CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) - Cleveland Browns coach Pat Shurmur likes to see how his players handle adversity.
Shurmur had to like what he saw at Lambeau Field as the Browns bounced back from a disastrous start and blew out the Packers 35-10 Thursday night.
Last week in Detroit Mohamed Massaquoi sustained a concussion on the first offensive play. This week Montario Hardesty fumbled on the first snap.
It took Green Bay 3 plays to convert it into 7.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers hit Jordy Nelson for a 20-yard touchdown against Joe Haden. Rogers, who finished the night by completing 6-of-11 passes for 59 yards and a score, threw at Haden twice on the possession.
Offensive tackle Oniel Cousins wasn’t good enough to replace an injured Tony Pashos, who played on 1 leg last season, and he did little to make his case for playing time this season.
Cousins was hit for 2 major penalties on special teams. A holding penalty on what should’ve been a 43 yard field goal but Phil Dawson bailed him out – money from 53 to make it a 7-3 game then Cousins was hit for a 15-yard face mask forcing a 35 yard PAT attempt, which Dawson also hit with ease.
Browns cornerback Sheldon Brown came up with a pick last week at Detroit; Thursday night he stripped Randall Cobb following a catch. Emmanuel Stephens snatched it out of the air and rumbled 19 yards. Packers coach Mike McCarthy, who forgot all turnovers are automatically reviewed, threw the challenge flag to give the Browns 15 more yards.
Phil Dawson hit a 47 yard field goal to make it 7-6 following a 3 and out by the offense after the turnover. Josh Gordon dropped Weeden’s first down throw and Josh Cribbs was unable to come up with a catch on 3rd down.
Hardesty recovered from the early fumble nicely. He ran for 45 yards on 12 carries including a 1 yard touchdown plunge that put Cleveland in front 13-7 early in the second quarter.
McCarthy yanked his starters after the first quarter while Shurmur, as promised, played his the entire first half.
Craig Robertson’s pick-6 was wiped out by Brian Sanford’s neutral-zone infraction but David Sims’ was not. Sims picked off Packers backup Graham Harrell and returned it 38 yards to extend the Browns lead to 23-7. it was the second interception in as many games for Sims.
Phil Dawson reminded us again – why in the world did Tom Heckert refuse to sign him to a longer contract? Dawson, who went 3-for-4 on field goals hit a 52 yarder. His only miss was a close shave of the left upright from 56 at the end of the first half.
As expected, Colt McCoy relieved Weeden in the third quarter and marched the Browns down the field in his only drive. McCoy went 4-for-6 and 58 yards in a 13 play 75 yard touchdown drive which was capped off by Brandon Jackson’s 1-yard run to put the Browns in front 30-7.
If in fact it was an audition for McCoy, he passed.
Packers backup Grahm Harrell was painful – at best. He finished 12-for24 and 100 yards, 2 interceptions and was penalized in the end zone resulting in a safety.
In 2 series, Seneca Wallace finished 3-for-4, 44 yards and a quarterback rating of 110.4.
Jeff Wolfert finished the scoring with 34 yard field goal.
The only piece of bad news for the Browns came midway through the fourth quarter when rookie cornerback Trevin Wade, who started at nickel, was seen being driven on a cart back to the locker room.
The Browns improved to 2-0 in the preseason for the first time since 2005. That team finished the year 6-10.