People questioned the Cleveland Browns' defense due to injuries to players like Phil Taylor and Chris Gocong. People were optimistic and excited about seeing Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson, the two players the front office invested in during April's draft, make their debut. What resulted was a 17-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in which the defense was very good and the offense was...abysmal.
I understand that a quarterback can look like a rookie, but Weeden was worse than that against the Eagles. In a game in which he did not face a ton of pressure, he missed several open receivers badly and finished the game 12-of-35 for 118 yards and 4 interceptions. Richardson was not very effective running the ball, having 19 carries for 39 yards, but it was Weeden's turnovers that prevented Cleveland from coming away with a win in Week 1.
The Browns faced a 10-3 deficit at halftime, but Cleveland's defense kept making plays. They forced five turnovers, one of them being a fumble and four of them being interceptions. Michael Vick's final interception went to linebacker D'Qwell Jackson near the beginning of the fourth quarter, putting Cleveland ahead 16-10. After the Eagles missed a field goal on their next drive, Cleveland's next drive stalled again, but Reggie Hodges was able to pin the Eagles' offense back. On a drive that included a near fumble and a near game-sealing interception, Philadelphia still prevailed: they drove the ball 88 yards on 15 plays, resulting in a touchdown to put them up 17-16 with just over a minute to go.
Cleveland's hopes technically weren't over since they still had a timeout and only needed a field goal. Unfortunately, Weeden threw his final interception of the game on his first pass of the drive. It wasn't even close to the intended receiver, and that was it. Sorrow. Misery. Rinse and repeat.
I'm very disappointed with Weeden's performance, because this is not the level of incompetence I expected. In the long run, though, we need to stay focused as fans. For as bad as Weeden was, you don't give up on the quarterback you committed to after his first game as a rookie. Hopefully Weeden is humble about this, re-gathers himself, and comes back with a better performance next week against the Bengals.
At least we know the defense can bring it.