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Browns roll past Lions with season opener fast approaching

DETROIT —On to Pittsburgh.

The Browns closed the preseason with a 35-17 win over the Lions Thursday night with the season opener against the Steelers fast approaching. 

In a game where both teams rested their starters, Cleveland jumped out to a big lead early behind rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, who made his first NFL start since being drafted first-overall. 

They never looked back. 

Player of the game: Mayfield. The former Oklahoma star came out firing at Ford Field, engineering a nine-play, 80-yard opening drive that ended when rookie running back Nick Chubb punched in a 3-yard touchdown on fourth down. 

Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy winner last season, finished 9-of-16 for 138 yards, helping the Browns jump out to a 25-0 lead at halftime. While Cleveland has made clear they'll sit the former Oklahoma star and Heisman Trophy winner behind veteran Tyrod Taylor this fall, Mayfield continues to offer glimpses of what could be a bright future in Cleveland.

The Cleveland Browns play the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.

Key moment: Fourth-year defensive end Nate Orchard had a 64-yard interception return for touchdown that preserved a first-half shutout for the Browns. Orchard, who's been the subject of a "Hard Knocks" feature as he competes for a spot on the active roster, stepped in front of a pass from Lions backup quarterback Matt Cassel with 28 seconds before intermission and ran it back untouched. It's the kind of play that could go a long way as Orchard puts his best foot forward. 

What it means: The Browns finish the preseason 3-1 with wins over the Lions, Eagles and Giants. More importantly, Thursday night's game also marks the final time this Browns team will play together with roster cuts looming this weekend — Cleveland will trim its squad from 90 members to 53 Saturday afternoon. Then, in 10 days from now, the new-look Browns will host the Steelers Sept. 9 at FirstEnergy Stadium.

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