Weeden shines in Browns' preseason triumph
AUG 09, 2013 12:19a ET
CLEVELAND -- Brandon Weeden said his goals for the first preseason game included to put together some drives and to complete a high percentage of his passes.
Weeden led the Browns to scores on both of his drives. He completed 5 of 8 for 52 yards on the first drive, including 2 of 3 on third down passing attempts. He connected with Davone Bess for a 7-yard catch on third-and-2 then later got some help from Greg Little on another third down later in the drive. After a pass went off of tight end Jordan Cameron's face mask and up into the air, Little leapt to pull it down the ball from two defenders for a 14-yard gain and a first down at the Rams' 8-yard line.
The Browns stalled from there as Dion Lewis ran for one yard and then two passes into the corner of the end zone went incomplete intended for Little. Brandon Bogotay kicked a 25-yard field goal to give the Browns a 3-0 lead.
On the next drive, Weeden led the Browns 74 yards for a touchdown, hitting Lewis for a 2-yard touchdown on the only third down play of the drive. On the drive, Weeden completed all five of his pass attempts, totaling 60 yards and a touchdown.
Weeden finished the night 10 of 13 for 112 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. He also had no sacks and no passes batted down. His rating was 127.7. Compare that to his first preseason game in 2012 when Weeden hit three of nine for 62 yards with one interception and a sack and no touchdowns in the first preseason game against the Lions. His rating was 19.0.
"I thought we looked pretty good," Weeden said. "We maneuvered well. We didn't have any penalties, we didn't do anything to move backwards.
"We were moving forward. We got some first downs and put together a nice scoring drive. For the first game without seeing tape, I think we did some good things. We played fast."
Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski agreed.
"I thought he did a good job," Chudzinski said. "He was efficient and led us to some drives. Ultimately, doing that is what his job is all about.
"He was in there for a number of scoring drives and moving the ball. Our offense was moving early in the game with him at the helm. He looked calm. Again, we will go back and look at the tape and evaluate that further. First impression was that we came out and we had some good drives, and he was a big part of that."
In Weeden's entire preseason in 2012, he was 24 for 49 for 297 yards and a 59.7 rating. He felt that he was able to get into a rhythm even though he just played two series in the opener this year.
"It's nice (getting into a rhythm)," Weeden said. "That comes with completions and nice runs from our backs and having those positive plays. When you're not going backwards and can get into a rhythm and it's easier to function.
"We were able to do that in the short time that we were out there," he said. "We moved well and we managed the offense pretty well."
After the second score, Jason Campbell played the rest of the first half. He was also efficient as he was 6 for 7 for 37 yards and a 88.7 rating.
On the first series, Campbell led a 12-play, 61-yard drive that resulted in a 41-yard field goal by Shayne Graham. Campbell was 5 of 6 for 35 yards on the drive and scrambled for a 12-yard first down on third-and-6. The Browns moved to the Rams' 18 before stalling on an incomplete pass to Chris Ogbonnaya on third-and-5.
On Campbell's second and final series, he completed a 2-yard pass to Brandon Jackson and was sacked on third down forcing a punt.
Brian Hoyer finished the game and completed 10 of 14 passes for 100 yards with a touchdown as he played the entire second half. He was 7 of 10 for 44 yards and a 78.8 rating in the third quarter and 3 for 4 for 56 yards and a score in the fourth quarter. Hoyer threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Cordell Roberson with 3:01 to play to make the score 27-13 at the time. Hoyer finished with a 115.2 rating.
-- Lewis started at running back in place of the injured Trent Richardson and showed what he can do. He scored on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Weeden in the second quarter.
"Dion had some good plays," Chudzinski said. "Obviously, he got an opportunity. He really did what he has been showing in practice. That is one of the things we have been stressing with our guys to transfer what they do on the practice field to the game. I think you saw what Dion has been doing in practice."
Weeden was impressed with Lewis.
"He's a stud," he said. "He brings some mismatches for us. He's got great feet and quickness."
Lewis carried the ball five times for 12 yards and caught three passes for 22 yards, including a touchdown.
