Here are some quick notes, nuggets and thoughts after the Browns' 23-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 1:
OFFENSE: Thumbs down. Quarterback Brandon Weeden had very little support and was battered and beaten. The Dolphins finished with 16 quarterback hits, including six sacks, five in the second half. The right side of the line had a horrendous game. Tackle Mitchell Schwartz surrendered way too much pressure against All-Pro left defensive end Cameron Wake, who had 2½ sacks and six quarterback hits. Guard Oniel Cousins committed four penalties – two flags for holding, one for illegal hands to the face and another for a false start. Wide receivers Greg Little and Travis Benjamin each had two drops. Weeden completed just 26-of-53 passes (49.1 percent) for 289 yards and a touchdown with three interceptions, all of which were in the first half, and finished with a passer rating of 48.4. Running back Trent Richardson had 13 carries for 47 yards (3.6 average).
Key quote: “I can’t speak for everyone else, but for myself it was a pretty bad game. I just got to do better.” – Schwartz
Key stat: The Browns converted only 1-of-14 third downs (7 percent).
DEFENSE: Thumbs down. There were definitely some bright spots for the defense. The Browns held the Dolphins to just 20 rushing yards on 23 carries (0.9 average), which is tied for the second-fewest rushing yards allowed in team history. The Browns limited the Chicago Bears to 20 rushing yards on Oct. 22, 1967. They held the New York Giants to a measly 4 rushing yards on Nov. 28, 1954. The defense also compiled seven quarterback hits, including four sacks. Starting right defensive end Desmond Bryant had two sacks, and starting left outside linebacker Paul Kruger and backup right outside linebacker Quentin Groves added one apiece. However, the secondary collapsed in the second half. Cornerback Buster Skrine was beat on a double move by wide receiver Brian Hartline for a 34-yard touchdown in the third quarter that gave the Dolphins a 13-7 lead with 6:46 left in the third quarter. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill later picked on cornerback Chris Owens during the Dolphins’ 10-play, 85-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. Tannehill completed 24-of-38 passes (63.1 percent) for 272 yards and a touchdown with an interception, posting a rating of 82.3. Cornerback Joe Haden shut down wide receiver Mike Wallace, who had one catch for 15 yards. The Browns had one takeaway – free safety Tashaun Gipson’s interception in the second quarter. But Haden and strong safety T.J. Ward dropped would-be interceptions in the third quarter. Three plays after Ward’s drop, Hartline scored.
Key quote: “That ball will not touch your hands a lot in this league. When it does, you’ve got to be ready for it. That’s another area of the game where we had a chance to get off the field and we didn’t come up with the play. That’s something we can improve on. That’s something I’m sure a lot of guys are thinking about and next time it comes up, guys will be in a better position and better mindset to make that play when it happens.” – inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson on dropped interceptions
Key stat: Tannehill completed 6-of-7 passes for 78 yards during the Dolphins’ fourth-quarter touchdown drive.
SPECIAL TEAMS: OK. New kicker Billy Cundiff made his lone field goal from 39 yards. Spencer Lanning punted five times for an average of 45 yards, and the Dolphins didn’t do anything significant in the return game, except for having a punt return for a touchdown called back because of a glaring holding penalty. The Browns didn’t do much in the return game, either.
COACHING: Thumbs down. Schwartz needed more help dealing with Wake, and the game plan should have provided it. Why didn't Richardson get more than 13 carries? He did not receive a single carry in the fourth quarter. What happened to the vertical, downfield passing game coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner vowed to feature? The secondary was exposed in the second half when defensive coordinator Ray Horton called all-out blitzes that didn’t reach Tannehill in time.