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Game day blog: Browns at Colts (Week 2)

By Nate Ulrich Published: September 18, 2011

In their first road game of the 2011 regular season, the Browns (1-1) prevailed 27-19 against the host Indianapolis Colts (0-2).

Game action

End 1Q: Colts 3, Browns 0 -- During the first possession of the game, Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri capped a 10-play, 67-yard drive with a 39-yard field goal. Vinatieri's field goal put the Colts ahead 3-0 with 10:31 remaining in the first quarter.

Instant impressions: 1. The Browns' defensive ends -- Jayme Mitchell and rookie Jabaal Sheard -- have switched sides. Mitchell is playing right end, and Sheard is playing left end. 2. Browns cornerback Joe Haden was called for pass interference during the Colts' opening drive. The Colts capitalized by capping the 10-play, 67-yard march with Vinatieri's field goal. 3. The Browns' first drive stalled when quarterback Colt McCoy's third-down pass went through the hands of wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi. 4. Browns defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin beat Colts center Jeff Saturday and sacked quarterback Kerry Collins to end the Colts' ensuing drive. 5. On third down, Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney beat Browns left tackle Joe Thomas and recorded a strip-sack against McCoy. Thomas recovered the fumble, but the Browns had to punt after taking a 14-yard loss. 6. Colts running back Delone Carter, a Copley High School graduate, had an 18-yard run, and Colts wide receiver had a 19-yard reception on consecutive plays to help set up the Colts' next score.

End 2Q: Browns 14, Colts 9 -- Vinatieri kicked off the start of the second quarter with a 27-yard field goal to push the Colts' lead to 6-0 with 14:15 left in the second quarter. But the Browns made up for lost ground with an 11-play, 55-yard drive that resulted in a 16-yard touchdown pass from McCoy to tight end Evan Moore. With Phil Dawson's extra-point kick, the Browns took a 7-6 lead with 7:53 remaining in the half. The Browns' lead was short-lived as the Colts responded with another Vinatieri field goal -- this one a 52-yard kick that allowed Indianapolis to take a 9-7 lead. Massaquoi later caught a 28-yard pass from McCoy to set up running back Peyton Hillis' 1-yard touchdown plunge with 15 seconds left in the second quarter. The Browns took a 14-9 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Instant impressions: 1. Browns rookie defensive tackle Phil Taylor tackled Carter for no gain on third-and-1, forcing the Colts to settle for another field goal that gave them a 6-0 lead early in the second quarter. 2. Return man Josh Cribbs brought the ensuing kickoff out of the end zone and returned it 52 yards to give the Browns a much-needed spark. 3. The Browns went for elected not to punt on fourth-and-1 and the Colts' 46. They converted a first down when McCoy ran for 2 yards. 4. On third-and-7 from the Colts' 22, McCoy completed an 8-yard pass to Massaquoi on a quick slant route. 5. A few plays later, McCoy rolled to his left to avoid pressure and found Moore in the back corner of the end zone. Moore caught the 16-yard touchdown pass between the coverage of strong safety Melvin Bullitt and cornerback Justin Tryon. Dawson's PAT gave the Browns a one-point lead with 7:53 left in the second quarter. 6. Vinatieri put the finishing touches on the Colts' third 10-play scoring drive. He made a 52-yard field goal to give the Colts a 9-7 advantage with 3:53 left before halftime.7. On third-and-8, McCoy completed a short pass in the flat to Cribbs, who found and opening and turned the play into a 25-yard gain. 8. Two plays later, Massaquoi made a tremendous catch at the Colts' 1 with cornerback Jacob Lacey all over him. McCoy's throw and Massaquoi's subsequent grab gave the Browns a 28-yard gain. 9. Hillis ran off left guard for a 1-yard touchdown after his previous attempt to score was overturned by a replay review -- his left knee was down inside the 1-yard line. During his second attempt, Hillis rushed into the end zone with 15 seconds left. Dawson made the PAT to give the Browns a five-point halftime advantage.

End 3Q: Browns 14, Colts 12: The Colts quickly turned a turnover into three points with Vinatieri’s fourth field goal -- a 28-yard kick that trimmed the Colts' deficit to 14-12.

Instant impressions: 1. The Browns started the opening drive of the third quarter by marching from their own 20 to the Colts' 44. On first-and-10, Hillis fumbled, and the Colts free safety Antoine Bethea recovered. 2. The Colts capitalized on the turnover by marching into the red zone, but their drive stalled at the Browns' 18. Vinatieri made his fourth field goal (36 yards) to trim the Colts' deficit to 14-12 with 6:52 left in the third quarter. 3. The Browns put together another drive into the Colts' territory later in the quarter. But the offense stalled on the Colts' 49 when McCoy's pass to Massaquoi was nearly picked off by Bethea. 4. Collins attempted two deep passes during the same drive late in the third quarter, but both fell incomplete. Haden had tight coverage on Garcon, and strong safety T.J. Ward was all over wide receiver Reggie Wayne during the plays. The Colts wanted the officials to penalize the Browns for pass interference on each play.