Brandon Jackson had the most carries with 11 carries for 32 yards, including an 11-yard run. He also led the Browns with five receptions for 22 yards.
-- Josh Gordon led the receiving corps with two receptions for 27 yards, while Little had two for 20, including a nice 14-yard leaping catch on a tipped pass. Wide receiver Travis Benjamin caught one pass for 12 yards, while rookie Roberson caught one pass for a 26-yard touchdown. Cameron had one catch, the longest of the night for 30 yards.
-- The Browns had two interceptions, one by linebacker Justin Staples and one on the last play of the game by linebacker Justin Cole.
-- In the kicking competitions, Bogotay was first up on the Browns first drive and was good from 25 yards out to give the Browns an early 3-0 lead. Punter T.J. Conley was the holder. Graham was next up and he hit from 41 yards out to make it 20-7. Graham's first attempt was from 36 yards, which was good, but a false start negated the kick and Graham had to try again from 41 yards. Bogotay had the lone miss as he was wide left on a 54-yard attempt. Graham hit both of his PATS, while Bogotay converted his lone attempt.
Punter Spencer Lanning had a 49-yard punt in the third quarter and finished with two punts for a 45 yard average with no kicks inside the 20. Conley had two punts for a 40-yard average, but he placed a 37-yard punt at the 1-yard line as Mike Edwards caught the ball near the goal line.
-- The Browns pressured the Rams often, but Quentin Groves was the first player to get to the quarterback with a 4-yard sack of Austin Davis in the second quarter. Linebacker Barkevious Mingo sacked Davis to pick up his first sack, but it was nullified by a penalty. The second sack was picked up by defensive lineman Brian Sanford on Davis.
Chudzinski liked what he saw of Mingo.
"He was very active," he said. "I think he had a sack that was nullified with a penalty. He was real active in his pass rush on the field."
The Browns leading tacklers were DBs Akeem Auguster, Trevin Wade and Johnson Bademosi with four each.
-- Inactives: The following players were held out of the preseason opener: RB Trent Richardson (shin), DB T.J. Ward (hamstring), WR David Nelson (knee), DB Chris Owens (foot), RB Montario Hardesty (hamstring), DB Leon McFadden (groin), DB Jamori Slaughter (hamstring), FB Brock Bolen (calf), TE Brad Smelley (hamstring), OL Ryan Miller (head), DL Dave Kruger (head), OL Chris Faulk (knee), OL Shawn Lauvao (ankle) and OL Oniel Cousins (ankle).
Bademosi started at strong safety for Ward. OL Jason Pinkston started at right guard for Lauvao and Lewis started in place of Richardson. Buster Skrine started in place of Owens.
-- Travis Benjamin went 91 yards for a touchdown the first time he touched the ball to give the Browns a 17-0 lead with 13:49 to play in the first half. Benjamin returned a punt 93 yards last season for a touchdown against the Chiefs. WR Jordan Norwood was the next man up on punt returns. His first opportunity resulted in a 1-yard loss.
"(He's) freaky fast," Weeden said of Benjamin. "That guy has a lot of ability. The guy can go. If he gets a crease then watch out, he's one of the fastest guys I've every been around."
Chudzinski said he knew that Benjamin had that in him.
"He had a nice return last year," he said. "We felt good about him."
-- The Browns gave up two long plays in the secondary. Chris Givens caught a 59-yard pass from Sam Bradford as Givens was able to get behind Wade. Later on the drive, Givens caught a touchdown pass and he was wide open with Bademosi the nearest defender. In the fourth quarter, receiver Raymond Radway caught a short pass and ran 53 yards for a touchdown to bring the Rams back to within eight at 27-19 with just over two minutes to play.
-- Undrafted Browns rookie free agent linebacker Staples from Lakewood - who played collegiately at Illinois – intercepted a pass from Kellen Clemens on a pass in the fourth quarter that was tipped by defensive lineman Hall Davis. Hoyer, a St. Ignatius grad, made his Browns debut in front of his hometown fans. He threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Roberson in the fourth quarter and was 10 for 14 for 100 yards and had a rating of 115.2..