Now that's how you like to see it done.
The Cleveland Browns treated the second preseason game as their dress rehearsal game as Brandon Weeden, the rest of the starting offense, and most of the starting defense played the entire first half of action. The Packers' starters (those who were healthy) only played for about a quarter, but it's still good to have your first-teamers get some reps with the pads on in live action.
Things didn't seem to start too well for the Browns, though. They received the opening kickoff, and on the first offensive play, RB Montario Hardesty fumbled the ball, setting QB Aaron Rodgers up with great field position. On third down, despite solid coverage by CB Joe Haden, WR Jordy Nelson made an excellent catch for a touchdown, giving Green Bay a 7-0 lead with only a minute having gone by in the game. After that, it was all Cleveland, as they ripped off 32 unanswered points en route to a 35-10 victory.
The first half belonged to kicker Phil Dawson, who connected on kicks of 53, 47, and 52 yards, before missing a 56 yarder just before the half. Most of those drives were set up by the defense getting good field position, combined with a couple of nice runs and throws by Hardesty and Weeden, respectively. Cleveland's first-half touchdown came on the first play of the second quarter -- a one-yard run by Hardesty. It was set up by the final play of the first quarter, which was a 3rd-and-6 connection from Weeden to Greg Little for 24 yards. Cleveland was outstanding on third downs against the Packers, converting 10 out of 18 tries.
On the Packers' first drive of the second half, backup QB Graham Harrell threw an interception (due to his receiver falling down). S David Sims made the pick and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown, giving Cleveland a 23-7 lead. Colt McCoy got one drive in the third quarter, but it was well-executed -- about seven minutes, covering 75 yards, and being capped off by a one-yard touchdown run by RB Brandon Jackson, formerly of the Packers. That gave Cleveland a 30-7 lead. On Green Bay's next series, the Browns got to Harrell for a safety, giving them a 32-7 advantage. The Packers added a field goal in the fourth quarter, but the Browns tacked on another before the end of play to make it 35-10.
If you did not get the Cleveland television broadcast with Bernie Kosar, then you missed a classic. Hearing him rip Packers backup quarterback Graham Harrell to shreds over and over and over and over again is something I could listen to all day. If you can get clips of that, listen to it.
I'll have more in my full game review Friday or Saturday. For now, here are some stats:
QB Brandon Weeden: 12-of-20 for 118 yards
RB Montario Hardesty: 12 carries, 45 yards, 1 TD
WR Greg Little: 4 catches, 45 yards
LB L.J. Fort: 3 tackles, 1 assist
The Browns had three interceptions, one each from LB James-Michael Johnson, CB Emanuel Davis, and S David Sims.
The Browns improved to 2-0 this preseason, while the Packers dropped to 0-2. The only injury to note is that CB Trevin Wade, who was having another nice game, was carted off the field with some form of an injury.