Browns vs. Eagles: Cleveland Week 1 Winners and Losers

David DeWitt@TheRevDeWittContributor IIISeptember 9, 2012

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 09:  Running back LeSean McCoy #25 of the Philadelphia Eagles is hit by defensive lineman Juqua Parker #95 of the Cleveland Browns during the season opener at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 9, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns managed to once again clench defeat from the jaws of victory Sunday in their 17-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Though the Browns transformed their offense over the 2012 offseason, they didn't shake a crippling ineptitude that simply doesn't do enough to compliment a tough and strong defensive effort.

Defensive coordinator Dick Jauron said during his press conference Thursday that he doesn't concern himself with most statistics, as turnovers, points scored and points allowed are the only three that make the difference. (

His defense did good work for much of the game, pressuring Michael Vick, holding Philadelphia to two touchdowns and a field goal and generating plenty of turnovers.

Jauron didn't say what he thinks of offensive statistics, but a quick glance through the boxscore doesn't inspire a very warm and fuzzy feeling.

The performance made winners and losers easy to call:


The Winners: The Browns' defense

Four Browns players brought in interceptions, including cornerback Joe Haden and linebackers D'Qwell Jackson, Craig Robertson and L.J. Fort.

Jackson's was an energizing pick-six for the lead early in the fourth.

Fort could've chalked off two, but the ball squeaked through his hands, falling incomplete in the end zone on a 2nd-and-4 with the Eagles at the goal line with 1:23 left on the clock.

Eagles QB Michael Vick made them pay on the next play with a TD pass to tight end Clay Harbor to take the lead, and, eventually, win the game.

T.J. Ward turned in a solid performance with eight tackles (seven solo), one sack, one tackle for loss and two QB hits.

Rookie linebacker Craig Robertson also stepped up to the plate with eight tackles (five solo), two passes deflected and one QB hit in addition to his interception.

The team held the Eagles to 8-for-19 on third-down conversions.

Those would be the good numbers that Jauron doesn't care about.

The bad ones would be the 456 total yards that they allowed, and of course the 17 points and the 150 yards rushing.

But overall, the defense put forth a tough, solid effort against a good offense, and it should've been enough to win, if it weren't for:


The Losers: The Browns' offense

Head coach Pat Shurmur hasn't expressed his opinion on statistics recently, but it isn't hard to imagine he wouldn't be impressed with a 5.1 passer rating for rookie QB Brandon Weeden, who went 12-of-35 for 118 yards at a 3.4-yards-per-attempt average, zero touchdowns and four interceptions.


Weeden made a number of overthrows, including two that could've been TDs, though one he had pressure coming down right on him.

He repeated a mistake when he twice tried to hit rookie wideout Travis Benjamin on a go route down the sideline, getting picked off both times by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

Rookie running back Trent Richardson, who had been recovering during the preseason from "clean-up" arthroscopic left knee surgery on August 9, had his first game in Browns uniform.

Richardson carried the ball 19 times for 39 yards and a 2.1 average. His longest run was nine yards. He had one reception for five yards and one drop that could've been a first down.

Fullback Owen Marecic also had a drop that could've been a first down.

Wide receiver Greg Little had a drop that could've been a touchdown.

All is not lost, however, as wideout Mohammed Massaquoi and rookie wideout Josh Gordon flashed with receptions of over 20 yards.


Extra Brownies

This was a tough loss, but there was plenty to see to keep Browns fans interested in if this team can develop into an actual contender, given time.

They have a lot to clean up and the offense must look scads more competent against the Cincinnati Bengals next week.