Browns have ‘ups and downs’ vs. Lions

Posted Aug 19, 2011

The warm, fuzzy feelings from the Cleveland Browns’ preseason-opening victory against the Super Bowl-champion Green Bay Packers didn’t last very long.


Six nights later, the Browns found themselves feeling somewhat frustrated about a mistake-filled performance that was more typical of a preseason game.


“A lot of people were ready to anoint us after last week,” quarterback Colt McCoy said after the Browns’ 30-28 loss to the Detroit Lions Friday night at Cleveland Browns Stadium. “Tonight, we faced a good front, a good football team, and we had our ups and downs for sure.”


The downs included a pair of fumbles by rookie running back Armond Smith that helped cause the Browns to squander a 28-13 third-quarter lead. Each turnover resulted in a Detroit touchdown as the Lions scored 17 unanswered points in the final two quarters. The downs also included a rash of penalties – 12 by the Browns for 88 yards and 14 by the Lions for 123 yards.


But there were some ups. Smith had an 81-yard touchdown run on the Browns’ first play from scrimmage in the third quarter to put the Browns in front, 28-13. And McCoy threw for three first-half touchdowns, two to tight end Evan Moore, who left the game after being “dinged,” according to Browns coach Pat Shurmur.


Shurmur was happy that the Browns’ starters were able to build a 21-13 advantage in the first half before exiting for the rest of the game. He was pleased to see his team go up by 15 points early in the second half.


“And then we really went to getting very sloppy,” said Shurmur whose club fell to 1-1 in the preseason. “When you look at it, numerous penalties and those two fumbles in the second half led directly to points. Those are killers. I told the guys (that) the guys that are in the game are in charge with winning the game, and you can’t be sloppy. You have to take care of the football and you can’t have penalties, because it gets you out of rhythm. It gets you behind as far as moving the football because you have long-yardage situations, so there’s a lesson in that. Fortunately it’s preseason.”


Shurmur did say he thought most of the mistakes were fixable.


“Every mistake that happens out there, you tend to see it and kind of correct it immediately,” Shurmur said. “I mean, one of the fumbles (by Smith), he was switching the ball in traffic, which is a no-so, so we’ll get that fixed. You don’t do that anymore.”


McCoy had a solid night. Although he faced strong pressure from the Lions and took some hard hits, he managed to complete 10 of 18 passes for 96 yards and finish with a passer rating of 110.2.


The Browns’ starting defense also did a decent job of applying consistent pressure to Lions starting quarterback Matthew Stafford, whose team improved to 2-0 in the preseason.


“We have a lot of work to do, that’s evident,” McCoy said. “But we’ll go back to the drawing board, get into the pads on Sunday and go back to work.”


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