2013 Opponents Preview: Detroit Lions

Posted Jun 24, 2013

As the 2013 season approaches, looks at the Browns’ regular-season opponents. Today, we highlight the Oct. 13, home game against the Detroit Lions.

Browns vs. Lions -- Sunday, Oct. 13 -- 1:00 p.m. ET


For the first time since Oct. 23, 2005, the Cleveland Browns will host the Detroit Lions on Sunday, Oct, 13, and they will be looking to break a two-game, 12-year regular-season losing streak to their NFC North Division counterparts.

When the Browns and Lions last met in the regular season, Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford threw a last-second touchdown pass, and the extra point gave his team a 38-37 victory at Ford Field.

Despite Stafford suffering a shoulder injury on an incompletion in the end zone as time expired, a pass-interference penalty and Browns timeout allowed him to re-enter the game and throw the winning touchdown.

After a playoff appearance following the 2011 season, the Lions were unable to make back-to-back postseason tournaments and fell back to fourth place in the NFC North with a 4-12 record despite passing for the second-most yards per game and gaining the third-most overall yards in the NFL last year.


As a team, the Lions held a nearly three-minute advantage in time of possession, converted more first downs (382 to 305), and outgained opponents (6,540 to 5,458), including a 4,927 to 3,569-yard advantage in the passing game. However, Detroit threw 17 interceptions and lost 10 more fumbles than it recovered from the opponents last fall.

Stafford completed 435 of 727 attempts (59.8 percent) for 4,967 yards for 20 touchdowns against 17 interceptions despite being sacked 29 times for 212 lost yards.

Veteran wide receiver Calvin Johnson was Stafford’s favorite target and hauled in 122 passes for an NFL record 1,964 yards and five touchdowns, while Brandon Pettigrew (59 catches for 567 yards and three touchdowns) and Joique Bell (52, 485) proved to be solid targets when Stafford couldn’t deliver the ball to the Lions’ top pass-catcher.

When the offense stayed grounded, running back Mikel LeShoure rushed for 798 yards and nine touchdowns on 215 carries, and Bell added 414 yards and three touchdowns on 82 attempts. Stafford proved to be mobile, having rushed for 126 yards and four scores on 35 carries.

Defensively, Stephen Tulloch and Justin Durant each eclipsed the 100-tackle mark in 2012. Durant led the way with 82 solo stops, and Tulloch paced the team with 112 total tackles.

Now former Lions defensive lineman Cliff Avril registered a team-best 9.5 quarterback sacks, and eight of Ndamukong Suh’s 35 total tackles were on opposing quarterbacks. Coupled with Kyle Vanden Bosch and Nick Fairley, the defensive line accounted for 26.5 of Detroit’s 34 sacks.

On special teams, the Lions will look to replace kicker Jason Hanson, who converted 32 of 36 field-goal attempts, including 16 of 19 from between 40 and 49 yards and two of three of at least 50.

Returner Stefan Logan ran back 33 punts for an average of 9.1 yards per attempt, and gained 597 yards on 28 kickoffs.


Key Additions: Re-signed safety Louis Delmas, tackle Corey Hilliard, cornerback Chris Houston, and linebacker DeAndre Levy; Signed defensive lineman C.J. Mosley (from Jacksonville), and kicker David Akers (from San Francisco).

Key Losses: Defensive end Cliff Avril (to Seattle), tackle Gosder Cherilus (to Indianapolis), defensive tackle Sammie Hill (to Tennessee), cornerback Drayton Florence (to Carolina), and Hanson (to retirement).

Draft: The Lions addressed all three phases of the game with their nine picks in the 2013 NFL Draft. After selecting defensive end Ziggy Ansah (first round) and cornerback Darius Slay (second), the Lions chose offensive lineman Larry Warford (third) before taking end Devin Taylor (fourth) and punter Sam Martin (fifth). The Lions spent three of their final four picks on offensive players, wide receiver Corey Fuller (sixth), running back Theo Riddick (sixth) and tight end Michael Williams (seventh), and ended the draft by choosing inside linebacker Brandon Hepburn.

Familiar Faces:

Browns defensive lineman Kendrick Adams spent nearly two months on the Detroit’s practice squad last season.

Tight end Dan Gronkowski was selected by the Lions in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He caught one pass for four yards in two career games in Detroit.

Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton was the Lions’ secondary coach from 2002-03, while outside linebackers coach Brian Baker coached Detroit’s defensive line from 1997-2000.

Browns defensive line coach Joe Cullen served in the same capacity with the Lions from 2006-08, and defensive quality control coach Daron Roberts was Detroit’s assistant secondary coach from 2009-10.

Cleveland offensive line coach Mike Sullivan served in the same capacity at Western Michigan University from 2005-06, and special teams coordinator Chris Tabor coached Western’s special teams and running backs from 2006-07.

Browns tight end Kellen Davis is a native of Adrian, Mich., and graduate of Michigan State University.

Lions head coach Jim Schwartz began his career with the Browns in 1995 as a college/pro scout.

Lions guard Rob Sims (Macedonia/Nordonia High School/Ohio State) is an Ohio native, and fellow guard Bill Nagy went to Hudson High School.

Former Browns defensive back Don Carey (2009), quarterback Thaddeus Lewis (2011-12), Mosley (2011) and wide receiver Brian Robiskie (2009-11) now play for the Lions. Carey (sixth round) and Robiskie (second) were selected by the Browns in the 2009 NFL Draft.

Robiskie caught 39 passes for 441 yards and three touchdowns in three years with the Browns, while Lewis started one game for the team last year, and completed 22 of 32 attempts for 204 yards and one touchdown with one interception against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 30, 2012.


The Browns are 4-14-0 all-time against the Lions in the regular season, 3-5-0 in games played in Cleveland, and suffered a 13-10 setback in their last home game against Detroit.

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