NFL Preseason: Cleveland Browns 27, St. Louis Rams 19

The Browns warm-up before their preseason game against the Rams
The Browns warm-up before their preseason game against the Rams

The Browns warm-up before their preseason game against the Rams

The Browns opened up preseason Thursday night with a strong performance against the St. Louis Rams, and most importantly stayed healthy doing it.

Brandon Weeden was sharp, completing 10 of 13 passes for 112 yards and a two yard touchdown pass to Dion Lewis. He led the Browns on scoring drives in both of his series under center. The opening drive included a 21 yard pass to Josh Gordon over the middle, a third down completion to Davone Bess to keep the drive going and a 14 yard pass to Greg Little who leaped up to catch a ball deflected off Jordan Cameron’s hands. It ended with a Brandon Bogotay 25 yard field goal.

“I thought we looked pretty good.” Weeden said of the first drive. “We maneuvered well, we didn’t have any penalties, we didn’t do anything to move backwards. We were moving forward. We got some first downs and put together a nice scoring drive. For the first game out without seeing tape, I think we did some good things.”

In Weeden’s second possession, he hit Dion Lewis on a screen pass for 16 yards and found a crossing Jordan Cameron for a big 30 yard run and catch. On third and goal Weeden lined up in the shotgun and hit Lewis out of the backfield for a touchdown.

Coach Rob Chudzinski was pleased with Weeden’s performance. “I thought he did a good job. He was efficient and led us to some drives. Ultimately, doing that is what his job is all about.”

Dion Lewis, starting for Trent Richardson rushed five times for 12 yards and caught three passes for 22 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Jackson ran 11 times for 32 yards.

The starting defense held the Rams in check for the most part, forcing a fumble on their first drive. The fumble was forced by Phil Taylor who chopped the arm of running back Isaiah Pead on a run to the left. Buster Skrine was the Brown who dove on the loose ball. On St. Louis’ second possession, Cleveland held the Rams to a three and out.

Travis Benjamin took advantage of his speed in his first punt return opportunity. Benjamin took the booming punt at the nine and escaped to his left and down the sideline with a key block from rookie Barkevious Mingo. Once outside Benjamin had an escort down the field and into the end zone.

“I saw an open opportunity.” Benjamin said of the punt return. “Once I knew I had the edge, I trust my guys blocking for me. I knew if I got the edge, it would be a quick touchdown.”

Brandon Weeden was impressed with Benjamin’s return. “Freaky fast. That guy has a lot of ability.” The high praise from Weeden continued, “If he gets a crease then watch out, he’s one of the fastest guys I’ve ever been around.”

St. Louis got on the board in the second quarter with a five play, 83 yard drive. The big play was a Sam Bradford pass deep to WR Chris Givens who had beaten Trevin Wade on the play covering 59 yards.

Jason Campbell took over for Brandon Weeden in the second quarter and led the offense on a 12 play, 61 yard drive culminating in a Shayne Graham 41 yard field goal. Campbell scrambled for 12 yards on a third down play during the drive. Campbell’s second drive was a three and out after an 11 yard sack. Campbell finished six of seven for 37 yards.

The Rams were able to get a late second quarter field goal to make the game Cleveland 20, St. Louis 10 at the half.

The second half was much more sloppy as can be imagined. Brian Hoyer took over at quarterback for the Browns.

Rookie Barkevious Mingo played well into the third quarter, getting pressure on the quarterback several times. He was credited with a pair of quarterback hits and had a sack negated by a penalty.

Brian Hoyer found a wide open Cordell Roberson for a touchdown with just over three minutes left in the game. Hoyer finished the game 10 of 14 for 100 yards and a touchdown pass. The Browns as a team completed 76% of their passes for the game for 249 yards and a pair of touchdown passes.

The Rams came right back with a quick touchdown of their own, but missed the two point conversion.

St. Edwards grad Justin Staples picked off a St. Louis pass after being deflected at the line of scrimmage by Hall Davis. The Rams had one more shot for a tie, but Kellen Clemens’ desperation heave was intercepted in the end zone by Justin Cole.

The final score was Cleveland 27, ST. Louis 19.

(Photo: Rick Grayshock for WFNY)

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Brought my daughter to her first game tonight, and she had a ball.

    The bad first: the horrible idea that to get on an escalator to the upper deck involves going out and halfway around the stadium and back in a line is idiotic. I ended up having to make a seven year old walk the ramp after walking from where we parked. The $6 soda at the top made her happy,but not me. This made us miss the browns first drive, too.

    Browns secondary (especially backups) looked bad. It is obvious they’re going to have little help, so that’s certainly a factor when combined with the vanilla pass rush, but how can you keep letting WRs get behind you in the 4th up a score or two? Is that bad coaching or why these guys will not make the team? Starters were decent not great.

    Kickers and punters are inconsistent, but otherwise special teams looked amazing both ways.

    Hoyer looked bad even though his numbers were good. He threw ugly balls and got bailed out by nice catches. The TD was wide open and fluttered there.

    That’s all the bad, which is awesome.

    Everyone else can cover the good, so just a couple small points:

    At no point did I think that everyone knew what was coming or that a bad play call was made… and it’s crazy that that’s a big deal, but that was so comforting.

