MIAMI GARDENS, Florida -- Three quick reactions to the Browns' 30-24 overtime loss to the Dolphins
Resilient Browns come up a play short
The momentum change that was supposed to be the story of the game wound up being a footnote.[
To open the second half, the Browns, holding a 13-10 lead, drove deep into Miami territory and melted more than half of the third quarter clock away in the process but ended up with nothing when Cody Parkey missed a field goal. Miami followed with touchdowns on back-to-back possessions and, just like that, it was 24-13.
Game over, right? Just like Week 1 in Philadelphia, right?
That wasn't the case on this Sunday, as Cleveland, led by rookie quarterback Cody Kessler and an all-around effort from Terrelle Pryor, rallied back with its first offensive touchdown of the game -- and first second-half touchdown of the season -- with 10:12 left in the fourth quarter and followed with a game-tying field goal to make it, 24-24. And with the game set for overtime, the Browns had the ball back in field goal range in improbable fashion after Corey Lemonier fell on a Ryan Tannehill fumble with seconds left on the clock.
Parkey's 45-yard attempt sailed wide left, and the Browns needed to rise to the challenge once more in overtime.
Ultimately, it didn't happen. Despite stopping the Dolphins on their opening possession, the Browns got bogged down deep in their own territory and were forced to punt it back. Miami capitalized on the prime field position and quickly moved down the field, capping the victory with a Jay Ajayi touchdown run.
The Browns rose to the challenge in every way Sunday, overcoming injuries to six starters and racking up 430 yards of offense and largely bottling up Miami's potent passing attack. It just wasn't enough on a balmy day in Miami.
Who's that at DB? It's BBC.
The Browns were down two starting defensive backs Sunday because of injuries to Joe Haden (groin) and safety Ibraheim Campbell. Because of the team's overall injury situation, only one player was a healthy scratch. So, as promised by defensive coordinator Ray Horton on Friday, the players who were able -- no matter the experience -- would be used.
For rookie defensive back Briean Boddy-Calhoun, that meant Sunday would be his NFL debut. And it will be one he never forgets.
The rookie from Minnesota found quick redemption after surrendering an early touchdown catch to DeVante Parker. On a third-down play early in the second quarter, Boddy-Calhoun swooped in for an open-field tackle that prevented a first down. Later in the quarter, he picked off Tannehill and ran it back 27 yards for Cleveland's first touchdown.
Boddy-Calhoun, who was inactive the first two weeks of the season, appeared to get most of his snaps at nickel, a spot that was opened because of Tramon Williams Sr.'s move to Haden's spot at outside cornerback. Both he and rookie Tracy Howard saw a significant increase in snaps because of Haden's absence.
Boddy-Calhoun was one of five players the Browns claimed off waivers one day after rosters around the league were trimmed to 53. An undrafted free agent, he spent training camp with the Jaguars. He had nine interceptions in his final two years with the Golden Gophers.
Pryor does it all -- literally
Pryor said earlier in the week he'd do anything to help the Browns -- even if it meant removing one of his fingers.
That wasn't necessary Sunday, but Pryor wore a number of different hats to give the Browns offense a different look and power them to 430 yards of offense.
The former quarterback was under center for a number of plays and it started with the Browns' second possession of the game. He ran read-option and attempted a handful of passes, his most successful going 26 yards to Gary Barnidge during a first quarter possession. During one stretch, Pryor caught a pass, attempted a run and completed a pass on three consecutive plays. At the end of the first quarter, he was Cleveland's leading passer, rusher and receiver.
Pryor took over at quarterback for the final three plays of Cleveland's fourth quarter touchdown drive and picked up his first score since 2013 on a 3-yard scamper.
Pryor finished 3-for-5 passing for 35 yards, four rushing attempts for 21 yards and eight receptions for 144 yards. He even played defense on the final snap of the first half to guard against a Hail Mary.
The wrinkle in the offense had its ups and downs, but it certainly appeared to help alleviate some pressure from Kessler. After an arduous first series in which he fumbled a snap and fumbled again on a third-down sack, Kessler played composed, steady football throughout the rest of his NFL debut. It didn't result in a Browns win, but there were a handful of nice moments from the third-round rookie, including a 40-yard slant to Pryor and a 28-yard rollout-and-throw to rookie Ricardo Louis in the fourth quarter..
Kessler finished 21-for-33 for 244 yards. He had the fumble and was sacked three times.
The Browns play the Dolphins in the second half of the third regular season game.