Sunday, September 8, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Dolphins 23, Browns 10
By James Walker
CLEVELAND -- Some thoughts on the Miami Dolphins' 23-10 victory against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium:
What it means: The Dolphins improved to 1-0 and won their regular-season opener for the first time since 2010. This victory was key, because Miami has a brutal four-game stretch upcoming. Sunday's victory wasn't perfect by any means. But Miami left Cleveland with a win and is now tied for first place in the AFC East. The Browns fell to 1-14 in season openers since 1999.
Stock Watch: Former Brown Dimitri Patterson was motivated to play well, and he did. The Dolphins cornerback got two interceptions off Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden in the first half. Patterson injured his groin in the second half and didn’t finish the game. Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake also had four tackles and 2.5 sacks. Wake got the best of Browns second-year offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz throughout the game. Schwartz also allowed a sack to Wake’s backup, Derrick Shelby.
The arrow is pointing down for Miami running back Lamar Miller and the offensive line. In his first game as a full-time starter, Miller rushed for just 1 yard on nine carries. Part of the reason was Miami’s offensive line, which struggled. The Dolphins allowed four sacks of quarterback Ryan Tannehill and didn’t provide many rushing lanes.
Turnover battle: Miami’s defense did a solid job of forcing turnovers. The Dolphins got three interceptions in the first half off Weeden. Creating turnovers has been a huge focus for Miami’s defense this offseason, and the work showed in Week 1. Miami won the turnover battle by a 3-to-1 margin.
Tannehill to Hartline: Tannehill and receiver Brian Hartline had solid chemistry dating back to last season. Hartline led Miami in receiving last season and did so again in Week 1 against Cleveland. Hartline recorded nine receptions for 114 yards and a 34-yard touchdown that put Miami ahead for good in the second half.
What's next: The Dolphins will have their second consecutive road game next Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. Miami has three of its first four games on the road.