In a matchup between two hapless, 0–2 teams, the Browns and Dolphins delivered on our low expectations Sunday. The game started with the teams trading turnovers on their first two possessions, and mostly went downhill from there.
While both teams were awful—Miami won 30–24—the Browns were less awful, and somehow still managed to lose. “I don't think we deserved [the win], but we'll take it,” Ryan Tannehill said after the game, summing up this ugly affair.
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Cleveland played Sunday with its third-string quarterback, second-string center, a kicker signed off the street Friday and without its best player, cornerback Joe Haden. Despite this massive handicap—the Dolphins essentially set the game difficulty to Rookie—the Browns still manufactured an 11-point fourth quarter comeback to tie the game at 24, and then strip-sacked Tannehill (in no surprise to Miami fans) to set themselves up for a game-winning field goal.
That's when Cody Parkey missed his third field goal of the day to send the game into overtime. In the extra period, Hue Jackson curiously opted to put his defense on the field first, a decision that almost worked until Cleveland's offense imploded on its only drive of OT.
The Dolphins ended the game on their second drive of overtime, ruining the efforts of Cody Kessler, who made his first career start and threw for 244 yards, completing 21-of-33 passes. Terrelle Pryor was also sensational, playing quarterback, rusher and receiver to the tune of 35 yards passing, 21 yards rushing and 144 yards receiving.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins inspired no confidence in their prospects for the rest of the season, routinely struggling to match the execution level of a team missing most of its important players. Miami looked more or less like it has for the last decade: absolutely no better than slightly below average.
You have to imagine Cleveland will be signing a new kicker tomorrow. Unfortunately, it will be one day too late.