Dolphins-Browns Final Score: Miami Wins Opener 23-10 Over Cleveland

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that's not how we had hoped things would go. The Cleveland Browns fell an unthinkably bad 1-14 in openers since 1999 with a 23-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

The Browns overhauled their coaching staff in the offseason, and although there were some bright spots defensively, several depth issues reared their ugly heads all game long. The first quarter didn't go well for Brandon Weeden, who tried hitting Travis Benjamin on a long pass on third down but was intercepted. Later in the quarter, the Dolphins kicked a field goal to go up 3-0.

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NOTE: We'll be talking about the Browns' loss tonight on DBN Radio at 8 PM EST. Be sure to tune in and vent your frustrations.

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Weeden threw two more interceptions in the second quarter, but the defense held strong, limiting Miami to just one more field goal, making it 6-0. The Browns put together a touchdown-scoring drive to close out the first half, as Weeden connected with Jordan Cameron on a 7-yard touchdown. The Browns led 7-6 heading into the half.

Mid-way through the third quarter, Ryan Tannehill threw his only touchdown of the game when he hit Brian Hartline on an out-and-up that fooled Buster Skrine for 34 yards. That made it 13-7 Miami, but Billy Cundiff hit a field goal for the Browns to finish off the third quarter.

The game was close to begin the fourth quarter, with the Browns down just 13-10. The Browns missed several opportunities offensively again, though, and finally, Miami put the game away with a 1-yard touchdown drive by Daniel Thomas. The Dolphins eventually won 23-10.

5 Quick Negatives

  1. What in the world did Oniel Cousins show the coaching staff that led them to believe he could fill in for Shawn Lauvao at right guard? Cousins had several costly penalties, and was also dominated by Miami's defensive line.
  2. The offensive line in general was terrible. Cameron Wake had 2.5 sacks and 6 quarterback hits going up against Mitchell Schwartz. The Dolphins had 6 sacks on the day and hit Brandon Weeden 16 times; he was under pressure for half of his snaps.
  3. After a strong camp and preseason, cornerbacks Buster Skrine and Chris Owens failed to come through against the Dolphins' receivers at crunch time.
  4. The 3rd-down efficiency on both sides of the ball was atrocious. The Dolphins converted 8-of-16 third downs (50%), while Cleveland converted just 1-of-14 (7%) third downs.
  5. Now we see just how much Josh Gordon means to this offense. The Browns tried to elevate the usage of Travis Benjamin offensively, but he wasn't physical enough to gain position, and when he did have a chance to break a big one, he dropped it. Greg Little had a couple of drops. Brandon Weeden threw three interceptions and was not very good, but the offensive struggles were more than just him struggling.

5 Quick Positives

  1. For what little we used Trent Richardson, he broke tackles and made the most out of things. His stat sheet still has him finishing with just 13 carries for 47 yards (3.6 average), which is surprising since this was a 13-10 game into the fourth quarter.
  2. Tight end Jordan Cameron lived up to the hype, catching 9 passes for 108 yards and 1 touchdown.
  3. Punter Spencer Lanning averaged 45.0 yards per punt and didn't have any shanks. He also pinned the Dolphins inside the 20 twice on five punts. It's not good that we're signaling out a punter for his success in a loss, though.
  4. The Browns' run defense was fabulous -- the Dolphins had 23 carries for 20 yards. Yes, that's right -- after one week, teams are averaging 0.9 yards per carry against the Browns.
  5. The offseason acquisitions were focused on improving the Browns' pass rush. Cleveland finished with 4 sacks, and all 4 of those came from free agent signings: two for Desmond Bryant, 1 for Paul Kruger, and 1 for Quentin Groves.

A bonus positive? Everyone in the AFC North lost, so we're still tied for first place in the division.

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