End 4Q: Browns 27, Colts 19: The Browns used Usama Young's interception to set up Dawson’s 20-yard field goal with 12:25 left, padding their lead to 17-12. A 24-yard touchdown run by Hillis sealed the victory for the Browns, who doubled up the Colts 24-12 with 3:55 left. Browns rookie Jabaal Sheard strip-sacked Collins to give the ball back to the Browns with just more than three minutes to go. A 23-yard field goal by Dawson pushed the Browns' lead to 15 points. The Colts had one last scoring drive in them as they marched 83 yards in 12 plays, resulting in a 6-yard touchdown pass from Collins to tight end Dallas Clark. Vinatieri's extra point cut the deficit to eight points. But Cribbs recovered the Colts' ensuing onside kick to seal the victory.

Instant impressions: 1. Browns free safety Usama Young picked off Collins during the second play of the final quarter. Young intercepted the pass after Wayne fell down while running his route. Young returned the interception 28 yards to the Colts' 21. 2. However, McCoy and Co. failed to score a touchdown. The Browns had to settle for a 20-yard field goal from Dawson after McCoy couldn't connect with tight end Alex Smith in the end zone. Smith caught the ball, but the pass sailed out of bounds along with Smith. 3. The Colts started a drive with 5:47 left in the fourth quarter, but they were held to a three-and-out. 4. Cribbs returned the Colts' subsequent punt 43 yards to Indianapolis' 28. 5. Three plays later, Hillis broke loose off the left side for a 24-yard touchdown run. Right guard Shawn Lauvao pulled and made a key block at the line of scrimmage to pave the way for Hillis. Dawson made the PAT to give the Browns a 24-12 lead with 3:55 left. 6. During the ensuing drive, Browns rookie defensive end Jabaal Sheard forced Collins to fumble and recovered at the Colts' 14. 7. The turnover set up another field goal by Dawson, this time a 23-yard kick, that gave the Browns a 27-12 lead with 2:59 remaining. 7. The Browns held on despite a late touchdown by the Colts.

Pregame notes

Preview stories via 1. Marla Ridenour column: Growing pains with rookie head coach Pat Shurmur will sting for a while. 2. Matchup of the week: Browns left tackle Joe Thomas vs. Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney. 3. Nate Ulrich column: Browns running backs Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty should thrive vs. Colts. 4. Top storylines: Browns at Colts. 5. Keys to the game: Browns at Colts. 6. Numbers to watch: Browns at Colts. 7. The Browns had a bizarre trip to Indianapolis. 8. Injury report: Browns at Colts. 9. Quote of the week. 10. Predictions: Browns at Colts.

Top storylines -- 1. Both teams are hungry for redemption after suffering embarrassing losses in Week 1. 2. The Colts will continue to adjust to life without quarterback Peyton Manning, who recently had neck surgery for the third time in less than 19 months. 3. Browns offensive lineman Tony Pashos, the projected starter at right tackle, has been ruled out with a left ankle injury. Artis Hicks is expected to start and rotate with Oniel Cousins in Pashos' spot. Hicks and Cousins will have to face Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Mathis. 4. The Colts will be without starting middle linebacker and defensive captain Gary Brackett, who's out with a left shoulder injury. 5. Browns-Colts connections: Colts defensive assistant Rod Perry was a defensive back for the Browns (1983-84). ... Colts defensive line coach John Teerlinck was a member of the Browns' coaching staff (1989-90). ... Browns defensive assistant Chuck Bullough attended the Colts' training camp as a linebacker in 1996. ... Northeast Ohio connections: Colts defensive coordinator Larry Coyer was a defensive backs coach at Ohio State (1991-92). He also coached at Massillon High School. ... Colts running back Delone Carter graduated from Copley High School. ... Colts wide receiver Pierre Garcon played at Mount Union. ... Colts wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez went to St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland and played at Ohio State.

Inactive players -- Browns: QB Thaddeus Lewis, WR Carlton Mitchell (finger), SS Eric Hagg (knee), LB Titus Brown (ankle), OL Steve Vallos, OL Tony Pashos (ankle) and TE Jordan Cameron. Colts: QB Peyton Manning (neck), DB Kevin Thomas, RB Darren Evans, DB Chris Rucker, LB Ernie Sims (knee), LB Gary Brackett (shoulder) and OL Seth Olsen.

Lineup changes -- Browns: offensive lineman Artis Hicks will start at right tackle in place of Pashos. Colts: Kerry Collins will start at quarterback in place of Manning; Pat Angerer will start at middle linebacker in place of Brackett; Philip Wheeler will start at strongside linebacker in place of Angerer.


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