NFL Preseason: Cleveland Browns 18, Chicago Bears 16

Chud BearsSpencer Lanning.

Who would have thought that Lanning would be the hero of the fourth preseason game? Coming into camp, Lanning was competing with T.J. Conley for the punting  job. After Conley was cut, it appeared that Lanning had won the job. This week the Browns claimed punter Colton Schmidt. The advantage Schmidt has on Lanning is that he can kick-off. Supposedly booming kick-offs.

Thursday night however, the advantage was Spencer Lanning’s. Lanning was pressed into duty as the emergency place kicker after Shayne Graham’s back tightened up and he wasn’t able to play. All the punter did was kick two of three field goal attempts, including the game winner with 3:15 left in the fourth quarter. Lanning punted twice with a 52 yard average. Schmidt punted once for 49 yards, pinning the Bears inside the 10 yard line.

Brian Hoyer went all four quarters for the Browns as Jason Campbell was held out with the flu. He completed 24 of 35 passes for 307 yards and a touchdown. He threw two interceptions.

David Nelson did not start the game, but played and was targeted 10 times. He made four receptions for 54 yards. He had a couple of slips and a dropped a sure first down on a slant. He seemed to cramp late in the game. Nelson was making his preseason debut for the Browns after being held out with leg injuries. Nelson tore his ACL in the first game of the season last year playing for the Buffalo Bills and underwent surgery. He has had other leg issues in camp missing the majority of action during practice.

Tori Gurley made three catches for 56 yards and contributed on special teams in his attempt to make the team. Fourth team tight end Dan Gronkowski caught a 14 yard touchdown pass.

Defensively, the Browns started slow. Chicago jumped out to 10-0 lead early in the second quarter. The Bears racked up 77 yards on 17 carries in the first half, with most of those yards coming right up the middle. They recovered in the second half, holding the Bears to a pair of field goals.

Quentin Groves started and was clearly the best player on the field during his snaps. He finished with a pair of tackles, one sack, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit. L.J. Fort and Tank Carder got to the Bears quarterback to split a sack, new acquisition Paul Hazel made a sack and Brian Sanford forced an intentional grounding penalty. Armonty Bryant put pressure on the quarterback as well, and forced a fumble late in the game to set up Lanning’s winning field goal.

James Michael-Johnson caught a pass that was tipped right to him and raced down the sideline for a 23 yard interception return for a touchdown.

The win gives the Browns their first 3-1 record in the preseason since 2007. The Browns were 10-6 that season and just missed the playoffs. Ten wins.

(Crosses fingers.)

  • Jason Hurley

    They played 17 games in 2007 and missed the playoffs?


    Color me unimpressed with David Nelson. I get that he’s coming off an injury, but he looked extremely tentative and/or disinterested at times. There are other guys on the roster that can help more than he can, IMHO, and for less money.

  • MrCleaveland

    Agree wholeheartedly about Nelson. Yeah, he’s got an excuse, but he did not look like a guy you can count on.

    Bademosi has got to learn to tackle or we’re in for a long year. There were other DBs who were just as bad, but they probably won’t be around next week.

    Hoyer missed some throws he shouldn’t have, but overall he looked good in the pocket and he put some zip on the ball. Pretty impressive for a third-stringer.

    Phil Dawson never “tightened up” before a game.

    Brian Sanford was a beast. Hope he makes the team.

  • Harv 21

    “Phil Dawson never ‘tightened up’ before a game.”

    My early leader for Browns comment of the season.

  • maxfnmloans

    Because he is a Joe Banner signing, I don’t think it matters. Looked to me like he played a bit tentatively (which is understandable) but it also looked like he knew he didn’t need to worry about “making” the team.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Obviously he looked bad, but I don’t think he seemed disinterested; just frustrated with himself. I think that give him another week or two and he’ll actually be quite good. He had no problem with getting open most plays, he just couldn’t keep his footing (explained well by Bernie, who explained everything well – wow) and seemed to be trying too hard.

  • Harv 21

    The fact that I neither watched nor remembered to DVR this completely meaningless exhibition game provides a sliver of hope that my life has some reasonable balance. [Throws arms up in triumph while humbly lowering head].

  • MrCleaveland

    Ha haaaa, for a while I thought you wouldn’t be the only one. I waited all day yesterday for Rick’s “What I’m Watching” column and eventually concluded that he wouldn’t be watching anything (although obviously he did).

  • MrCleaveland

    D’OH! There it is! I just saw it in the queue. How the heck did I miss that?

    Never mind.

  • mgbode


    Bring on the Dolphins!!!!

  • mgbode

    I managed to escape the entire NFL preseason without watching more than a play here and a play there for the whole thing (when highlights or games happened to be on whereever I was).

    It’s a beautiful thing. Avoided SC (only Baseball Tonight on that channel) and watched a ton of the MLB races. Good times.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Sanford was pissed they tried to trade him but I can’t see him making the team to many DL.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I have actually watched a few games all be it 49er and Patriots preseason games on NFL Network. Not entire games mind you but snippets. The greedy NFL needs to reduce the 4 game preseason schedule.

  • arnold_palmer

    I was going to say that he would of made 3 of 3…

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Yea rah oh I can’t wait for it to all become official! 😉