    Lewis looks great with room, not so much without. I thought the postgame comparison to sproles was apt. Brandon Jackson is the opposite – not a game breaker but a solid back who can get a couple yards when nothing’s there.

    The backup WRs looked solid. Good routes and separation, good hands. Nice to have depth!

    Even vanilla got consistent pressure. Mingo looked like a he’s just a couple months away from being great. You see his freakish athleticism and he’d get some nice rushes and tied up on others, but never stopped which was cool. Both lines looked great all day.

    Staples and Cole both had a few nice plays and may make the team from it. Same with those WRs.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I’m excited to see Mingo rotating in late in the game when the other team’s offensive line is breathing heavy. He’s got such a ridiculous motor… they’re really going to hate him.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    Loved this game! Loved seeing actual depth out of WR Corps. Thought our line play was pretty good on offense and our starter were solid on defense. While our second string (and slightly beyond) D-line guys made some big plays…I saw a lot of running yards come against those guys too.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    Mingo in the rotation (period) will do wonders for this team. If he gets the start, then he wears them out for the next guy in line. Really liking the potential of the depth we have here in our Front 7.

  • JK

    Need clips/gifs/videos.. missed the game 🙁

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I didn’t get to see much of it… the sports bars in my area were’t able to get the feed for the game, so I ended up having to watch the coverage from NFL Network. They did a pretty decent job of showing the first units for the Browns/Rams, but abandoned them after the 2nd units came in.

  • steve-o

    I was very fortunate to get free tickets to this game, and brought my nephews. Getting off the express way, driving that last half mile, finding a parking spot, herding ourselves into a half full stadium and finally to our upper deck seats took 40 mins. I do not want to know what that experience would have been like for a full stadium (unless I get free tickets again, then yeah, i’d be willing to find out).

    People are getting better at begging for money. One guy had a sign that said, “Why lie, I need beer money.” I almost gave him a quarter.

    The halftime show at any local high school is much more interesting than anything the browns do. It felt like they were trying to coax us to the concession stands. Perhaps they should take turns allowing the local high schools to put on the half time shows. It would be a big improvement.

    $7.50 for a can of low grade beer is highway robbery.

    We have a couple of nice, big TV screens, which are barely used for much more than showing a few replays, and often not the ones you really want to see.

    The team overall looked fast and organized. Mingo is very quick for a 3-4 OLB and can bring it. I have visions of him tracking down a scrambling Rothlisberger for a huge loss. Sheard looks like a natural 3-4 OLB. It’s hard to believe that Bademosi has just started playing safety. He made some mistakes but also had good plays, and at times looked like a faster TJ Ward. Josh Gordon missed a block that would have sprung Jackson for a touchdown. He is probably being lectured about it as we speak. Dion Lewis was nearly decapitated, and the refs somehow missed it. When the blitz does not succeed, our corners are going to be absolutely abused, especially on the outside. Our failure to sign a veteran #2 corner is going to drive me nuts all season. Bradford throws a very good ball, but has no one to catch it. He threw some passes that I doubt Weeden could. Speaking of Weeden, he looked a lot more poised than last year, but he has some obvious deficiencies. I don’t think he’ll ever be able to throw a fade pass, or really anything that requires both touch and accuracy. But if not asked to do anything special, he could be effective for this team. Our WR’s are light years ahead of last year at this time. We have got to use Benjamin a lot more than we did last year. He is by far the fastest guy on this team (one of the fast in the NFL, for that matter) and has the look of a big time playmaker. Our backup TE was wide open for a deep ball but instead of completing his route he simply watched the ball sail over his head. If Cameron goes down with an injury, we are screwed.

  • Harv 21

    Only was able to see some of the first few series, but did Weeden take any shots downfield? Understood that Norv wants him to get settled with some safe passes, but kind of expected at least one chance to open the throttle with a go route. Or maybe I missed it.

    Re the Cameron/Gordon completion: for gosh sakes, the last thing a TE should ever do is let the ball boing 15′ vertically off your hands. Because by definition there’s DBs behind you to pick it off. And Josh’s 4 foot leap and ball hungry fingers make me just about wanna weep over his 10 cent head. If they ever invent a pill to make you mature, he’ll probably grab it and swallow it. So that’s a happy thought to hold on to.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    (It was Greg Little who made that catch, but otherwise you’re on a good roll!)

  • Jaker

    NFL network 7am tomorrow is the entire game replay

  • JK

    Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. Don’t got it.

  • Harv 21

    It was Greg Little? I celebrate how his new-found work ethic translates into on-field results.

    [slinks away with furtive sideways glances]

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Shake it off Harv, it happens to the best of us (that wouldn’t include me, I’m somewhere just about “the worst”).

  • Harv 21

    if it ever happens to you it will be worthy of a “While We’re Waiting” link.

  • nice write-up, gracias.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    STO rebroadcast the game last night. Not sure if they’ll show another replay.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    It’s all the number changes that confused you.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    You’re more than “just above” me. It’s all good! 😉

  • Vindictive_Pat

    You guys are making me blush.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Reminds me – the TV screens on the walkways are horribly placed inside the concessions. That means that if you have to go to the bathroom or want to get something, the entire time you’re walking you’d have to stop and try to see into a small screen in the concession just to see what’s going on. Those TVs should be moved so you can easily see them while walking, and not distract people as they make their orders. Keep people moving!