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Game day blog: Browns vs. Lions (second preseason game)

By Nate Ulrich Published: August 19, 2011

Final recap: Lions 30, Browns 28 (box score; game story)

The Browns (1-1 in the preseason) and the visiting Lions (2-0) were just plain sloppy Friday night in the second exhibition game of the year for both teams. The Browns had 12 penalties for 88 yards. The Lions finished with 14 penalties for 123 yards.

Both teams fumbled three times. The Browns lost two -- running back Armond Smith was responsible for both after he rushed for an 81-yard touchdown. The Lions lost one.

"Those are killer," Browns coach Pat Shurmur said.

You can bet Shumur and his assistants will focus on correcting the team's miscues when practice resumes Sunday. They'll hope to show improvement next Thursday in another exhibition game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Aside from the all-around sloppiness, Shurmur can be encouraged by the overall performance of the starting offense. Quarterback Colt McCoy played for most of the first half and completed 10-of-18 passes for 96 yards and three touchdowns -- two to tight end Evan Moore and another to rookie wide receiver Greg Little.

McCoy also showed some guts. He faced some pressure from the Lions' defense and was knocked around at times. Still, he made plays and finished with a passer rating of 110.2.

The starting defense sparked the Browns' first score. Rookie right end Jabaal Sheard forced a fumble and recovered it at the Lions' 34-yard line. McCoy and Moore connected for a touchdown six plays later.

The Browns led 21-13 at halftime before the backups took center stage.

The Browns were without several starters because of injuries. Running back Brandon Jackson suffered turf toe during the game, and Moore suffered a head injury, Shurmur said. Both players are under evaluation, Shurmur said.

Game action

End 1Q: Lions 10, Browns 7 -- The Browns' first possession was just plain ugly. Tight end Alex Smith and rookie fullback Owen Marecic each dropped a pass from quarterback Colt McCoy. Then rookie cornerback Buster Skrine committed a false start penalty as the team lined up to punt on  fourth down. Rookie defensive end Jabaal Sheard, though, gave the offense another chance when he stripped running back Jahvid Best of the ball and recovered the fumble at the Lions’ 34-yard line. The Browns scored six players later when McCoy connected with tight end Evan Moore for a 2-yard touchdown pass. Phil Dawson made the extra-point kick to give the Browns a 7-0 lead with 9:49 left in the opening quarter. The Lions struck back with an eight-play, 80-yard touchdown march, capped by quarterback Matthew Stafford's 4-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Nate Burleson in the back of the end zone with 6:02 left in the first quarter. Free safety Mike Adams was in coverage during the play. Then with 2:28 left in the first quarter, Jason Hanson made a 25-yard field goal to give the Lions a 10-7 advantage.

End 2Q: Browns 21, Lions 13 -- After the Browns' defense forced a three-and-out, Jordan Norwood returned a punt 20 yards to the Lions' 21-yard line. McCoy took advantage of great field position by connecting with Moore in the end zone. The pass was originally ruled incomplete because the officials thought Moore was out of bounds when he made the grab against coverage from safety Erik Coleman. However, Browns coach Pat Shurmur challenged the call, and it was overturned. Dawson made the PAT to give the Browns a 14-10 lead with 14:01 left in the second quarter. On the Browns' next possession, McCoy completed a 17-yard pass to Moore, and cornerback Nathan Vasher was penalized for pass interference when McCoy tried to hook up with wide receiver Josh Cribbs in the end zone. The penalty gave the Browns a 27-yard gain. McCoy eventually made the Lions pay for the miscue by throwing a 13-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Greg Little, who celebrated by punting the ball into the stands. Dawson's PAT gave the Browns a 21-10 lead with 4:45 left in the first half. The Lions responded on the ensuing series by trimming their deficit to 21-13 with Hanson's 49-yard field goal.

End 3Q: Browns 28, Lions 20 -- The Browns took a 28-13 lead when running back Armond Smith broke loose off left tackle for an 81-yard touchdown run with 12:19 to go in the quarter. Dawson's PAT opened the Browns' lead to 15 points. But a Browns fumble (recovered by Lions safety Erik Coleman) on their next possession during a Seneca Wallace pass play to Smith led to a quick score by the Lions. With the ball at the 19, a 3-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Drew Stanton to receiver Maurice Stovall pulled the Lions within eight points with 5:37 remaining in the third quarter.

