Three quick reactions to the Browns' 21-7 loss Thursday to the Bears at FirstEnergy Stadium ...
Browns 1st team offense gets what it needed
It didn't happen with ease, but the Browns' first-team offense got exactly what it wanted out of its final rehearsal: a touchdown.
A very friendly bounce off a Kasey Redfern punt -- which carromed off a Bears player and into the arms of linebacker Tank Carder inside the 20-yard line -- set up the Browns offense, and the unit capitalized. Cleveland's first-team unit grinded it out, using six plays to move the necessary 18 yards and collect its first red-zone touchdown of the preseason. Instead of the potent pass plays that were featured throughout the previous three games, the Browns pounded it in the end zone with a 4-yard Isaiah Crowell run on third-and-goal.
"They were just clogging it up," Crowell said. "It just took more effort. I just felt like they clogged it up a few times. We just had to keep on working to punch it in."
Cleveland's first-team unit got three series before the majority of the group was summoned to the sidelines. Each drive was better than the next, as the Browns went three-and-out on the first, picked up two first downs on the second and scored on the third.
The Browns passing game found its most success through short throws and screens, the best being a 12-yarder to Crowell to set up first-and-goal on the scoring drive. Robert Griffin III was 4-of-8 for 31 yards while Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr. added 19 yards on the ground.
"It was good to get back out there and get the bad taste out of our mouth from last week because we didn't play the way we wanted to," tight end Gary Barnidge said. "We got out there and got to show them what we could actually do and I'm looking forward to the regular season."
Rookies make plays on defense
It's hard to find anyone on the Browns who got more snaps this preseason than rookies Carl Nassib and Emmanuel Ogbah. Both used the practice games to get acclimated to the NFL and their relatively new positions.
And on Thursday, both players caused some disruption and ultimately combined for a sack that forced an early Bears punt. It wasn't the first for either, as Nassib finished the preseason with 2.5 and Ogbah had 1.5. Later in the half, Nassib knocked down a pass at the line of scrimmage to force a field goal. It's promising to see as both figure to have major roles on a young Browns defense starting in next Sunday's season opener at Philadelphia.
They weren't the only rookies on defense who made plays Thursday, either, as linebacker Joe Schobert picked up a third-down sack in the second quarter and Derrick Kindred picked up plenty of reps early in the game with a mix of first- and second-teamers. In the second half, seventh-round pick Scooby Wright III, fighting for a roster spot in a competitive inside linebackers room, collected a sack and stuffed the Bears on a fourth-and-goal run at the goal line.
A few moments on special teams
The Browns' special teams units bounced back from a rough night last week at Tampa Bay with a handful of big plays and solid coverage.
On top of the Carder fumble recovery, the Browns picked up a big return in the third quarter when Taylor Gabriel took one back 37 yards.
Earlier in the quarter, Michael Palardy, one of two punters on the Browns roster, booted a 75-yard punt out of the back of Cleveland's end zone to flip the field. Palardy and Redfern, who was acquired from the Panthers in the Andy Lee trade earlier this week, rotated on punts throughout the night, giving the Browns plenty to evaluate before Saturday's 53-man roster deadline.
On the flip side, Cleveland had a couple of special teams penalties and its first missed field goal of the preseason, as Patrick Murray's short attempt at the end of the first half sailed wide right. A 14-yard Palardy punt set up Chicago's touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Browns take on the Bears in the last game of the preseason.