By: Barry Barnes, Founder/Senior Writer
The second half, mainly the fourth quarter, continues to haunt the Browns as they went into the final 15 minutes of the contest down by three and ended up losing by 13 as the Miami Dolphins snapped a four-game losing streak against Cleveland Sunday, 23-10.
The Browns had several opportunities to defend their house, but lack of focus late in the game cost them.
“Obviously that was a disappointing game and a tough start,” said Browns’ head coach Rob Chudzinski. “We came into the game feeling good about the plans that we had. I think the guys battled extremely hard. There were points in the game where I thought we were going to get over the hump but we weren’t able to do it.
“I thought that from a resiliency standpoint, the guys battled,” he continued. “I thought that the drive at the end of the second quarter just before the half was a big drive for us and I was hoping we would take that into the second half there but unfortunately we weren’t able to win it in the second half. Some of the things that were issues were the third downs. Offensively and defensively, they were able to convert and we weren’t able to convert.
“At times there was too much pressure on the quarterback and that was an issue the whole day,” he added. “We had some opportunities whether it was a tipped pass or a dropped pass, we had some opportunities. There were three turnovers in the first half that we were able to overcome and get the lead at halftime, but those were obviously things that set us back in some of the drive opportunities that we had.”
While keeping the Dolphins in front of them through three quarters, the Browns could not contain Dolphins’ wide receiver Brandon Gibson as he got free in the open field and defensive end Cameron Wake tormented Browns’ quarterback Brandon Weeden all game, getting another sack in the fourth quarter as he finished the matchup with 2-5 sacks.
“We gave up the long ball today,” said Chudzinski. “They had, as the game went on, got a few more passes down the field. We’ll just have to keep working and keep improving…Miami has an outstanding front.
“Between the pressure packages and the guys they have up front, we knew all week long and prepared and talked about that group was going to be important for us to handle their pressure,” he added. “We did at times and other times we didn’t. You can’t point to just one guy, but they were able to get good pressure and affect Brandon’s throws.”
Fortunately, all the AFC North divisional teams were defeated in Week 1, so the Browns can start fresh next Sunday when they head to Baltimore to face the reigning Super Bowl champion Ravens.
“I think there were some positives. We will learn from this and we will move on,” said game at a time like we have. We have got a big game coming up in the division against Baltimore next week.”
Browns’ Game Notes
-The Browns defense allowed 20 rushing yards on 23 carries (0.9 avg.), which is tied for the second-fewest rushing yards allowed in a single-game in team history.
-Tight end Jordan Cameron set career-highs in receptions (nine) and receiving yards (108), while adding a 7-yard touchdown, the second touchdown of his career. He is the only Browns tight end to record a 100-yard receiving game in the season opener and the first Browns player to register a 100-yard receiving game in Week 1 since wide receiver Frisman Jackson totaled 128 in 2005 against the Bengals on Sept. 11. Cameron’s previous career-bests were five receptions and 45 yards, both set against Buffalo on Sept. 23, 2012.
-Cameron is the first Browns tight end with a 100-yard receiving performance since Benjamin Watson totaled 100 yards at Miami on Dec. 5, 2010. Cameron also joins Hall of Famers Ozzie Newsome (seven times) Kellen Winslow (five times) and Watson (once) as the only Browns tight ends with nine or more receptions in a single game.
-The Browns recorded four sacks, all of which were recorded by unrestricted free agents signed by the team this offseason. Defensive lineman Desmond Bryant (Oakland) had two, while linebackers Paul Kruger (Baltimore) and Quentin Groves (Arizona) each had one.
-Defensive lineman Desmond Bryant tied a career-high with two sacks, while extending his streak to five consecutive games with at least one sack dating back to last season when he was with the Raiders. Bryant also notched two sacks at Minnesota on Nov. 20, 2011.
-The Browns became the first NFL team with eight undrafted rookies on their 53-man roster for the first game of a season since Baltimore had nine in 2002. The Browns are also the first NFL team with that many undrafted rookies for any regular-season game since Tampa Bay had nine on Jan. 2, 2011.
-Running back Trent Richardson rushed for 47 yards to increase his career total to 997, which is the third-most rushing yards by a Brown through his first 16 career games. Hall of Famer Jim Brown holds the record with 1,577 in his first 16 games from 1957-58.
-Eight players (defensive back Josh Aubrey, wide receiver Tori Gurley, punter Spencer Lanning, linebackers Brandon Magee and Eric Martin, defensive back Leon McFadden, tight end Keavon Milton and running back Bobby Rainey) made their NFL debut. Seven veteran players (wide receiver Davone Bess, tight end Gary Barnidge, defensive lineman Desmond Bryant, offensive lineman Rashad Butler, linebackers Kruger and Groves and defensive Chris Owens) made their Browns debut.
-Defensive back Tashaun Gipson recorded his second career interception and returned it 29 yards, which helped set-up a Browns second quarter touchdown drive.
–Wide receiver Tori Gurley made his NFL debut and caught one pass for 15 yards. Gurley has been waived by seven teams (Green Bay, Minnesota, Oakland, Tampa Bay, San Diego, Baltimore and Cleveland) since 2011. Also making his NFL debut, punter Spencer Lanning booted five punts with a net of 43.6 yards and landed two inside the 20-yard line.
-Left tackle Joe Thomas has started and played in each of the first 97 games of his career, while center Alex Mack has started and played in each of the first 65 games of his career. Neither one of the two have missed an offensive snap during their career.
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