NFL Nation: Min-Cle RR Week 1


Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert


CLEVELAND -- Ahem. For anyone wondering, this is Adrian Peterson’s team. Brett Favre can come along for the ride if he wants.

Favre might have made his regular season debut Sunday for Minnesota, but Peterson and a stifling defensive performance were the engines of a 34-20 victory at Cleveland. Peterson finished with 180 yards and three touchdowns, including a 64-yard scamper in which he broke five tackles to seal the game in the fourth quarter.

Don’t forget: The Vikings trailed this game 13-10 at halftime. Peterson managed 40 yards on his first 14 carries, but he lit up the Browns defense for 140 yards on his final nine carries. I don’t think anyone should be surprised when Peterson produces a dominant performance, but to me it was such a poignant illustration of what the Vikings will (and won’t) be with Favre as their starter.

They won’t be a dynamic downfield offense, at least based on Sunday’s performance. Favre completed 14 of 21 passes for 110 yards. I only counted four passes that traveled more than nine yards in the air. One was completed. But if you had to draw up an ideal early-season scenario for this offense, it would be what you saw Sunday: Peterson making big plays and Favre managing the offense.

I’ll expand on this idea in a lengthier post later this afternoon. Until then….

Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker


CLEVELAND -- A new regime debuted for the Browns Sunday, but with an all-too-familiar result.

In the first game for Browns coach Eric Mangini, Cleveland was simply outmanned and outplayed in the second half during a 34-20 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. It was the 10th season-opening loss for the Browns in their past 11 attempts.

Cleveland played a near-perfect first half, but its lack of game-breaking talent eventually showed. The Vikings rode their defense, the arm of quarterback Brett Favre and the legs of tailback Adrian Peterson to score 24 unanswered points at one point.

The Browns played decent but simply do not have enough talent to beat quality teams in the NFL on a weekly basis. Cleveland (0-1) will play on the road next week against the Denver Broncos.

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