NFL Nation: 2013 Week 6 DET at CLE Rapid Reaction
October, 13, 2013
By Pat McManamon | ESPN.com
CLEVELAND -- A few thoughts on the Cleveland Browns' 31-17 loss to the Detroit Lions at FirstEnergy Stadium:
What it means: The feel of a season can change in a hurry. The loss means the Browns drop back to .500 and now face two very tough road games in a row. They also have a ways to go to compete with the good teams in the league, such as Detroit. And it means that one quarter does not make a game -- as the Browns played well in the second quarter but were badly outplayed by the Lions the other three.
Stock watch: Brandon Weeden's stock will drop -- and among the fans in Cleveland, it will drop precipitously. He had some good moments, but even though the defense gave up 24 points in the second half, the offense's struggles during the third and fourth quarters will stand out. Weeden's backhanded lob that was intercepted in the game's final minutes will live for a long time. Weeden had a very good first half, a very bad second half and a very, very bad play that secured the win for the Lions.
Inside issues: The Browns' inside linebackers and safeties had a rough second half. Evidently the Lions noticed something, because they came out in the third and fourth quarters and took advantage of matchups, especially with Reggie Bush and the tight ends against linebackers. Bush had more than 20 touches in the second half, and Joseph Fauria had three touchdown catches, the second in front of the safeties and over inside linebacker Craig Robertson. Give the Lions credit. They obviously noticed something and took advantage to win.
What's next: The Browns face a very tough road test as they travel to Green Bay to face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The trip is the first of two tough away games, as the Browns travel to Kansas City the following week.
October, 13, 2013
By Michael Rothstein | ESPN.com
CLEVELAND -- Some thoughts on the Detroit Lions' 31-17 win over the Cleveland Browns.
What it means: It was by no means a pretty win for Detroit. Receivers dropped passes. The secondary didn't have great coverage. The Detroit defensive line couldn't really get much pressure on Brandon Weeden, either.
But on the road, with their best offensive player, Calvin Johnson, still hurting, the Lions managed to win. Sure, it isn't a conference or divisional game, but these are games that teams in the upper half of the NFL win. They are games playoff teams win.
Not saying Detroit is a playoff team yet -- the Lions are in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL -- but the win Sunday meant they'll go into the bye week at the beginning of November with no worse than a .500 record. They also have two road wins this season.
Stock watch: Rising -- Joseph Fauria and DeAndre Levy. Fauria, the rookie tight end, saw more snaps Sunday with Tony Scheffler missing the game due to injury and caught three touchdown passes. Levy is continually the Lions' most productive defensive player. He intercepted his third and fourth passes of the season. He reads screens exceptionally well and just makes smart plays. Falling -- Detroit's front-four dominance and Calvin Johnson's health. The Lions' front four had been dominant throughout the first five games of the season, but they really struggled to pressure Weeden. Weeden often had a lot of time to read his progressions and make smart passes. The Lions didn't really get to Weeden until the fourth quarter. Johnson played Sunday and caught three passes for 25 yards, but didn't quite look like a dominating player.
Return of Fauria: He still isn't being used as much more than a giant red zone target, but Fauria had the most productive game of his career Sunday against Cleveland. He scored three of Detroit's four touchdowns, including a 23-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to give the Lions a 21-17 lead. All three of his catches -- and all three of his targets -- went for scores Sunday. He now has five touchdowns in six games and has caught a touchdown in every game he has been officially targeted with a pass.
What's next: Detroit, at 4-2, returns home for two straight games, first against Cincinnati and then Dallas the following week.