
"It wasn't the leg that he was coming back from," Mangini said. "He has to go through tests and things like that. I'll have more information tomorrow."
The Bears jumped out to a 7-0 lead with 10:00 to play in the first quarter as they turned another Browns’ fumble into a quick score as McCoy and center Shawn Lauvao mishandled the first offensive snap and it was recovered by Kevin Malast at the Browns’ 19 and three plays later, Todd Collins hit tight end Greg Olsen for a 15-yard touchdown. After two short plays, Olsen got behind DeAngelo Smith for the score on third-and-six.
The Browns tied the game at 3:40 to play in the first quarter as Hardesty scored from one-yard out. Hardesty, seeing his first action of the preseason, carried all three times for the 13 yards in the short drive. The score was set up as the Bears returned the favor and fumbled the ball back to the Browns at the Bears’ 13 as Jason Trusnik fell on the ball. Quarterback Todd Collins was trying to call a timeout when the ball was snapped over his head by Josh Beekman.
Hardesty carried the ball over the right side for six yards to the seven and then again for six more to inside the one. On first-and-goal, Hardesty plowed in for the score to tie the game at 7-7.
The Browns took a 10-7 lead with 3:29 to play in the first half as Phil Dawson kicked a 24-yard field. The Browns went 69 yards in 11 plays for the score, taking over six minutes off the clock. The Browns moved with McCoy hitting Syndric Steptoe for 16 yards and then a 16 yard pass to Joel Gamble to the Bears’ 28. James Davis took over for the injured Hardesty and had a run of eight yards and a 12-yard pick up on a pass from McCoy to the Bears’ seven. McCoy was 4-of-4 for 44 yards and a sack on the drive.
The Bears tied the game at 10-10 with a 46-yard field goal by Robbie Gould after the Bears moved the ball 42 yards on eight plays.
The Browns looked as though they were driving for the win at the Bears’34, when Brett Ratliff threw a slant to Jake Allen and the ball went off his hands and into Aaron Webster’s with 4:29. Webster returned the interception to the 49.
The Browns held the Bears and Smith blocked the punt and the Browns started 48. Ratliff hit Bobby Engram for 12 yards on the first play to the Bears’ 40.
Ratliff hit Engram again on a slant to the 31 and then a short pass to Chris Jennings took the ball to the 20 with two seconds left. Dawson then kicked the field goal as time expired for the win.
Colt’s Turn: Rookie QB Colt McCoy started in place of QB Jake Delhomme and was 13-of-13 for 131 yards with three sacks and a fumble. His QB rating was an impressive 105.4 in the first half. Both Delhomme and QB Seneca Wallace were suited up but did not play. McCoy got off to a bad start as he and fellow rookie Shawn Lauvao mishandled the opening snap and the Bears recovered on the 19. They turned the fumble into a touchdown. McCoy completed his first pass to TE Evan Moore for five yards, but was sacked on third-and-one. McCoy found RB James Davis three times for 38 yards. He led the Browns down field at the end of the first half and the drive resulted in a missed 58-yard field goal by K Phil Dawson.
McCoy came out for the opening drive of the third quarter and was 3-of-3 for 38 yards on the series.
QB Brett Ratliff relieved McCoy after the first series of the third quarter and threw incomplete passes on his first two attempts. Ratliff finished 10-of-15 for 93 yards and one interception.
Hardesty Update: There was no further information given on the status of RB Montario Hardesty, who left the game in the second quarter with a left leg injury.
Hardesty scored the Browns first touchdown as he carried the ball on all three plays after the Bears turned the ball over on the Browns’ 13.
Hardesty looked good with seven carries for 25 yards, including the touchdown.
In the second quarter, Hardesty went down with what was called a left leg injury after a short carry. It appeared to be either his ankle or knee. The Browns said his return was questionable. It was unrelated to the bone bruise on his right knee that kept him out of the first three preseason games.
Hardesty walked off without a limp but was immediately surrounded by several trainers and doctors. After conferring on the sideline for several minutes, he walked to the locker room with a team doctor with a slight limp.
DeAngelo’s Bid: DB DeAngelo Smith was beaten for a touchdown by TE Greg Olsen, but then blocked the Bears’ punt with just over two minutes to play to give the Browns the opportunity to win the game.
Bobby’s Day: WR Bobby Engram caught six passes for 61 yards, including two catches on the game-winning drive. Engram is 37 and was a long shot to make the team.
James Makes His Bid: Capitalizing on Hardesty’s injury, RB James Davis had 119 all-purpose yards. He had 15 rushes for 66 yards and 5 receptions for 53 yards after subbing for Hardesty. Davis was the outside rusher when the Bears punted in the third quarter.
"He had opportunities and took advantage of those opportunities," Mangini said. "He looked good, I thought he showed a nice burst."
Sacks: LB David Bowens and DL Brian Schaefering combined to get the Browns only sack in the first half. LB Kaluka Maiava had a sack in the fourth quarter. DL Brian Sanford sacked QB Dan Lefevour on third-and-10 with just over two minutes to go in the fourth quarter. On the next play, DB DeAngelo Smith blocked the punt.
Active Marcus: LB Marcus Benard had seven tackles in the first quarter and had eight for the half. DB Larry Asante had six and LB David Veikune had four.
Bubba Who: DB Ray Ventrone made a nice play when the Bears went for it on fourth-and-one from the Browns’ 20. Ventrone dove and broke up a pass near the sideline to give the Browns the ball.
For Starters: LB David Veikune, LB David Bowens, LB Jason Trusnik were starting linebackers, while CB Brandon McDonald and Joe Haden started at cornerback. Rookies Larry Asante and T.J. Ward were the starting safeties. Brian Schaefering and Derreck Robinson started on the defensive line. Robinson had a tackle for a four-yard loss on the first series as he burst through and dropped the running back. On offense, Shawn Lauvao started at center with Pat Murray at left guard and Scott Kooistra at left tackle. Billy Yates was at right guard and Tony Pashos at right tackle. Joel Gamble started at tight end. Carlton Mitchell and Jake Allen were at wide receivers with Montario Hardesty at running back. Alex Smith lined up as the fullback.
Old Friend: OL Kevin Shaffer is the backup left tackle for the Bears.
Inactives: For the Browns: DB Nick Sorenson, LB D’Qwell Jackson, DL C. J. Mosley, OL Floyd Womack, OL John St. Clair, TE Robert Royal and DL Shaun Rogers. For the Bears: QB Jay Cutler, QB Caleb Hanie, S Craig Steltz, S Major Wright, LB Nick Roach, LB Brian Urlacher, LB Lance Briggs, C Olin Kreutz, WR Earl Bennett, LB Hunter Hillenmeyer.