Eagles vs. Browns: Cleveland's Biggest Winners and Losers from NFL Week 1
Trent Richardson had the biggest hit of the game, but it wasn't enough to keep the Browns out of the loss column. The rookie running back looked like he missed the entire preseason, as he did not have the burst seen in college. The Browns' failure to run the ball allowed the Eagle to do what they do best—rush the passer.
In a game that featured four interceptions by both quarterbacks, neither team could take full advantage of the extra opportunities. The box score will say the Browns defense gave up 456 yards, but some of that should get credited to the offense which couldn't keep the chains moving. The Browns offense only had 12 first downs, compared to the Eagles who had 25.
The inability for the Browns to play complementary football caused the defense to be on the field for too many plays. In the end, it came back to bite them. They ran out of gas and allowed the Eagles to score the go-ahead touchdown with less than two minutes left in the game.
The Browns offense still had an opportunity to win the game with another Phil Dawson field goal with less than two minutes left. On the first play of Brandon Weeden's attempt to redeem himself, he threw his forth interception.
This game looked all too familiar to what happened last year for the Browns—defense plays well and the offense doesn't show up. Pat Shurmur decided to play it safe by not going for two which would have forced the Eagle to go for two in order to win the game. Instead, the Eagle touchdown and Weeden’s interception were nails in the coffin.
Let's take a look at the winners and losers from the 17-16 loss by the Browns.
The Browns head coach had questionable decisions that didn't give his team a chance to win.
The first one was taking the field goal, instead of going for it at the beginning of the fourth quarter. It was the safe move, and there was a lot of time on the clock, but the move smelled of playing not to lose instead of playing to win.
The second move was not going for two which would have prevented the Eagles from tying the game with a touchdown.
The defensive line won the battle at the line of scrimmage, but like the rest of the defense, ran out of gas at the end of the game.
The old man of the defense does it again, playing well despite the overall lack of team success. D'Qwell Jackson put the Browns ahead with a pick six, but the team couldn't hold onto the lead.
The Browns defensive coordinator had a great plan, and it was almost enough for the defense to win the game on its own. He decided to attack the Eagles by sending waves of defensive backs and linebackers to blitz the run and the pass.
If he could get some help from the offense, he might get the recognition he deserves.
Joe Haden followed DeSean Jackson all over the field, and the one time he didn't, Jeremy Maclin used a double move to shake him for a touchdown.
Haden made up for the mistake by intercepting Michael Vick at the end of the third quarter.
The fact that Brandon Weeden is 28 didn't help him not play like a rookie against the Eagles. The offensive line had trouble blocking the Eagles' defensive line, but Weeden didn't help by throwing it into double coverage.
Two of his interceptions were forced throws to Travis Benjamin when Weeden tried make the big play happen.
The offensive line failed to open up holes for the running game and had trouble with the pass rush of the Eagles.
The wide-nine defense is normally susceptible to the run because of the wide gaps on the defensive line, but the Browns could not take advantage.
Even the great Joe Thomas gave up a sack, but it was taken away by a penalty on the other side of the defensive line.
Trent Richardson knocked off the helmet of Kurt Coleman but didn't do much else in the game. He finished with two yards per carry. The coaches could have helped out the offensive line by adding an extra lineman to one side.
It looks like Greg Little forgot to leave the drops in the 2011 season. The second-year player was without a catch and dropped a possible touchdown pass which turned into an interception.
He was targeted four times but could not haul in a pass.
L.J. Fort and Craig Robertson played well in fill-in duty for Scott Fujita. The two undrafted free agents both came up with interceptions of Michael Vick.
Joshua Cribbs is still one of the best return men in the game, and today was no different. He didn't have a return for a touchdown, but he averaged 30 yards on kickoffs and 13 yards on punt returns.
The most reliable player on the Browns showed up again with Phil Dawson leading the team in scoring with nine points.
The Browns won't be better until Dawson is not the most productive point scorer in the game.