Browns vs. Eagles -- September 9 -- 1:00 p.m. ET
Two weeks after they travel to Cleveland Browns Stadium for a preseason game, the Philadelphia Eagles return to the north coast for the 2012 regular season opener.
The Browns have hosted the regular season opener every year except 2010 and their last opening weekend win was a 20-3 decision over the Baltimore Ravens in front of 73,068 fans at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Sept. 12, 2004.
The Eagles made a big splash in free agency prior to the 2011 season, but struggled to win games early in the year. Although they went just 1-4 over the season’s first five weeks, the Eagles finished 8-8 and in second place in the NFC East Division.
Philadelphia won a 34-31 overtime decision the last time the Browns and Eagles met in Cleveland on Oct. 24, 2004. The Eagles came in with a 5-0 record, while the Browns were 3-3 at the time of the last meeting in Cleveland and Philadelphia used the passing game to move the football and seal the win.
Then-Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb completed 28 of 43 attempts for 376 yards and four touchdowns against one interception. He completed four passes to Terrell Owens -- who gained 109 yards and scored two touchdowns -- and six more to Todd Pinkston -- who gained 100 yards on the day.
Dorsey Levens and Brian Westbrook combined for 91 yards on 20 carries.
Browns quarterback Jeff Garcia ran for a touchdown and completed 21 of 32 attempts for 236 yards with one touchdown and an interception. Running backs Lee Suggs (15 attempts, 78 yards, one touchdown) and
When the Browns last played the Eagles in the regular season, they traveled to Lincoln Financial Field for a Monday Night Football game on Dec. 15, 2008. The Browns had previously won twice on Monday Night Football in 2008, but came up short in a 30-10 setback to the Eagles.
When healthy, the Eagles had a dual-threat offense in 2011, one capable of running and passing the football with efficiency.
Quarterback Michael Vick completed 253 of 423 attempts for 3,303 yards and 18 touchdowns against 14 interceptions. However, he was sacked 23 times for 126 lost yards and missed time due to injury. In his absence, now former Eagles quarterback Vince Young completed 66 of 114 attempts for 866 yards and four touchdowns with nine interceptions.
When Vick and Young weren’t dropping back to throw the football, they were handing it off to running back LeSean McCoy. McCoy led the Eagles with 1,309 yards and 17 touchdowns on 273 carries. He also caught 48 passes for 315 yards and three scores. Vick was the Eagles’ second-leading rusher with 589 yards and one touchdown on 76 carries.
Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (63 catches, 859 yards, five touchdowns) and tight end Brent Celek (62, 811, five) were Philadelphia’s leading receivers in terms of catches, while DeSean Jackson gained 961 yards and caught four touchdowns on 58 receptions.
Defensively, end Trent Cole made 44 tackles with 11 sacks, while fellow lineman Jason Babin set the pass-rushing tempo with 18 quarterback sacks.
Despite the Eagles winning the time of possession battle (31:20 to 28:34) in 2011, they struggled with turnovers. They were a minus-14 in turnovers, with 25 interceptions and double-digit lost fumbles.
General manager Tom Heckert spent nine years in the Eagles’ front office. Heckert was the Eagles’ general manager during his last four years in Philadelphia.
Browns coach Pat Shurmur’s first NFL coaching job came as the tight ends/offensive line coach with the Eagles (1999-2001) under the direction of Andy Reid. Shurmur later became Reid’s quarterbacks coach (2002-08) before moving on to be the St. Louis Rams’ offensive coordinator.
Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress was the quarterbacks coach (1999-2001) and offensive coordinator (1992-2005) for the Eagles, while defensive coordinator Dick Jauron mentored the Eagles’ defensive backs in 2010.
Ray Rhodes, the Browns’ senior assistant to the defense, was the head coach of the Eagles from 1995-98. He was the first coach in Philadelphia history to lead the team to the playoffs in each of his first two seasons and won the NFL Coach of the Year in 1995. Rhodes’ Eagles posted back-to-back 10-6 records in 1995 and 1996.
Browns quarterbacks coach Mark Whipple was the Eagles’ offensive assistant in 2008 and defensive backs coach Tim Hauck played in Philadelphia from 1999-2001.
Reid was an assistant for Browns president Mike Holmgren’s staff with the Green Bay Packers from 1992-98. Reid also served as a graduate assistant during Holmgren’s tenure as quarterbacks coach at Brigham Young University.
Eagles linebackers coach Mike Caldwell played linebacker for the Browns from 1993-95.
Philadelphia offensive line coach Howard Mudd served in the same capacity with the Browns from 1983-88, while secondary coach Todd Bowles coached with the Browns from 2001-04.
Eagles quarterbacks coach Doug Peterson quarterbacked for the Browns in 2000.
Philadelphia defensive lineman Phillip Hunt was signed by the Browns as an undrafted free agent in 2009 and offensive lineman Steve Vallos was a member of the Browns from 2010-2011.
Eagles centers Jason Kelce (Cleveland Heights High School/University of Cincinnati) and Steve Vallos (Youngstown), tight end Brett Celek (Cincinnati/University of Cincinnati), defensive back Kurt Coleman (Clayton/Ohio State University) and Trent Cole (Xenia/University of Cincinnati) are Ohio natives.
Philadelphia linebacker Brian Rolle played college football at The Ohio State University and wide receiver Mardy Gilyard was a Cincinnati Bearcat. Linebacker Monte Simmons played at Kent State.
The Browns are 31-15-1 all-time against the Eagles dating back to the first meeting between the teams, a 35-10 Cleveland win in Philadelphia on Sept. 16, 1950. The Browns hold a 17-6-1 record against the Eagles in home games.
The Browns are 1-3-0 in their last four home games against the Eagles.
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