The Cleveland Browns open the 2013 regular season against the Miami Dolphins at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday.
Under coach Rob Chudzinski, the Browns went 3-1 in the preseason. 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.
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 at SunLife Stadium in South Florida.
In the third game of the 2011 season, the Browns earned a 17-16 home victory over the Dolphins 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.
As this year’s game unfolds, here are several things to keep an eye on:
Weeden finished the 2012 season second among rookies in passing yards, passing first downs (168) and 20-plus yard passes (48), and his 3,385 yards passing were the seventh-most ever by an NFL rookie quarterback. They were also the 10th most yards in a single season for a Browns signal-caller.
Last season, Weeden also threw for four of the top five single-game passing yardage totals, including the top three, and three of the five longest touchdown passes by a Browns rookie quarterback. His three 300-yard passing performances were the most-ever by a Browns rookie and tied for fourth in club history for a single season.
In the preseason, Weeden completed 30 of 50 attempts for 334 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He was not sacked and carried a quarterback rating of 99.9 during the preseason.
His 950 rushing yards, 11 rushing touchdowns, 267 carries, 12 total touchdowns, 72 points scored, and 1,317 scrimmage yards eclipsed the franchise’s previous marks, while the three 100-yard rushing games equaled the record set by William Green in the 2002 season.
Richardson finished in the top ten in scoring among non-kickers. He also finished third in receptions by a first-year player, third in both rushing yards and scrimmage yards by a rookie and fourth in first downs (54 total), and tied for second for points scored among NFL rookies.
Richardson rushed for a team-best 64 yards on only 13 carries during the preseason.
In 2012, Kruger led the Ravens with nine quarterback sacks. During Baltimore’s march to the Super Bowl XLVII championship, Kruger had 4.5 sacks in the playoffs, including two against San Francisco 49ers signal-caller Colin Kaepernick in the Super Bowl.
In his two previous NFL seasons, Cameron has 26 receptions for 259 yards and a five-yard touchdown in a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers last November.
Browns offensive linemen
Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline. The fifth-year wide receiver out of The Ohio State University has turned 183 career receptions into 2,753 yards and six touchdowns. He has also rushed for 65 yards and one score on seven career carries. Hartline comes into the game after catching 74 passes for 1,083 yards and an 80-yard touchdown last season.
Defensive lineman Cameron Wake. Wake has registered 43.0 sacks in four seasons, including a career-best 15 in 16 starts last year. Wake’s 15 sacks surpassed his previous career high of 14, which he set in 2010, just his second year in the league after he failed to land with an NFL team in 2005 and spent two seasons with the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League.
The Browns begin a two-week road swing next Sunday with a 1 p.m./ET game against the reigning Super Bowl-champion Ravens. The Dolphins remain on the road next week, as they travel to Lucas Oil Stadium for a match-up with the Indianapolis Colts before opening the home portion of their schedule against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, Sept. 22.
Bess was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Dolphins in 2008. He caught 321 passes for 3,447 yards and 12 touchdowns, in addition to 130 third-down receptions.
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
Browns defensive back
Chudzinski (University of Miami, 1994-2003), Roll (Miami, 1989/Dolphins, 1996-2003), Turner (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.
Miami fullback Tyler Clutts was on the Browns’ practice squad at the end of the 2010 regular season.
Dolphins punter Brandon Fields (Toledo/St. John’s Jesuit High School), Hartline (North Canton/GlenOak) and linebacker Jason Trusnik (Macedonia/Nordonia) are Ohio natives.
Miami practice-squad safety Jordan Kovacs (Curtice) and tight end Kyle Miller (Bowling Green/Elida) are Ohio natives.
Miller (Mount Union), Hartline (Ohio State), and Trusnik (Ohio Northern University) went to college in Ohio.
Fans can watch Sunday’s game at 1 p.m./ET on local CBS affiliate, WOIO-TV 19. Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and Solomon Wilcots (color analyst) will call the action.
The game is also available along the PNC Bank Cleveland Browns Radio Network with Jim Donovan, former Browns left tackle Doug Dieken, and Jamir Howerton on the call.
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