Observation deck: Browns-Rams
August, 8, 2013
By Jamison Hensley | ESPN.com
Here are my thoughts on the Browns' 27-19 win over the St. Louis Rams on Thursday night:
- The Browns contend there is a quarterback competition, but Brandon Weeden likely ended any notion of one. In two drives, both of which resulted in points, he went 10-of-13 for 112 yards and one touchdown. That's a passer rating of 127.7. It's quite an improvement from last year's preseason opener, when Weeden had a rating of 19.0. His two longest passes went for 21 yards to Josh Gordon and 30 yards to Jordan Cameron.
- It wasn't a popular move when Cleveland didn't re-sign Pro Bowl returner Josh Cribbs and instead went with Travis Benjamin to return punts. In his brief time doing so, Benjamin showed that he is capable of delivering big plays. On his first punt return of the preseason, Benjamin scored a 91-yard touchdown. Last year as a rookie, he only had three punt returns but one went for a team-record 93 yards.
- Dion Lewis showed he'll make an impact as a change-of-pace back, catching three passes for 22 yards, including a touchdown. Lewis made the start because Trent Richardson (shin) and Montario Hardesty (hamstring) were out. He didn't do too much in the running game. Take away a 9-yard gain and Lewis had 3 yards on four carries.
- Buster Skrine made the most of his opportunity as a surprise starter at cornerback. Chris Owens was an unexpected scratch with a foot injury, and rookie third-round pick Leon McFadden didn't play because of a groin pull. Skrine came up with a fumble recovery on the first drive after defensive tackle Phil Taylor forced the turnover.
- In the kicking battle, Shayne Graham made an important 41-yard field goal. His weakness has been making kicks beyond 40 yards. Brandon Bogotay was 1-of-2 on field goals, making a 25-yarder and pushing a 54-yarder wide left.
- As far as the defense goes, the Rams' first touchdown was set up by Trevin Wade getting beat on a 59-yard pass. The Browns also allowed six points off two long field goals, from 54 and 55 yards.
Final Atlanta 7 Baltimore 29 Final Tennessee 17 Washington 19 Final Seattle 26 St. Louis 28 Final Cleveland 6 Jacksonville 24 Final Cincinnati 0 Indianapolis 27 Final Minnesota 16 Buffalo 17 Final Miami 27 Chicago 14 Final New Orleans 23 Detroit 24 Final Carolina 17 Green Bay 38 Final Kansas City 23 San Diego 20 Final Arizona 24 Oakland 13 Final New York 21 Dallas 31 Final San Francisco 17 Denver 42