The game means a lot for the second- and third-stringers looking to make the Browns’ 53-man roster or another roster around the league, but there wasn’t a lot of efficiency early on. Cleveland managed a 36-yard field goal in the second quarter by K Austin Seibert; other than that, their only threat to really get in scoring range was when QB Garrett Gilbert looked deep for WR Ishmael Hyman, but the rookie receiver dropped it.
Cleveland’s defense pitched a shutout in the first half, but toward the end of the half, the offense was backed up and OL Travis Vornkahl committed a hold in the end zone, resulting in a safety and a 3-2 score. One big concern in the first half: although Cleveland recovered in each instance, RB D’Ernest Johnson and WR Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi each muffed punts.
After the latter muff, Gilbert had a chance to run the two-minute drill, and he found WR Derrick Willies for back-to-back catches of 36 and 10 yards to get into field goal range. A run by Gilbert got the Browns closer, and then on 1st-and-goal from the 7 yard line, Gilbert waited and found RB Dontrell Hilliard for a 7-yard touchdown pass, giving Cleveland a 10-2 lead at the half.
In the second half, QB David Blough took over the offense and promptly threw two interceptions. The first one set up a short field for the Lions, and their first touchdown of the game: a scramble on 1st-and-goal by QB Josh Johnson to make it a 10-9 game mid-way through the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Lions tried to take a lead with a 51-yard field goal, but it wasn’t even close. On the Browns’ next drive, Blough finally started connecting on some passes, and a 19-yard screen pass to RB Trayone Gray set the offense up in a goal-to-go situation. On 3rd-and-goal from the 2 yard line, Gray punched it in around the edge, giving Cleveland a 17-9 lead.
Seibert tacked on a 33-yard field goal to give Cleveland a 20-9 lead with just over three minutes to play. The Lions quickly marched down the field, thanks to a 52-yard pass play. After the two-minute warning, Johnson found TE Isaac Nauta for a 20-yard touchdown pass to make it a 20-16 game. The Browns had to punt back to the Lions with 0:36 left in the game and Detroit being out of timeouts. Cleveland ended the game with back-to-back sacks, and seven sacks total for the game.
- QB Garrett Gilbert: 13-of-24 for 117 yards, 1 TD. 1 rush, 11 yards.
- RB Dontrell Hilliard: 12 carries, 65 yards. 2 catches, 13 yards, 1 TD.
- WR Derrick Willies: 2 catches, 46 yards (3 targets).
- Sacks by DL Devaroe Lawrence (1), DE Chad Thomas (1), LB Ray-Ray Armstrong (1), DL Brandin Bryant (1), DL Jarrell Owens (1), LB Anthony Stubbs (1), DE Genard Avery (0.5), and DT Carl Davis (0.5). 7 sacks total.
Our 53-man roster projection is here.