Browns 24, Lions 6

This was a win that hurt the Browns.

Quarterback Brandon Weeden’s second straight strong performance

turned into only a footnote Thursday night in a 24-6 victory over

the Lions.

Weeden, who has done everything to win Cleveland’s starting job

and is only waiting for coach Rob Chudzinski to make it official,

threw two touchdown passes in the first half and starred again.

However, Weeden’s night was overshadowed by major injuries to

Browns rookie linebacker Barkevious Mingo (bruised lung) and

running back Dion Lewis (broken leg).

The Browns also lost guard Jason Pinkston (sprained ankle),

tight end Gary Barnidge (sprained shoulder) and kicker Brandon

Bogotay (groin).

The Lions didn’t have any excuses for playing poorly.

They were without star wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who was

rested with a bruised knee, but Detroit’s offense struggled for the

second week in a row and coach Jim Schwartz was disappointed with

his team’s effort as well as several costly penalties.

Here are five things we learned while watching the Browns roll,

more like limp, to their second impressive win of the

preseason:

1. BRUISED, BATTERED: Mingo was kept overnight at The Cleveland

Clinic as a precaution with the uncommon injury. The Browns

initially said Mingo had hurt his ribs, but Chudzinski startled

reporters with news that he had been hospitalized. It’s not known

how long Mingo, the No. 6 overall pick in this year’s draft, will

be out.

The injuries to Lewis and Pinkston could be costly. The

versatile Lewis has had an impressive training camp and preseason,

and the Browns are currently thin at running back after Montario

Hardesty underwent knee surgery. Pinkston, who survived blood clots

in his lungs last season, was filling in for Shawn Lauvao. He had

ankle surgery last week.

Rookie Garrett Gilkey could be thrust into the starting lineup

or the Browns may have to find an established guard.

2. LIONS AND FLAGS AND INFRACTIONS, OH MY: Detroit was whistled

for eight penalties, including three personal fouls in the first

half.

Running back Reggie Bush lost his cool after a play and was

called for unnecessary roughness, and defensive tackle Ndamukong

Shu, no stranger to officials, was whistled for roughing

Weeden.

Lions coach Jim Schwartz was dismayed by the 15-yard

infractions.

”It doesn’t matter what happens out there,” he said. ”Reggie

got hit right in the back after a play, but that doesn’t give you

any reason to put our offense in a worse position. Regardless of

what you think of the call, it doesn’t matter. It gets called and

we pay the price for it.”

3. WEEDEN SHINES: With every tight spiral, completion and

touchdown, Weeden silences more critics and doubters. In two games,

he’s 18 of 25 for 229 yards, three touchdowns and zero

interceptions.

Earlier this week, Chudzinski said the competition between

Weeden and Jason Campbell was ”still close.”

Sure, coach.

”I was pleased,” Chudzinski said of Weeden. ”He was efficient

out there, accurate and had a couple of really nice throws where he

was able to get it into some tight areas. He looked comfortable out

there.”

4. BANKRUPT DETROIT: The Lions’ starting offense can’t find the

end zone.

In two games, Detroit’s first unit has managed only field goals.

Without Johnson, the Lions didn’t have a downfield threat, but

quarterback Matthew Stafford refused to use Megatron’s absence as

an excuse and said the lack of scoring is becoming an issue.

”We should be concerned a little bit,” said Stafford, who went

11 of 16 for 74 yards. ”We are better than that. We have to hold

ourselves accountable because we need to put points on the

board.”

5. AIR JORDAN: A basketball walk-on at USC and friend of NBA

All-Star Blake Griffin, Browns tight end Jordan Cameron is

beginning to make a name for himself.

He caught both of Weeden’s TD passes on throws into the end zone

where his size – 6-foot-5, 252 pounds – gave him a big advantage

over smaller defensive backs. Cameron may thrive in coordinator

Norv Turner’s tight end friendly offense.

”I’m trying to get better every day,” said Cameron, who only

had 20 catches last season. ”This is definitely a work in

progress.”

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