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Browns defense goes to toe-to-toe with Eagles in preseason win

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Browns viewed Thursday night's preseason game against the Eagles as something of a measuring stick -- just how does this new-look team stack up against the defending Super Bowl champions?

At least for a night, Cleveland went toe-to-toe with the defending Super Bowl champions in a 5-0 win Thursday night at FirstEnergy Stadium. 

And while these exhibition games aren't exactly the best predictors of regular-season success, the display was something for Browns fans to get excited about after two of the hardest years in franchise history and offseason roster overhaul.

Player of the game:The Browns' first-team defense: Cleveland got after quarterback Nick Foles and the Eagles first-team offense all night. They forced four turnovers — including two interceptions and a strip-sack — and also dropped Foles for a safety. While the Eagles — who are still without star quarterback Carson Wentz (knee) — totaled 168 yards in the first half, the Browns came through in the clutch every time they needed to make a play. 

Honorable mention: Myles Garrett, who wreaked havoc on Philadelphia's offensive line, and cornerback Terrance Mitchell, who forced a fumble in the red zone and batted down a pass earlier in the game.

Key moment: Browns starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who suffered a left hand injury in the first quarter, returned a few series later after a locker room visit to further investigate the damage. 

Taylor, who finished 11-of-15 for 65 yards, suffered the injury while scrambling to his left, falling awkwardly out of bounds on a fourth-and-1 near the goal line. 

What it means? The Browns move to to 2-1 on the preseason in what was surely a confidence booster for a defense that put together a legitimately dominating performance. 

While Cleveland got after an Eagles team playing without Wentz and several other key contributors, the showing could be a harbinger of things to come from Garrett, Emmanuel Ogbah and a linebackers group that's as deep as any on the team's roster. 

Who's next?Cleveland travels to Detroit next Thursday for the preseason finale. The Browns will curate their active roster to 53 members a few days later.

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