NFL Nation: 2013 Week 1 MIA at CLE

Rapid Reaction: Dolphins 23, Browns 10

September, 8, 2013
9/08/13
4:36
PM ET
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.

My thoughts on the Cleveland Browns' 23-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins:

What it means: New regime, same result. In the first game of the Joe Banner-Rob Chudzinski era, the Browns had a similar look of past teams: a solid defense and a struggling offense, albeit a short-handed one without its No. 1 receiver and a third-string right guard. Cleveland fell to 1-14 in home season openers since rejoining the NFL.

Stock watch: Rising -- Tight end Jordan Cameron. He was the Browns' best offensive weapon with nine catches for 108 yards and the team's only touchdown. He was the only Browns player with a catch longer than 20 yards.

Falling -- CB Buster Skrine. He got burned by Brian Hartline on a double move for the Dolphins' first touchdown, and he was penalized in the end zone, which led to Miami's second touchdown. Undisciplined play has always been a problem for Skrine, who committed nine penalties last year.

Don't blame Weeden: It's easy to point the finger at quarterback Brandon Weeden, who threw three interceptions in the first half and finished with 23-of-53 passing (49 percent) for 289 yards. But one interception came off a drop by Greg Little, and the Dolphins converted only three points off those turnovers. Weeden didn't get much help from his receivers, who dropped a handful of passes, and pass protection (five sacks allowed). Right tackle Mitchell Schwartz allowed three sacks, and right guard Oniel Cousins struggled mightily, too. Cousins' holding penalty negated a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Pass defense falters: The Browns got pressure on Ryan Tannehill in the first half, limiting him to 98 yards passing before halftime. But Cleveland gave him too much time in the second half and allowed 174 yards passing. The Browns didn't stop the Dolphins enough on third downs. Free-agent pickup Desmond Bryant was a bright spot, stopping two drives with sacks.

Where was Richardson? Running back Trent Richardson is the Browns' best playmaker, and offensive coordinator Norv Turner didn't get him involved enough, especially with No. 1 receiver Josh Gordon suspended for the first two games. The Browns abandoned the run too early, and Richardson finished with 47 yards on 13 carries. If Turner didn't think the running game was working, the Browns had to get the ball to Richardson more in the passing game. Richardson had one catch for 18 yards.

What's next: The Browns (0-1) look to end a 10-game losing streak to the Baltimore Ravens (0-1) when they visit Baltimore next week.

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