CLEVELAND -- Northeast Ohio native and former Ohio State receiver Brian Hartline didn't get a chance to play in front of his hometown last month in Canton. Hartline was injured and missed the Miami Dolphins' Hall of Fame Game at Fawcett Stadium, which is a field Hartline played on several times in high school.
But Hartline had a nice consolation prize on Sunday in his second trip back to Ohio in a short span. He led the Dolphins in receiving with nine catches for 119 yards and a key touchdown catch in Miami’s 23-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns.
Hartline put on a show about 40 miles from where he grew up. He particularly warmed up in the second half, when he caught five passes for 86 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
“I think it was just a situation where we knew we just needed to have it,” Hartline said. “I wish we would have done it earlier in the game, but it was a situation where we needed to make some plays.”
Hartline said overall he gave the offense a B-minus. The Dolphins trailed 7-6 at halftime, despite Miami’s defense forcing three early turnovers.
Miami’s offense could not capitalize twice off turnovers and was forced to punt. The third turnover resulted in a field goal, as it was evident that the defense was carrying the team through the first two quarters. The Dolphins had just 89 yards of total offense at halftime.
“They came out and played a little different than we expected them to,” Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “The first game of the year, we didn’t know exactly how they were going to play us. ... It took us a little time to get adjusted to that. I feel like once we did, our offensive line did a good job in the second half picking up the rush.”
Following their touchdown connection in the third quarter, Tannehill and Hartline connected three additional times on a key fourth-quarter touchdown drive that helped seal the game. The pair played the biggest role in Miami scoring 17 of its 23 points in the second half.
Hartline is already off to a good start after posting career numbers in 2012.
"I just try to do my part," Hartline said. "I think we started off slow as an offense. We could have definitely gotten off to a better start. I was just there when the team needed us to move the chains and to move the ball."