The Browns' defense got off to a great start against a Lions offense that decided to sit wide receiver Calvin Johnson, despite the fact that he did not have an injury. The defense forced three consecutive three-and-outs in the first quarter, frustrating quarterback Matthew Stafford to no end.
Offensively, things got off to a nice start after a couple of big runs by RB Trent Richardson, but quickly turned sour when starting right guard Jason Pinkston went down and had to leave with what is being called an ankle injury. The Browns are already without right guard Shawn Lauvao, and had to insert rookie Garrett Gilkey into the game. At the end of that particular drive, Cleveland sent rookie kicker Brandon Bogotay out on to the field to drill a 43-yard field goal, giving the Browns a 3-0 lead.
On their next series, quarterback Brandon Weeden dropped a pass into the bucket of wide receiver Josh Gordon for a 34-yard gain to get down into the red zone. Two plays later, Weeden drilled tight end Jordan Cameron on a high pass over the middle for a 10-yard touchdown, increasing Cleveland's lead to 10-0.
At the end of the first quarter, wide receiver Travis Benjamin returned a punt for a touchdown for the second straight week, but it was called back due to a holding penalty by cornerback Joe Haden. No worries. The Browns decided to quickly put together a 91-yard drive under Weeden, again capped off with a touchdown pass from Weeden-to-Cameron, this time from 5 yards out. The Browns led 17-0 against a first-team defense, just like they did against the Rams a week earlier.
The Lions finally put together a drive to close out the first half, but still had to settle for a 48-yard field goal by David Akers against the Browns' first-team defense. Weeden's night was over, and Jason Campbell and the second-team offense came in to finish off the rest of the half, with the score remaining 17-3 Browns.
Detroit added another field goal in the third quarter to make it 17-6 Browns. Cleveland's offense was relatively quiet for the third quarter, but got things going to start the fourth quarter when Campbell hit running back Brandon Jackson for a 14-yard touchdown, making it 24-6 Cleveland. The defense continued holding strong as Brian Hoyer came in to quarterback the rest of the fourth quarter.
Hoyer couldn't muster any points, and former Browns quarterback Thaddeus Lewis entered late for the Lions to try to run a two-minute drill. The Browns played soft defense, but there wasn't enough time for Lewis to muster any points. That was all she wrote.
The bad takeaway from this game is the injury factor. We already mentioned Pinkston, but also leaving the game were OLB Barkevious Mingo (rib), RB Dion Lewis (ankle), TE Gary Barnidge (shoulder), and K Brandon Bogotay (groin).
What were your instant thoughts on the game and how Cleveland played?