These two teams just can't face each other in a low-scoring affair, can they? The Detroit Lions defeated the Cleveland Browns 35-27 in their third preseason game of the year, but there were still a lot of positives to take away from the game if you're a Cleveland fan. Most of those positives came on the offensive side of the ball, but I'll get to the specifics when I do my in-depth game recap. For now, let's get to the instant recap of how the scoring went down...
The Browns once again began a preseason game with the football and Jake Delhomme marched the team down the field for an eventual 35-yard field goal attempt from Phil Dawson. The drive saw a lot of different throws going to different receivers, but when the offense got inside the ten yard line, things got interesting. The Browns brought in backup quarterback Seneca Wallace on first down for two plays. It really didn't help the Browns move the ball very much, but it's the first time in a preseason game that the Browns have inserted Wallace into the offense before Delhomme was done for the night.
After Dawson connected on his field goal, Detroit rookie running back Jahvid Best bolted 51 yards on the Lions' first play of the game. Two plays later, Matthew Stafford hooked up with Bryant Johnson for a 7-yard touchdown pass. For all the work the Browns did to get a field goal, the Lions made things look much easier and quickly punched it in for the score, giving them a 7-3 lead.
That would be their final lead until late in the second half though. On the Lions' next drive, running back Kevin Smith was stripped of the football by Brian Schaefering. The ball literally scooted into the lap of Eric Wright, who took off 44 yards and a walk-in touchdown, giving Cleveland the 10-7 advantage. After forcing a quick punt, Delhomme marched the Browns' offense down the field again, but not before first overall pick Ndamukong Suh grasped his facemask and then threw him to the ground well after the ball had been thrown. The personal foul penalty allowed Delhomme to toss a touchdown pass to fullback Lawrence Vickers a few plays later.
Unfortunately, on the Browns' next offensive series, running back Jerome Harrison fumbled on the first play and the Lions ran the ball back for a touchdown to make it a 17-14 game toward the end of the first half. It wasn't a great game for Harrison again, who had 11 carries for 34 yards, 3 catches for -3 yards, and the coughed up touchdown.
With Peyton Hillis in the game for the hurry-up offense to close out the second half, the versatile running back was all over the place, eventually scoring on first-and-goal from the one on a handoff. That gave the Browns a 24-14 lead at halftime.
The Lions received the ball to start the second half and Stafford led his team right down the field again for a touchdown, channeling the same type of "shootout" feeling from when these two teams met last season. Although Delhomme had a great first half (20-of-25 for 152 yards and 1 touchdown), it was surprising that he didn't get a series in the third quarter. Instead, Seneca Wallace came in and led the Browns to one field goal over two drives.
Although the Browns' first-string defense didn't exactly shine, the second-string defense was so bad that it's kind of hard to believe. Lions running back Aaron Brown had two fourth quarter touchdowns to give the Lions the 35-27 lead. The Browns played Colt McCoy for a couple of series in the fourth quarter, and while the third-round rookie made a few better throws this week, the offensive line didn't give him enough time to throw again.
McCoy should receive some more reps against the Chicago Bears on Thursday as the Browns close out their preseason.