JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Browns opened the preseason with a 24-13 win Friday against the Jaguars at TIAA Bank Stadium.
After falling 13-0 early in the first quarter, the Browns got back on track with 24 unanswered points scored from the second quarter onward. Both sides played most of their starters in the first quarter, with Deshaun Watson starting under center for the Browns and Trevor Lawrence starting at QB for Jacksonville.
Moment that mattered most: After a slow start from the Browns, CB M.J. Emerson Jr. ripped a pass out of the hands of Jaguars WR Jeff Cotton and ran the ball back 74 yards for a pick-six. Emerson laid a big stiff-arm on Jaguars RB Snoop Conner and juked QB CJ Beathard to clear his way into the end zone, and the play gave the Browns their first lead, a 14-13 score, heading into halftime.
Player of the game: RB Jerome Ford. The rookie fifth-rounder had one heck of a debut with 102 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns. His biggest play was a 41-yard run in the second quarter that set him up for a 3-yard touchdown run a few plays later. In the third quarter, he caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from QB Josh Dobbs. His night wasn't perfect, however, as he fumbled after pulling off a 16-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Stat of the game: 7. Despite the win, the Browns were slow out of the gates with Watson under center. Watson went just 1-for-5 with seven passing yards, which were the only offensive yards the Browns gained in their three offensive series of the first quarter.
The game was decided when: Ford caught Dobbs' pass for his second touchdown of the night. The Jaguars didn't have enough plays left from their backups to close the deficit, and Ford's play capped off his huge performance that showcased how the Browns truly have no shortage of talent in their backfield.
What's next?: The Browns will return to FirstEnergy Stadium for the first time this year in their second preseason game against the Eagles on Aug. 21. The Browns will also host the Eagles for two joint practices at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus on Thursday and Friday.