DETROIT -- It may not count toward the regular season, but Cleveland Browns coach Pat Shurmur felt Friday night’s 19-17 come-from-behind victory over the Detroit Lions in the 2012 preseason opener at Ford Field was a positive first step for his team.
The Browns were down by as many as 11 points in the third quarter, but outpaced the Lions 16-3 over the game’s final 30 minutes and sealed the win with
“I told the players, regardless of whether they count or not, it’s fun to win and that feeling you get when you win a game, whether you win by a bunch or win at the end like we did with a field goal, it’s fun,” Shurmur said. “They should take something away from that. The young guys and a lot of the new guys that played at the end and got us into the end zone and made some plays, there was a lot of good stuff out there for us to evaluate their ability to make the team. I think we got something out of that.”
Wolfert made the game-winning kick after missing a field goal attempt earlier in the second half. He was not given the chance to kick a potential game-tying extra point when running back
On that series, the Browns instead decided to go for a two-point conversion, but were stopped short of the goal line.
“We’re trying to win the football game,” Shurmur said. “Late in the fourth quarter in these preseason games, we want our guys to have a chance. We didn’t execute the play all that well. We didn’t run one of our primary two-point plays because you really don’t want to show it. That wasn’t an ‘A-lister.’”
In the win, Shurmur and the Browns got their first look at quarterback
Weeden went three for nine for 62 yards with one interception in his debut with the Browns. His interception came on a pass intended for second-year wide receiver
“It was tight coverage,” Shurmur said of Weeden’s interception. “The guy ended up being bracketed and the ball was probably a touch low, but we’ve got to make those throws and catches in tight coverage. I was (upset with) both of them.
“You’ve got rookies in there playing a team that went 10-6 last year, so I think it’s a great test for us to see where we’re at and we made some plays against them. I’m not down at all.”
In the first half, the Browns committed two turnovers and eight penalties for 55 yards. In addition to the interception, Weeden was hit before releasing a pass down the field and lost possession on a fumble during the team’s first series.
“In my opinion, (we had) too many penalties,” Shurmur said. “It’s easy to say that it’s expected this time of year, but it isn’t. We coach against it and we need to get that cleaned up. There were a couple first-half turnovers that we can’t have. From that standpoint, there’s plenty to learn from.”
Shurmur did, however, take away the feeling that many of his players got an opportunity to show what they could do on the field, especially those that were further down the depth chart and short on NFL experience. Those players helped the Browns engineer the late-game rally.
“As I was watching the game, I kept remarking to myself that this is going to be a great tape to watch,” Shurmur said. “There’s a lot of situations and a lot of guys got an opportunity to play and that’s what you want, guys having an opportunity to play and being able to evaluate what they can do for us. We’ll get into a three-day work week and then, we’ll play at Green Bay, which is our next preseason game in this training camp routine.”
STOPPING THE RUN
While the Browns won the game against the Lions, they struggled defensively against the run.
Without defensive tackles
“We’ve got to do a better job of stopping the run,” Shurmur said. “It’s always important to remember this game is about preventing the score. That game felt a little bit like last year, where we saw some runs, but at the end of the day, we looked up and there weren’t a whole lot of points. We need to do better in all areas of our game, offensively, defensively.”
The special teams return units initiated scoring drives for the Browns Friday night.
“We missed one field goal, but I think, for the most part, they did a hell of a job,” Shurmur said of the special teams. “I saw aggressive coverage. I saw some hard hitting in the tackling. In the return game, we popped some big returns, a couple of big returns. From that standpoint and I’ve told these guys all along, I think Chris is doing a good job of inspiring them to play hard. We can’t just look for even on that. We’ve got to find a way for the special teams to make a difference and I thought tonight was a good start.”
HARDESTY RUNS HARD
“I thought he had a couple of good, hard runs,” Shurmur said. “We crammed it up in there a couple of times when there was a little more in there than we could block, but we did that by design to see him have to run the ball in a physical way and I thought he handled it pretty well.”
Norwood had a 45-yard punt return that led to a Browns touchdown and averaged 26 yards on his two returns during the win.
“I thought he played well,” Shurmur said. “He’s been hampered by a back injury during camp, so I didn’t know what to expect from him tonight, but he was out there, took a bunch of reps and made some plays, so that was good.”