Observation deck: Browns-Colts
August, 24, 2013
By Jamison Hensley | ESPN.com
The Cleveland Browns offense delivered its worst output of the preseason just four days after Brandon Weeden was officially named the starting quarterback.
In a 27-6 preseason loss at Indianapolis, the Browns failed to score on their six drives against the Colts' starting defense and the first-team offense produced its only points -- a 50-yard field goal by Shayne Graham -- against the Colts' backups.
Weeden, who entered this game with the second-best passer rating of the preseason, finished 12-of-25 for 105 yards. He nearly saw two passes picked off, including a third-down one during a two-minute drill, and missed a wide-open Kellen Davis in Indianapolis territory. Weeden threw six consecutive incompletions during one stretch.
There are others to share the blame in the woeful performance. Wide receiver Greg Little fumbled after picking up a first down, and wide receiver Josh Gordon and running back Brandon Jackson both dropped passes. Little and Gordon combined for five catches on 11 targets.
This was a Browns offense that had scored points on five of six possessions in its first two preseason games. Cleveland had trouble extending drives Saturday night, going 1-of-6 on third downs against the Colts' starting defense.
Here are some other thoughts on the Browns' third preseason game:
- Running back Trent Richardson had a solid outing and looked to be at full strength. He touched the ball on the first four plays of the game and totaled 32 yards. On his 10-yard catch, he had a nice move in the flat to fake out a defender and pick up extra yards. There were times when Richardson didn't have any running lane and powered his way for a couple of yards. Richardson had 31 yards on seven carries.[+] EnlargeAP Photo/Jeff RobersonThe Browns made a stunning move Wednesday, trading running back Trent Richardson to the Colts.
- The Browns defense came with a lot of blitzes against Andrew Luck, with not much success. Cleveland got pressure with Paul Kruger and Quentin Groves, but Luck either found the open receiver or scrambled for yards (which isn't a smart decision by Luck in the preseason). After not allowing a touchdown in the first two games, the Browns' first-team defense gave up two touchdowns, both of which came on pass plays in the flat.
- Rookie third-round pick Leon McFadden was picked on repeatedly, with the cornerback giving up six completions in the first half (at least by my count). With Chris Owens out with a foot injury, McFadden played in nickel defense in his preseason debut. He made one nice breakup.
- In the same week he was named the starting free safety, Tashaun Gipson made a big interception deep in Browns territory. He pulled in a deflected pass from Luck, who was hurried on the play by Kruger.
- A couple of mistakes by the Browns' offensive tackles: Right tackle Mitchell Schwartz was flagged for unnecessary roughness following Little's fumble, and left tackle Joe Thomas had an uncharacteristic holding penalty.