The Cleveland Browns lost to the Philadelphia Eagles last night 24-14, but like any preseason game, you can throw that score out the window and never think of it again.
It was a soggy, sloppy game last night but like a preseason win, you must curb your reaction to a preseason loss as well. The initial reaction to last night’s game felt like a hearty dose of reality to most people, and there were no doubt fans already with their fingers hovering dangerously hovering over the panic button already.
But take a step back and you’ll see that, like any preseason game, there were segments that impressed you along with those that were baffling or frustrating. That’s just the way it goes in the preseason.
Here are some notes about the Cleveland Browns’ 24-14 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles:
- Quarterback Colt McCoy finished 9 of 18 for 89 yards and one interception, though he was again plagued by drops by his offense. Tight end Evan Moore had the most noticeable drop of the night, as a well-thrown deep ball (and likely touchdown) down the sideline went right through his hands.
- Rookie defensive tackle Phil Taylor quite possibly had the best game of any member of the Browns, registering an early sack on Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and keeping the pressure on him throughout the first half.
- If Taylor was No. 1, consider linebacker D’Qwell Jackson No. 1A, as he continued his impressive comeback on Thursday night. Jackson was involved in what was the turning point of the game, when he was called for roughing the passer on Vick, though replays showed that it was nothing more than a solid tackle. The penalty would lead to an Eagles touchdown, but Jackson provided the best hit of the night, as he was given an unobstructed path to Vick.
- Running back Montario Hardesty finally made his preseason debut on Thursday night, carrying the ball five times for 15 yards. He likely would have seen more action in the second half, but a steady rain began to fall late in the first half and it wasn’t worth the risk.
- The defensive line continues to be the most impressive unit on the Browns during this preseason. There are still growing pains in this transition to a 4-3, however. At times, players were caught out of position, but the Browns’ decision to become faster and younger on defense will hopefully help to cover up some of those mistakes at times. The defense should be praised, though, for not letting Michael Vick run amok.
- Yes, the Browns were down 17-0 at the half, and early mistakes on special teams contributed to that. The Browns had a field goal blocked in the first quarter, while Jordan Norwood tripped over Sheldon Brown on a Philadelphia punt. That allowed the ball to touch Norwood as he fell to the ground, and the Eagles were all over it, recovering the ball deep in Browns territory. Rookie James Dockery also muffed a punt in the third quarter that led to another Eagles touchdown. The Browns are not yet the kind of team that can recover from those kinds of mistakes, so it would behoove them to cut down on that kind of sloppy play.
- The offense was inconsistent in the first half, but that doesn’t mean it looked hopeless or that they didn’t keep things interesting. One play had running back Peyton Hillis line up wide on the sideline, and McCoy threw to him in the end zone. It was incomplete, but it’s another example of Hillis’ versatility. Wide receiver Brian Robiskie also had his fair share of looks on Thursday, catching three passes for 23 yards after being nonexistent last week against the Lions. Wide receiver Greg Little also continues to get plenty of looks, as he also caught three passes for 23 yards, though he was targeted much earlier in the game. He could very well end up being the No. 1 receiver on Week One against the Cincinnati Bengals.
More coverage on the game will be coming today, so stay tuned. Be sure to follow Dawg Pound Daily on Twitter as well.