Browns vs. Lions live game thoughts


The home crowd looks better than last week.


Gipson nice play TFL

TE Pettigrew missed the pass.

Robertson covers well out of the ILB

Nice 3 and out

Special teams penalty costs the browns good field position (Skrine)

TRich with a nice carry but the blocking not so strong

Weeden throws into double coverage Gordon almost caught it.

Browns go 3 and out after a 1st down penalty on the Lions.


The Browns stopped the Bush runs on 1st and 2nd down

Blitz gets to Stafford and Haden knocks the pass away.

Good showing for the D

TRich hit in the backfield over left guard.  NOT GOOD

Gordon with a nice run after catch

9 yard run by TRich but he was first touched in the backfield.

Det collapses the pocket on the screen pass

Browns are confused and it costs them a time out

17 yard run by TRich is all him.  Pinkston hurt by Greco getting blown up

Lions smell out the screen.  -1

3rd and 8 play fails because no one is open down field.



Bush was WIDE open but Taylor knocked down the pass

On 3rd down Taylor gets pressure up the gut to prevent the 1st

Browns force another 3 and out

Suh on a personal foul on Weeden

Lewis hit behind the line and Schwartz is pushed on his back

Weeden read the blitz and completes to Gordon for 34 yards

Lewis hit in the back field again.  -2 and the O line is not blocking the run well at all.

Cameron makes a great catch on a go get it ball.  He is starting to show something

Clev 10-0



Bush beats Jackson to the corner for a long gain.  18-35

Sheard blows up the blocker and tackles the runner

Kruger misses a ball thrown right at him on a screen

Third and 24 well short of the LTG.

Special teams penalty costs TD return

Instead it is 1st and 10 from the 8

No run blocking again and the team faces 3rd and 12

Weeden hits Gordon for a 1st   Great anticipation of the break of Gordon. For 23 yards

Great throw by Weeden to Cameron for 24

Ogbonnaya has the best block by a FB I have seen since 99 and Lewis runs for 31

Lewis shows good vision and gets 2 without help

Lions play man and Weeden/Cameron makes them pay.  TD   Great drive with chunk plays for the score!

Cle 17 Det 0


KO-13 Det with the ball at the 22

Jackson covers TE Pettigrew well for little gain on the pass

Owens hits the receiver after a 3 yard pass

Pettigrew gets a little open and gets the FD

Sheard drops Bush for a loss of 3

Gipson misses the tackle at the line and Bush gets 7

Haden misses Bush and he gets a 1st down

Owens looks good tackling Bush for a 3 yard gain

Jackson closes on Stafford running for the 1st and stops him a half yard short.

Bush gets 5 on an option play wide

Two Bush runs net 5 yards.  The D is doing better on the run

3rd down pass is knocked down by Robertson.  Great coverage again by him

48 yard FG

Cle 17 Det 3

Mingo out Barnidge also out

Campbell gets flushed out but a 5 yard penalty helps the Browns

Good pass to Little

Lewis shows good vision and gets 4 all by himself

Screen loses 8 yards.  Still not good at that play

Good effort by Lewis to try to get the 1st.  Just short


Half time.

Again no gain on a run with the 2nd unit

Campbell misses Cooper who was wide open

Campbell gets sacked loss of 10 on a blitz by Det


Holding on Det moved the ball back to their 29

2 passes give the Lions a 1st at the 41

Kitchen, Aubry and Fort shut down a run wide for no gain

Wade with a great play knocking the ball down

Browns get decent pressure with a 4 man rush and Hill runs but fails to covert

After a 9 yard completion the Browns lose 2 on a run and a 5 yard penalty.

Campbell runs for the 1st

The Browns face 3rd and 9 again at the 31

Lewis hurt on a 6 yard pass on 3rd and 9.


The Lions drive for a 31 yard FG against the 2nd D.  The 2nd team D allowed too much yardage but was able to force the FG.

CL 17 DT 6

Jackson makes the LB miss on a swing pass and picks up 18 yards.


Campbell makes a good pass for 9 but the procedure penalty makes it 3rd and 6 (Gilkey)

Nice throw under the blitz gets the 1st.   Campbell is looking very sharp on this drive.

TE Davis with a nice catch for another 1st.

Jackson with a good catch bringing the ball down to DT 19

3rd and 3 and the Browns use a TO.

Great move by Jackson on a swing pass for the TD.

This was a very solid drive all on the arm of Campbell.  He has solidified his #2 QB spot.

CL 24 DT 6


KO +8

The Browns 3rd D holds the Lions for a 3 and out.  Good job against the 3rd QB of the Lions Moore.

