The Browns are facing the Detroit Lions tonight in the second preseason game at FirstEnergy Stadium. Below is our game day blog, which will be updated at the end of each quarter.
End 4Q: Browns 24-6
Jason Campbell found running back Brandon Jackson for a touchdown from 14 yards out, giving the Browns a 24- lead in the fourth quarter. Campbell finished the night 12 of 14 passing for 106 yards and a touchdown, with a QB rating of 122.0. Brian Hoyer took over for him midway through the fourth. Brandon Bogotay was scheduled to make all the needed kicks for the Browns but left the game sometime between the second and fourth quarters with a groin injury. Graham had to come in to hit an extra point.
End 3Q: Browns 17, Lions 6
The Browns third quarter was quiet, although Dion Lewis left the game with a left ankle injury. Lewis was walking gingerly and was barely able to put any weight on it. He was carted off the field. Trent Richardson was talking with Lewis before he was taken into the locker room. Lewis had five carries for 33 yards and caught four passes for 15 yards.
End 2Q: Browns 17, Lions 3
The Browns offense under Weeden continues to thrive. Set up by a 31-yard run by Dion Lewis, Weeden found Cameron for a second touchdown, this one from five yards. The Lions later got on the scoreboard with a field goal by David Akers. Weeden and Richardson are both done for the game. Rookie linebacker Barkevious Mingo left the game with a rib injury. He jogged to the locker room and his return is questionable.
End 1Q: Browns 10, Detroit 0
The Browns first-teamers again looked great but an issue of depth at right guard went from bad to worse. Jason Pinkston, who was starting in place of Shawn Lauvao, went down with a right ankle injury after left guard John Greco was pushed into him. Pinkston gingerly walked off the field with assistance and was carted to the locker room. Rookie lineman Garrett Gilkey took his place. Brandon Weeden had a strong quarter, going 6-10 for 85 yards and a touchdown. He had a 34-yard pass to Josh Gordon on a deep ball down the sideline and then found Jordan Cameron in the back of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown. The Browns defense had a strong start as well, forcing three consecutive three-and-outs to start the game. Running back Trent Richardson ran for 33 yards on six carries, including a big hit from Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Browns tight end Gary Barnidge left the game with a shoulder injury. His return is questionable. Kicker Brandon Bogotay had a solid quarter as well, hitting a 43-yard field goal and kicking two of his three kickoffs into the back of the end zone (the second one bounced off the opposing crossbar and through the uprights). Late in the quarter, Travis Benjamin had an 84-yard punt return for a touchdown called back on a holding call on cornerback Joe Haden.
Top storylines: 1. Pushing the quarterback: Even though projected starting quarterback Brandon Weeden has taken all the first-team snaps throughout the spring, training camp and last week in the Browns’ 27-19 win over the St. Louis Rams, Browns coach Rob Chudzinski surprised a lot of people Tuesday when he described the competition between Weeden and backup Jason Campbell as “close.” The competition doesn’t seem close at all, but Chudzinski made it clear he wants to keep the pressure on Weeden before officially naming him the starter. Weeden impressed against the Rams, completing 10-of-13 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown, posting a passer rating of 127.7 and leading the Browns on scoring drives in each of his two series. So now all eyes will be on Weeden, the 22nd overall pick in last year’s draft, to see how he performs in the aftermath of Chudzinski’s competition statement. The Browns will host the Lions in Week 6 of the regular season, so both teams will use vanilla schemes for the most part. Still, Weeden certainly wants to maintain the momentum he established last week against the Rams. 2. No. 33’s debut: Browns running back Trent Richardson will make his NFL preseason debut tonight. Arthroscopic knee surgery forced Richardson, the third overall pick in last year’s draft, to miss all four exhibition games in 2012 and a bothersome right shin kept him sidelined last week during the preseason opener. Now he’s eager for a chance to get his timing down with the offensive line and get some game conditioning in. Chudzinski said Richardson would play for “a couple series.” 3. Big chance: Undrafted rookie Brandon Bogotay will be the only kicker the Browns use tonight, meaning they’ll rest Shayne Graham, who has 12 NFL seasons on his resume It’s a vital audition for Bogotay. If he shines, he’ll gain an edge over Graham. Meanwhile, Norwegian rookie Harvard Rugland and David Akers are battling to become the Lions’ primary kicker. Rugland, an Internet trick-kicking artist otherwise known as “Kickalicious,” tried out for the Browns in March but didn’t receive a contract from the team. 4. Key position battle: Chris Owens will start at right cornerback tonight after sitting out last week with a strained foot arch. Owens and Buster Skrine are locked in a battle to become the starting cornerback opposite Joe Haden, and Skrine gained ground by recovering a fumble against the Rams and stringing together a few solid practices this week. Owens will receive a chance to make a case for himself tonight. He and Haden won’t need to worry about Lions star wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who’s sidelined with a knee contusion. Patrick Edwards will start in place of Johnson. 5. Top picks showcased: Lions rookie defensive end Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah and Browns rookie outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo will try to build on their impressive preseason debuts. Ansah, the fifth overall pick in this year’s draft, returned an interception for a touchdown last week against the New York Jets, and Mingo, the sixth overall pick, had two quarterback hits and a would-be sack that was nullified by a penalty on the Rams.
Inactives: Browns – punter T.J. Conley (groin), wide receivers Jordan Norwood (hamstring) and David Nelson (knee), running back Montario Hardesty (knee), cornerback Leon McFadden (groin), safety Jamoris Slaughter (hamstring), fullback Brock Bolen (calf), strong safety T.J. Ward (hamstring), offensive linemen Ryan Miller (concussion), Shawn Lauvao (ankle), Chris Faulk (knee) and Oniel Cousins (ankle) and defensive end Hall Davis (hamstring). Lions – free safety Louis Delmas, safety John Wendling, cornerbacks Chris Greenwood and Jonte Green, wide receiver Calvin Johnson and tight end Matt Veldman.
Lineup changes: Browns – Jason Pinkston will start at right guard in place of Lauvao; undrafted rookie Josh Aubrey will start at strong safety in place of Ward; and Owens will start at right cornerback. Lions – Patrick Edwards will start in place of Johnson at wide receiver, and Don Carey will start at free safety in place of Delmas.
Links to preview stories via Ohio.com: 1. Montario Hardesty’s knee surgery puts a twist on the battle for the No. 2 running back job. 2. Notes: Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas gives his take on the Browns’ quarterback situation and says he thinks the Lions will be a bit more challenging than the Rams were. 3. Chudzinski says the quarterback competition is “still close,” but Weeden is still confident he’ll prevail. 4. Notes: Richardson is eager for his preseason debut.