Lewis impresses in debut

Posted Dec 30, 2012

PITTSBURGH -- Quarterback Thaddeus Lewis impressed his teammates and coach in his NFL debut against the Steelers Sunday.

PITTSBURGH -- Cleveland Browns quarterback Thaddeus Lewis had never taken a regular-season snap in his three-year NFL career, but that changed in Sunday’s 24-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.

Lewis made his first career NFL start in place of rookie Brandon Weeden and third-year veteran Colt McCoy, both of whom missed the game because of right-shoulder injuries that were sustained in last Sunday’s loss at the Denver Broncos.

In his first NFL start, Lewis completed 22 of 32 passes for 204 yards with a touchdown and an interception before leaving the game following a hit to the back late in the fourth quarter.

“To be 22 of 32 for over 200 yards, he showed what I knew he had in him back in the days in St. Louis,” said Browns coach Pat Shurmur, who coached Lewis during his time as the Rams’ offensive coordinator. “This is the first time he’s really had a chance to play and I thought he played extremely well.”

Lewis’ teammates shared Shurmur’s assessment.

“I was very impressed,” tight end Benjamin Watson said. “It started on Wednesday in practice. He came in and may have had a little bit of nerves, but he took control of the huddle. He made the throws, was very good with his decisions. He made the calls in the huddle and was able to get the ball out fast. He commanded the offense today.”

Running back Brandon Jackson added, “How he took control of the offense, the huddle, the play-calling, he is an NFL quarterback.”

Before leaving the game, Lewis was able to complete passes to seven different receivers. Watson led the way with seven catches for 64 yards and Greg Little caught a touchdown pass from Lewis.

With 11:03 remaining in the third quarter, the Browns faced a second-and-goal from Pittsburgh’s seven-yard line. Lewis took the snap from center Alex Mack and dropped back to pass. When his initial options were covered by the Steelers’ defense, Lewis rolled to his left and found Little along the back line of the end zone for the touchdown. After releasing the pass, Lewis was hit by Steelers linebacker James Harrison, which resulted in a 15-yard penalty on the veteran defender.

“Thaddeus has that soft, Florida swagger about him,” Little said. “He always is very well composed in any type of situation. Oftentimes, I joke about this, but playing at Duke, he was the underdog quite a few times. He is very well composed.”

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