Lions edge Browns 30-28 in penalty-filled game

By Tom Withers

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Aug. 19 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy, right, smiles as he talks with linebacker D'Qwell Jackson in the third quarter of a preseason NFL football game against the Detroit Lions on Friday, Aug. 19, 2011, in Cleveland. The Lions won 30-28.

Amy Sancetta, Associated Press

CLEVELAND — Pristine one week, penalized the next.

The second time around was sloppy for the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions.

Colt McCoy threw three touchdown passes — two to tight end Evan Moore — in the first half, but the Browns blew a 15-point lead after halftime and lost 30-28 to the Lions on Friday night in a penalty-filled exhibition that showed both teams have plenty to fix in the next three weeks before the season opener.

"We've got a lot of work to do," McCoy said. "There's plenty to clean up."

"Way too sloppy with penalties," said Lions coach Jim Schwartz.

McCoy finished 10 of 18 for 96 yards, his second straight solid performance running first-year Browns coach Pat Shurmur's new West Coast offense. McCoy was victimized by a few drops and wasn't as sharp as in last week's win over the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. However, the second-year QB showed poise, ran away from Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and didn't force any throws while playing most of the first half.

"A lot of people wanted to anoint us after last week," said McCoy, who was pressured and knocked down several times. "There were a lot of rough things here and there."

The Lions (2-0) trailed 28-13 early in the third but got a 20-yard TD pass from Drew Stanton in the third and Dave Rayner's 48-yard field goal with 9:51 left.

Referee Mike Carey and his officiating crew had a busy night. The teams were assessed 26 penalties for 211 yards.

Moore caught TDs of 2 and 21 yards, rookie Greg Little grabbed a 13-yarder from McCoy, and rookie Armond Smith had an 81-yard TD run in the third for the Browns (1-1), who were without eight starters, including star running back Peyton Hillis. Smith also had two fumbles, helping the Lions rally.

"We went to getting pretty sloppy," Shurmur said. "Numerous penalties and two fumbles. Those are killers. The guys in the game are in charge of winning the game."

Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford threw one TD pass to Nate Burleson. Stafford, who threw two TDs in last week's 34-3 blowout of Cincinnati, went 6 of 10 for 85 yards in four series.

Jason Hanson kicked two field goals for the Lions, who also rested several starters, including wide receiver Calvin Johnson, because of injuries.

"We did a good job considering we had a couple of key guys out," Stafford said. "The guys who stepped in played well. Our other quarterbacks played well, too."

McCoy seems perfectly suited for the West Coast attack, an offense that puts a premium on accuracy, timing and precision — by the QB and receivers. Earlier this week, McCoy revealed he spent time during the NFL lockout in Mississippi learning the offense's many nuances from Brett Favre, who was taught it in Green Bay by Browns president Mike Holmgren.

With the Browns thin at wide receiver, Moore, who showed potential last season but has had injury issues, could become McCoy's favorite target. The 6-foot-6, 250-pounder certainly looks the part, but it remains to be seen if he can handle it. McCoy found him twice in the first half, helping the Browns build a 21-10 lead.

Moore later took a hard hit on a 17-yard reception. He got up slowly and remained in the game. Moore didn't return to the sideline after halftime, and Shurmur confirmed the fourth-year suffered a head injury.

"I don't know exactly the final analysis on that," Shurmur said.

The Browns' first possession was poor — two dropped passes and a 1-yard run that set the tone for the night. But Cleveland got the ball back when rookie defensive end Jabaal Sheard stripped Lions running back Jahvid Best. McCoy made the Lions pay with his quick TD toss to Moore.

Try out the new DeseretNews.com design!
try beta learn more
Get The Deseret News Everywhere