End 4Q: Lions 30, Browns 28 -- Another Browns fumble -- Smith's second lost fumble of the game -- led to a quick-strike  score by the Lions at the start of the fourth quarter. When another Smith fumble (this one recovered by Lions corner back Prince Miller), handed the visitors the ball, Stanton needed just one play spanning six seconds to zip a 20-yard touchdown pass into the hands of Joe Jon Finley. Dave Rayner's PAT trimmed the Browns lead to 28-27 with 14:38 to go in the game. The lead disappeared  some five minutes later when Rayner booted a 48-yard field goal to hand Detroit a 30-28 lead with 9:51 remaining. The Browns never answered.

Pregame notes

Preview stories via 1. Dick Jauron hopes the Browns' defense will improve in virtually every facet tonight. 2. Scouting report for Browns vs. Lions. 3. Browns undrafted rookies Brian Smith and James Dockery striving to demand more attention tonight.

Top storylines -- 1. Several of the Browns' projected starters will be sidelined tonight with injuries. They are running back  Peyton Hillis (hamstring), strong safety T.J. Ward (hamstring), left guard Eric Steinbach (back), free safety Usama Young (hamstring), weakside linebacker Chris Gocong (stinger), strongside Scott Fujita (bruised thigh), tight end Benjamin Watson (hamstring) and wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi (left foot). Running back Montario Hardesty (torn left ACL last year) also will be sidelined despite participating in practice earlier in the week. The following backups will start tonight because of injuries: running back Brandon Jackson, strong safety Ray Ventrone, left guard John Greco, free safety Mike Adams, weakside linebacker Kaluka Maiava, strongside linebacker Brian Smith, tight end Evan Moore. 2. Browns coach Pat Shurmur, a native of the Detroit area, said he plans to play his starters for about a half tonight. Quarterback Colt McCoy will look to build on his strong performance in the preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers. Meanwhile, the Browns' defensive players also will look to take their next steps as they continue to learn from Jauron, who played for the Lions and later served as their defensive coordinator and interim head coach. 3. Lions standout defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was fined $20,000 by the NFL after he slammed Cincinnati Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton to the ground last week. Suh also was fined $7,500 for viciously taking down former Browns quarterback Jake Delhomme by his facemask in a preseason game last year. Will right guard Shawn Lauvao, who will line up across from Suh, and the rest of the Browns' offensive line adequately protect McCoy? 4. Several Lions players were once members of the Browns. They are cornerbacks Eric Wright, Brandon McDonald and Anthony Madison, defensive tackle Corey Williams, running backs Jerome Harrison and Mike Bell and offensive lineman Isaac Sowells. Lions coach Jim Schwartz was a scout for the Browns from 1993-95.

Inactive players — Lions: wide receivers Calvin Johnson (shoulder) and Titus Young (hamstring), cornerbacks Chris Houston (groin) and Alphonso Smith (foot), running back Maurice Morris (hand), offensive tackles Jason Fox (foot) and Jeff Backus (chest), tight end Tony Scheffler (hand) and defensive tackles Andre Fluellen (hand) and Nick Fairley (foot). Browns: Hillis (hamstring), Hardesty (torn left ACL last year), Ward (hamstring), Massaquoi (left foot), Steinbach (back), Young (hamstring), Gocong (stinger), Fujita (bruised thigh), Watson (hamstring), wide receiver Carlton Mitchell (finger surgery), defensive end Jabari Fletcher (right knee) and strong safety Eric Hagg (left knee surgery).

Lineup changes -- Lions: Maurice Stovall will start at wide receiver in place of Johnson; Aaron Berry will start at cornerback for Houston; Corey Hilliard will start at left offensive tackle for Backus. Browns: Adams will start at free safety for Young; Ventrone will start at strong safety for Ward; Maiava will start at weakside linebacker for Gocong; Smith will start at strongside linebacker for Fujita; Greco will start at left guard for Steinbach; Moore will start at tight end for Watson; Jackson will start at running back for Hillis.

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