The Browns lost to the Miami Dolphins in the regular-season opener for both teams today. The Browns are 1-14 in openers since their expansion era kicked off in 1999. Rob Chudzinski fell in his debut as an NFL head coach, and no Browns coach has won his debut with the team since Bud Carson in 1989.
Final: Dolphins 23, Browns 10
The Dolphins delivered the knockout blow with 6:48 left on Daniel Thomas’ 1-yard touchdown run. But the majority of damage was done by Tannehill, who was 6-of-7 on that drive for 78 yards. After that touchdown put the Dolphins up 20-10, the Browns went four-and-out. On fourth and 2 at their own 33-yard line, Cameron Wake blew through the line untouched and then ran through Ogbonnaya on his way to another sack (2.5 to go along with six QB hits). Miami then added another field goal, this one from 36 yards out, to go up 23-10. Brandon Weeden finished the game 26-of-52 for 289 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Tannehill was 24-of-38 passing for 272 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The Dolphins had just 21 yards rushing on 20 carries.
End 3Q: Dolphins 13, Browns 10
The Dolphins did very little on offense in the first half (89 total yards) and that continued until Tannehill hit Brian Hartline with a perfect strike on a 34-yard touchdown pass with 6:46 left in the third quarter to take a 13-7 lead. Hartline beat Buster Skrine down the sideline with a double-move and Tannehill’s throw hit him in stride. The Browns responded with a Billy Cundiff 39-yard field goal to make it 13-10. T.J. Ward and Billy Winn have both returned to the game.
End 2Q: Browns 7, Dolphins 6
The Dolphins converted Weeden’s second interception into a second Sturgis field goal, this one from 49 yards out, to take a 6-0 lead early in the second quarter. Then tight end Jordan Cameron had quite the second quarter. First, Weeden found him for a 22-yard reception that was originally called a touchdown after it appeared that no one from Miami touched him. On the next play, Weeden’s pass went off Cameron’s hands and was intercepted by Patterson for his second INT of the day. Going the other way, free safety Tashaun Gipson intercepted a Ryan Tannehill pass that was deflected by D’Qwell Jackson. The Browns took a 7-6 lead with under a minute remaining in the half when Weeden found Cameron in the back corner of the end zone from seven yards out. Weeden has three interceptions, mostly due to several drops, and the Browns have five penalties but still hold the lead.
End 1Q: Dolphins 3, Browns 0
Trent Richardson got off to a good start, running for 26 yards on the Browns’ first drive of the season. That drive was stalled after Brandon Weeden’s deep pass for Travis Benjamin was picked off by Miami’s Nolan Carroll at the 1-yard line. Weeden’s previous pass was nearly intercepted by former Brown Dimitri Patterson. On the Browns’ second drive, Travis Benjamin dropped a pass on third down that nearly intercepted near midfield. The Dolphins, led by quarterback Ryan Tannehill, went on a 15-play. 58-yard drive drive that included four third-down conversions and ended with a 45-yard field goal by Caleb Sturgis. That drive included a costly offsides penalty on Paul Kruger that gave the Dolphins a first down on third and five. At the end of the quarter, Weeden had a second pass dropped, this one by Greg Little, and caught by Patterson for an interception. It was first called an incompletion, but the Dolphins challenged the play and had it reversed.
Links to our stories this morning: 1. Browns cornerback Buster Skrine to start despite injured shoulder, starting left defensive back Ahtyba Rubin out with calf. 2. Another report outlines owner Jimmy Haslam's plan to turn Browns over to father if necessary. 3. Report: Browns center Alex Mack not open to contract negotiations during season.
Inactives: Browns – starting left defensive end Ahtyba Rubin (calf), quarterback Brian Hoyer, tight end MarQueis Gray, rookie outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo (bruised lung), offensive lineman Martin Wallace, right guard Shawn Lauvao (high ankle sprain) and outside linebacker Paul Hazel. Dolphins – quarterback Pat Devlin, cornerback Jamar Taylor, running back Mike Gillislee, cornerback Will Davis, linebacker Josh Kaddu, guards Danny Watkins and Dallas Thomas.
Lineup changes: Browns – Billy Winn will start at left defensive end in place of Rubin; Oniel Couins will start at right guard in place of Lauvao. Dolphins – Jared Odrick will start at defensive tackle in place of Randy Starts, who is still active.
Ryan Lewis’ top storylines: 1. Two first-round quarterbacks entering their sophomore season, Brandon Weeden and Ryan Tannehill, both have something to prove after putting up similar numbers as rookies. Tannehill threw for 3,294 yards, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions on 58.3 percent passing. Weeden threw for 3,385 yards with 14 touchdowns and 17 interceptions on 57.4 percent passing. Both have work to do to catch up to “The Big Three” from last year’s draft class: Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts), Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins) and Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks). 2. With Josh Gordon serving the first of his two-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, wide receivers Greg Little, Davone Bess and Travis Benjamin will have to shoulder more of the load. Little will be going against Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes, who slides into the No. 1 cornerback role after Sean Smith signed with the Kansas City Chiefs this summer. Bess has an opportunity to make an impact against his former team and Benjamin has two games to show he can handle being an every-down receiver. 3. If there’s one thing the Dolphins did well last season, it was stopping the run (13th in the NFL). They also added Dannell Ellerbe, who was with the Baltimore Ravens last year, to help solidify their front seven. They’ll try to slow down Trent Richardson, who needs 155 yards to have the second-most rushing yards in a Browns player’s first 16 games since Kevin Mack had 1,104 in 1985. History isn’t on his side — in the Browns’ most recent games against the Dolphins, they ran for only 122 total yards (61 per game). 4. The last time the Dolphins came to Cleveland, bruising running back Daniel Thomas ran for 95 yards, most of it between the tackles. Thomas’ role is expected to be reduced in favor of speedster Lamar Miller, a second-year back from Miami who the Dolphins took in the fourth round in 2012. Miller vastly outplayed Thomas in the preseason (4.2 yards per carry to 2.7) and is expected to carry the bulk of the load going forward. The Dolphins’ running game will hinge on speed this season. 5. This game could have been a showcase for two of the premier pass rushers from this most recent draft class, the Dolphins’ Dion Jordan (third overall) and the Browns’ Barkevious Mingo (sixth overall). Instead, Mingo was ruled out on Friday by coach Rob Chudzinski with a bruised lung and Jordan’s status was up in the air as he recovered from offseason shoulder surgery, although he’s listed as probable. Opposite Jordan will be Cameron Wake, one of the better pass rushers in the league.
Links to preview stories via Ohio.com: 1. Browns CEO Joe Banner confident progress is imminent despite lingering questions about ownership, quarterback, holes on roster. 2. Marla Ridenour: Browns’ weaknesses for 2013 season trump strengths. 3. Browns matchup of week: Wide receiver Mike Wallace gives Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill another weapon. 4. Browns aim to overcome their season-opening blues Sunday against Dolphins. 5. Browns promote wide receiver Tori Gurley to active roster, waive running back Dennis Johnson on eve of season opener. 6. Browns vs. Dolphins: Five numbers you need to know for Sunday. 7. Browns vs. Dolphins: Five storylines to watch Sunday.