Hoyer in at QB.

Holding penalty send the browns to a 2nd and long.

Great pass to Roberson for 22 and a 1st.

But Hoyer is not able to covert again.

P Lanning punts from the Lions 40 and it goes into the endzone for a touchback.


The Lions get a first on two passes.

S Richardson makes a good tackle to prevent RB Riddick from getting a 1st.

The Browns 3rd D stops the Lions 3rd O and force a punt.

On 3rd and 11 Hoyer misses a handoff.


Thad Lewis (former Brown) comes in at QB for the Lions.  He showed he can pass with a couple of 1st downs against deep coverage.  But on 4th down he failed to hit a wide open TE and the Browns closed out the game.



Overall thoughts

1st team Offense:

Every Browns fan has to be pleased with the way the 1st team O has looked.  While Weeden has looked much better, a lot of the improvement has to be due to Norv Turner’s offensive design.  I knew two years ago what a lot of people are learning now—Pat Shurmur was not prepared to be an Offensive Coordinator let alone head coach.  Shurmur’s O was offensive.  It did not even try to take advantage of the skills of his players.  THAT is the worst indictment that can be made against any coach.


Weeden is clearly much more effective this season than in the past year.  It looks like the coaching is helping him improve.  He is much more comfortable in the shotgun and the preseason offense has allowed him to throw from the gun often.  He is delivering the ball much more quickly than last year with defined reads that help him.  The improvement in accuracy has helped along with the wide receivers doing a much better job of running crisp accurate routes.


However, this is the preseason.  Defenses are not generally rotating zones or using their most unique blitz packages against the team.  On the other side of that coin, the Browns are showing a very small percentage of their O package as well.  When I see the team have the same level of success in the regular season I will feel much better about the chances of this team to score through the air.


Gordon has looked good.  But the biggest jump in both route running and catching the ball has come from TE Cameron.  In the Lions game he was explosive and dependable.  The team needs him to continue to improve in both those areas.  Little still has concentration issues catching the ball in traffic.  All the running backs except Marecic seem to be able to catch the ball.


The running game is not working at all.  The yardage that the backs have gotten has been due to their ability to break tackles or find unplanned holes in the D.  On almost every play the runner is hit at or behind the line.  That is caused by a lack of run blocking.  Marecic is useless at FB.  Ogbonnaya tries hard and at least knows who to block.  But he does not have the strength to be an effective FB.


The line is hampered by injury.  However, much of the Turner O depends on play action.  Unless the team can run effectively, no linebacker will respond to play action.  The line needs to get much better at driving the defenders out of the holes.  If not Weeden will face nickel and dime defenses every play.


Reserve O:

Campbell looked very good in both games and has solidified his spot as the #2 QB.  Fans can rest much easier knowing they have a legitimate backup for Weeden.  The second unit that played last night was in part the 3rd unit due to injuries to 2 guards.  They held up OK against the 2nd and 3rd D guys of the Lions pass rush but also struggled to block the run.


1st team Defense:

The D was outstanding against a good Lion O.  It forced three consecutive 3 and outs and gave up a single first down before forcing a 4th straight punt.  The pass rush was good but not overwhelming.  The Lions were without their star WR Johnson.  The D did a good job controlling RB Bush on most plays.  The game was highlighted by improved pass coverage.  The linebackers were doing a very good job covering TEs and RBs.  That is critical given the desire to blitz a lot.  The deep coverage was much better as well although the Lions did not throw deep often.


The D did not do as well against the run.  There was still some run leakage that needs to be cleaned up for the regular season.


Reserve D:

The second and third units did OK.  Those teams gave up yardage but holding the Lions to two field goals was outstanding.  The Browns will win a lot of games if the D can hold opponents to 6 points.  Several players stood out during the later parts of the game.  They will become critical should the D suffer injuries like the O has so far this season.


Injuries are an issue:

OG Lauvao was already out with a serious injury.  That issue was compounded by the injury to his replacement OG Pinkston who will be out 4 or more weeks with a high ankle sprain.  RB Lewis had enjoyed a great preseason but was lost with a broken bone in the leg which will keep him out for at least 4 weeks.  OLB Mingo was hospitalized with a bruised lung.



The game was a confirmation of the win last week against the Rams.  Both teams are expected to win 8 or 9 games this year.  It shows how much good coaching can help a team improve and succeed.  To the win starved Browns fans it was something to be celebrated.  But the injuries put a bit of a cloud over the Sun this morning.



That’s what I think.  Tell me what you think.


Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at  Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts.  You can hear the previous shows on

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To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.


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