The Browns (3-3) lost to the Detroit Lions (4-2) 31-17 today at FirstEnergy Stadium. Below is our game day blog.
Final: Lions 31, Browns 17
The Lions took a 21-17 lead early in the fourth quarter when Stafford found tight end Joseph Fauria from 23-yards out. Fauria was being covered by Craig Robertson, who never turned around to see the ball. The Browns couldn’t do much on offense after a Greg Little catch down the sideline that might have been complete was called incomplete, challenged by head coach Rob Chudzinski and upheld. Lions kicker David Akers then hit a 51-yard field goal to go up 24-17, giving the Browns a chance to tie the game. Weeden drove the Browns to the Lions’ 38-yard line but then tried a shovel pass to Ogbonnaya, which flailed in the air and was intercepted by DeAndre Levy. That play led to a mass exodus in the stands, as the odd attempt put the Browns in a major hole. The Lions ended the Browns’ chances when Stafford again hit Fauria in the end zone to go up 31-17. Weeden finished 26-of-43 for 292 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for a QB Rating of 76.9. The Browns were outscored 24-0 in the second half.
End 3Q: Browns 17, Lions 14
Led by Reggie Bush, the Lions pulled within three points on their first drive of the second half. Bush first gashed the Browns' defense with a 39-yard run to the outside and then scored on an 18-yard screen pass for a touchdown. The Lions were again driving but had a second drive stalled when Stafford was intercepted by free safety Tashaun Gipson in the end zone. Buster Skrine tipped the ball away from receiver Patrick Edwards and Gipson came down with the easy interception.
End 2Q: Browns 17, Lions 7
The Browns scored 17 unanswered points going into halftime. Quarterback Brandon Weeden first hit running back Chris Ogbonnaya, who was uncovered, for a 4-yard touchdown pass to tie the game 7-7. On second-and-goal from the 2-yard line, Weeden rolled to his right and hit Greg Little, who lined up in the slot and was open on a short out-pattern. Thanks to a 36-yard pass to Josh Gordon, the Browns took a 17-14 lead just before halftime on a 40-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff. The Browns have already set a season high with 115 rushing yards. Benjamin has 45 yards, Willis McGahee has 33 and Ogbonnaya has 18. Gordon has 79 receiving yards on four catches. Weeden is 12-of-20 passing for 135 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
End 1Q: Lions 7, Browns 0
The Browns weren't able to get much of anything going on offense until at end of the quarter, when Travis Benjamin took an end around 45 yards. Before that, the Browns offense didn't have much to show for itself. Willis McGahee broke off a 12-yard run, one of the longer runs of the season for the Browns, but Josh Gordon and Davone Bess each dropped passes. The Lions took a 7-0 lead with 3:27 left in the first quarter. After back-to-back pass interference calls on Joe Haden put the ball at the 1-yard line, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford hit tight end Joseph Fauria on a fade in the end zone. Safety Johnson Bademosi was covering him. Lions star wide receiver Calvin Johnson has only been playing a portion of the offense’s snaps thus far. He’s dealing with a right knee injury.
Inactives: Browns – Right outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard (sprained left knee), wide receiver Charles Johnson, offensive linemen Patrick Lewis, Martin Wallace and Garrett Gilkey, tight end Keavon Milton and defensive end Billy Winn (quadriceps). Notes: Sheard worked out in pregame warm-ups and practiced on a limited basis throughout the week, but he’ll sit out for the third consecutive game. Sheard, a starter, sprained his left knee Sept. 22 while recovering a fumble against the Minnesota Vikings. Backup left outside linebacker Quentin Groves is active for the first time since he suffered a high-ankle sprain Sept. 15 against the Baltimore Ravens. Sheard and Groves were listed as questionable heading into today. Winn, a backup, will also miss his third consecutive game after straining a quadriceps against the Vikings. Lions – wide receiver Nate Burleson (forearm), quarterback Kellen Moore, cornerback Jonte Green, running back Theo Riddick (concussion), guard Leroy Harris, offensive tackle Jason Fox (knee) and tight end Tony Scheffler (concussion). Notes: All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson entered today listed as questionable with an injured right knee, but he’ll start. Johnson sat out a 22-9 loss to the Green Bay Packers last week with the injury.
Lineup changes: Browns – Rookie Barkevious Mingo will start in place of Sheard. Note: Mingo will make his third consecutive start. Lions – Corey Hilliard will start at right tackle in place of Fox.
Ryan Lewis’ top storylines: 1. Brandon Weeden gets his first start since injuring his right thumb in a Week 2 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. On Oct. 3, after starter Brian Hoyer tore the ACL in his right knee while sliding, Weeden entered the Thursday night game and threw for 197 yards and a touchdown to lead the Browns to a 37-24 win over the Buffalo Bills. 2. Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, thought by many to be the NFL’s best at his position, missed last week’s game against the Green Bay Packers with swelling in his right knee and could sit out or be limited against the Browns. Lions coach Jim Schwartz said Thursday that Johnson will be a game-time decision. Since the beginning of the 2011 season, Johnson has 3,957 receiving yards, the most in the NFL. 3. The Browns’ seventh-ranked pass defense (207.6 yards per game) faces a tough test against the Lions’ sixth-ranked pass offense (291.6 yards) and quarterback Matthew Stafford, who has done a good job of spreading the ball around to his receivers. Five Lions have at least 15 catches this season and four have at least 200 receiving yards. 4. Lions running backs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell have been as dangerous catching passes out of the backfield as they have been running the ball. Bush has 298 yards and a touchdown on the ground and 204 yards and a touchdown receiving. Bell has rushed for 152 yards and three touchdowns and caught a team-high 22 passes for 237 yards. 5. Today will be the first matchup (in the regular season) between two of this past draft’s top pass rushers, the Browns’ Barkevious Mingo and the Lions’ Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah, who were taken back-to-back at No. 5 and No. 6 overall. Ansah, who lines up as a defensive end, leads NFL rookies with 3.5 sacks this season and Mingo is right behind him with three.
Links to preview stories via Ohio.com: 1. Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden knows turnover-free performace vs. Lions key to happy birthday. 2. Key matchup: Browns’ Alex Mack, Shawn Lauvao vs. Lions DT Ndamukong Suh. 3. Five must-know numbers for Sunday. 4. Quote of the Week. 5. How they rank. 6. Predictions from Nate Ulrich, Marla Ridenour and Ryan Lewis. 7. Browns’ Jordan Cameron uses doubt to fuel his transformation from college basketball player to formidable NFL tight end. 8. Browns sign WR Charles Johnson off Packers' practice squad, put QB Brian Hoyer on season-ending IR. 9. Browns notebook: QB Jason Campbell says ‘it stung’ when Brian Hoyer leapfrogged him but realizes mentoring part of his role. 10. Browns notes with video: Jabaal Sheard on Lions DT Ndamukong Suh’s style: “I don’t respect it”.