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2013 Opponents Preview: Miami Dolphins

Posted Jul 1, 2013

As the 2013 season approaches, ClevelandBrowns.com looks at the Browns’ regular-season opponents. Today, we highlight the regular-season opener on Sept. 8 against the Miami Dolphins.

Browns vs. Dolphins -- Sunday, Sept. 8 -- 1:00 p.m. ET

Storylines:

The Cleveland Browns will begin the 2013 NFL regular season with a game against the Miami Dolphins at FirstEnergy Stadium, Home of the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Sept. 8.

The opener against the Dolphins will mark the 14th time in the last 15 seasons that the Browns will begin the regular season at home. Previously, the Browns have hosted Miami in one home-opener, and the Dolphins won, 27-23, on Sept. 14, 1992.

The Browns’ 1992 opener against Miami was the last time they hosted an AFC East team in a home-opener.

“Our coaches and players are eagerly anticipating that opening kickoff against Miami as we continue to build our team this offseason,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said when the schedule was released. “Having four of our first six games at FirstEnergy Stadium will allow our fans to create a distinct home-field advantage for our team, and I expect the Dawg Pound to be barking early and often. Finishing the season with four divisional games over the final eight weeks, with three of our last four games on the road, will give us an exciting challenge that I know we will be ready to face.”

“Opening the regular season at home against the Dolphins will be great for our fans and our football team,” said Browns CEO Joe Banner. “We look forward to giving Browns fans a tremendous gameday experience every time they enter FirstEnergy Stadium in 2013, and for many years to come.”

The last two times the Browns and Dolphins shared a field, the games came down to the wire.

On Dec. 5, 2010, Cleveland defensive back Mike Adams intercepted a pass late in the fourth quarter that helped set up kicker Phil Dawson’s 14th career game-winning field goal in the fourth quarter or overtime. With Dawson’s kick, the Browns earned a 13-10 victory.

In the third game of the 2011 season, the Browns earned a 17-16 victory when wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Colt McCoy in the right corner of the East end zone with 43 seconds left to play.

Stats:

The Dolphins, who finished 7-9 overall and second in the AFC East Division last season, were outgained in first downs (320 to 288), total offensive yards (5,708 to 4,984) and passing yards (3,974 to 3,182), but held an edge in rushing yards (1,802 to 1,734). However, they also allowed their opponents to hold the ball an average of three more minutes per game and were minus-10 in the turnover ratio.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill completed 282 of 484 attempts (58.3 percent) for 3,294 yards and 12 touchdowns against 13 interceptions in his rookie season. He was sacked 35 times for 234 lost yards, but still carried a 76.1 quarterback rating.

Ohio native Brian Hartline -- Tannehill’s favorite target -- caught 74 passes for 1,083 yards and one touchdown.

Running back Reggie Bush rushed for 986 yards and six touchdowns on 227 attempts, all season highs for the Dolphins, while Daniel Thomas managed 325 yards and four touchdowns on 91 carries.

Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett set the tone defensively. Dansby registered 134 total tackles, 101 solo stops and 33 assists -- all Dolphins bests last season -- while Burnett collected 110 total stops and 80 solo takedowns.

Defensive end Cameron Wake led Miami with 15 sacks and tied with Sean Smith with a team-high three forced fumbles.

Reshad Jones led Miami with four interceptions. As a team, the Dolphins picked off 10 passes.

Punter Brandon Fields averaged 50.2 yards over 74 kicks, 29 of which landed inside the opponents’ 20-yard line.

Returner Marcus Thigpen averaged 12.2 yards over 26 punt returns and took one back for a touchdown. Thigpen doubled as a kick returner and returned 38 kickoffs for 1,040 yards with one score.

Transactions:

Key Additions: Signed wide receiver Mike Wallace (from Pittsburgh), linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (from Baltimore); Re-signed safety Chris Clemons, offensive lineman Nate Garner, Hartline and quarterback Matt Moore.

Key Losses: Left tackle Jake Long (to St. Louis), Bush (to Detroit), tight end Anthony Fasano (to Kansas City), and kicker Nate Kaeding (to Tampa Bay).

Draft: The Dolphins addressed the defensive side of the football with four of their first five picks in the 2013 NFL Draft. They selected defensive end Dion Jordon (first round), as well as cornerbacks Jamar Taylor (second) and Will Davis (third), and offensive tackle Dallas Thomas (third) on the first two days of the draft. Then, they chose outside linebacker Jelani Jenkins and tight end Dion Sims in the fourth round, as well as running back Mike Gillislee and kicker Caleb Sturgis in the fifth. The Dolphins rounded out their draft with strong safety Don Jones in the seventh round.

Familiar Faces:

Browns kicker Shayne Graham spent part of the 2011 season with and converted four of five field-goal attempts for the Dolphins.

Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner held the same position with the Dolphins from 2002-03.

Cleveland strength-and-conditioning coach Brad Roll was Miami’s assistant strength-and-conditioning coach from 1996-2003.

Browns tight end Gary Barnidge (Middleburg), wide receiver Travis Benjamin (Belle Glade), linebackers D’Qwell Jackson (Largo) and Jabaal Sheard (Hollywood Hills), defensive back Kent Richardson (Tallahassee), running back Trent Richardson (Pensacola), and defensive lineman Ahtyba Rubin (Pensacola) are Florida natives.

Browns defensive back Joe Haden and wide receiver David Nelson went to the University of Florida.

Browns coach Rob Chudzinski (University of Miami, 1994-2003), Roll (Miami, 1989/Miami Dolphins, 1996-2003), offensive coordinator Norv Turner (Miami Dolphins, 2002-03), and offensive line coach Mike Sullivan (Miami, 2001) all coached in Florida.

Chudzinski (1986-90) and Sullivan (1987-90) played for the University of Miami.

Dolphins defensive back Dimitri Patterson spent parts of two seasons with the Browns from 2011-12. In that time, he made five starts and played in 21 games.

Dolphins guard Chandler Burden (Hamilton), punter Brandon Fields (Toledo/St. John’s Jesuit High School), Hartline (North Canton/GlenOak), linebackers Jason Trusnik (Macedonia/Nordonia) and Austin Spitler (Dayton/Bellbrook), tight end Kyle Miller (Bowling Green/Elida), defensive back Julian Posey (Cincinnati/LaSalle), and safety Jordan Kovacs (Curtice) are Ohio natives.

Wide receivers Jasper Collins (University of Mount Union) and Armon Binns (University of Cincinnati), Miller (Mount Union), Hartline (The Ohio State University), Spitler (Ohio State), Trusnik (Ohio Northern University), and Posey (Ohio University) went to college in Ohio.

History:

In their history, the Browns are 8-7-0 against the Dolphins in the regular season, and carry a 6-4-0 mark in home games.