The Cleveland Browns intercepted Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick four times in their 17-16 loss in the 2012 regular-season opener at Cleveland Browns Stadium Sunday afternoon and three of those takeaways belonged to the linebackers.
Punctuated by D’Qwell Jackson’s 27-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, the Browns registered a total of five turnovers on the day.
Jackson said a key to getting turnovers against the Eagles was through pressuring Vick.
“We watched a ton of film,” Jackson said. “We knew certain things we could take advantage of and once we started early, getting to him, I think it carried on throughout the game. Once he escaped the pocket, that’s when he made a ton of his plays and we kept him on the run. That’s what we tried to do throughout the game, put as much pressure on him as we could.”
Jackson registered the first interception return for a touchdown of his seven-year NFL career and somersaulted his way across the goal line for the score. Jackson’s interception gave the Browns a 16-10 lead with 13:59 remaining in regulation.
“All I knew was I was getting in the end zone and I wanted to get some flight on it,” Jackson said. “We were in cover two. Coach (Dick Jauron) talks a lot about while you’re dropping, read routes and Vick, not being the tallest of quarterbacks, he loses zone droppers occasionally. It was just a matter of me being in the right place at the right time. Vick’s a tremendous quarterback and once I saw the ball, I had to just catch it and run to daylight.”
Fort registered his first career NFL interception at the 7:19 mark of the third quarter. After the Browns turned the ball over on an interception, Fort came back seven plays later and caught a deflected pass off the hands of Jackson. Vick’s first-down pass was intended for tight end Clay Harbor.
“I had the seam, the flat,” Fort said. “I looked over and saw the receiver dragging all the way across the field and I know this play. We rep (practice) it. I got to my drop, was waiting for it and just made the play. It was definitely an opportunity. I was extremely blessed just to be out there and running around. I just praise God for the opportunity.”
Cleveland generated its second takeaway of 2012 with an interception of Vick with 4:32 left in the first quarter.
A holding penalty on offensive lineman King Dunlap backed up the Eagles into a second-and-21 from Cleveland’s 49-yard line. After taking the snap, Vick rolled out to his left and threw across his body for tight end Brent Celek in the middle of the field. Robertson read the play and registered his first career interception.
“It came right to me,” Robertson said. “You can’t make a big play yourself; it comes to you. Guys that try to make big plays try to do too much. You’ve got to wait for it to come to you. That’s what happened today. I got my first pick. I’m kind of excited right now.”
In addition to the interception, Robertson tied with safety T.J. Ward for the team lead with a game-high eight total tackles. He got a hit in on Vick, defended two passes and had an assist on a special teams stop. Fort made two stops, registered a sack, defended two passes and collected a special teams tackle.
“I think they rose to the occasion,” Jackson said. “Those guys have put in their time and we all know whatever you put in, you get out of it. Those guys have been tremendous from the start. They have a lot of pressure on them. My first game, I don’t remember it because it was a blur. Craig and L.J., they stepped up and it’s a good sign for us.”