By Jeff Phelps - Cleveland's Talking HeadsBy Jeff Phelps | 92.3 The Fan

1st Half

Opening possession. Three and out. Bengals punt return for a touchdown. Shoot me now.

Nothing personal Browns fans, but I really don’t care that the Browns are wearing their Brown jerseys. I’ve never noticed a correlation between Browns uniforms and good football. And Sorry, but brown is brown. Not exactly the best looking color in the box of Crayolas.

All we’ve heard about Brandon Weeden is what a strong arm he has. Doesn’t matter if he doesn’t know how to use it (see under thrown pass to an open Greg Little on a deep route on the 2nd possession). OK, only one throw, I know.

Offense actually looked like it had a clue in the first quarter. Already, significant improvement over Week 1.

CBS game analyst Steve Tasker just mentioned that Brandon Weeden told him that he has better chemistry with Mohammad Massaquoi than any other Browns receiver. Nt sure if that should make Browns fans feel good, or really wonder what’s up with Greg Little and Josh Gordon.

Nothing against Joe Haden, but I don’t think he would have made a difference on the touchdown catch by A.J. Green. He’s the type of weapon that can make a young quarterback look very good, and feel very comfortable. Yes, I’m hoping Tom Heckert reads this. Greg Little and Josh Gordon too, for that matter.

Yippee!!! Trent Richardson can actually run the football at the NFL level!!! Very nicely done on his 32-yard touchdown run in the 2nd quarter. But riddle me this… why would any guy who’s had two knee surgeries in the last seven months, DO A SUMMERSAULT FLIP INTO THE END ZONE???? AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! Please Trent. Speaking for all Browns fans, we can’t take it. If you happen to score again this season, please just run into the end zone, gently hand the ball to an official, and safely proceed to the bench.

Richardon had 13 carries for 83 yards and the touchdown in the first half. Nice! Brandon Weeden thanks you Trent. With a running game, he’s had more time in the pocket, and open receivers. His throw on a sideline route to Massaquoi (chemistry, remember!) late in the 2nd quarter was outstanding. It showed the arm, and the accuracy. Again, nice!

Total offense for the first half – Browns with 208 yards, Bengals with 143. Down 17-10 at half, Browns are in position to win this thing.

3rd Quarter

Just so everyone knows, Buster Skrine’s name in pronounced “screen,” just like that mesh thing that may keep out a bug or two on your back door, but allows the breeze to flow freely, just as Bengal wide receivers are flowing freely downfield with the football against Buster.

No Joe Haden. No Sheldon Brown. Many easy opportunities for Bengal receivers.

As I watch Weeden throw pas after pass to Massaquoi, I’m wondering if Greg Little or Josh Gordon are in uniform. Oh wait — there’s Gordon! Gain of five. Never mind.

Without Haden Browns, Phil Taylor and Chris Gocong, the defense is going to be challenged. But they’re not doing a bad job. And yes, I know the Bengals have 24 points on the board here late in the 3rd quarter.

On our little radio show on Friday, I asked for two things to change for the Browns on Sunday. #1 – see improvement from both Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden. And #2 – have one of them have a very good game. I’d like to thank Trent Richardson for making my wish come true. His touchdown reception late in the 3rd quarter — OUTSTANDING! He looks like what the Browns haven’t had in forever — a game-breaking talent on offense.

4th Quarter

Andrew Hawkins just went 50 yards for a touchdown on a pass from Andy Dalton. The Browns defense missed somewhere around 47 tackles on the play. Please ignore my previous comment about the Browns defense. Thank you. Now 31-17.

Has Brandon Weeden confused Massaquoi for his college buddy Justin Blackmon? Now has 5 catches for 90 yards. Impressive game for #11.

A Greg Little sighting!!! Touchdown from Weeden. Great pass, great pattern, great call. This is fun. 31-24, Browns down by 7. Don’t give up hope. Oh wait. The defense has to come back on the field.

Can’t blame Pat Shurmer for throwing the challenge flag on the catch by the Bengals Jermaine Gresham late in the 4th quarter. Someone, probably someone upstairs with access to television monitors, thought the Browns could get the play reversed.

Interesting call to go for the field goal with :20 left in the game, cutting the Bengal lead to 7 — rather than go for it on 4th down and hope for a TD. Not sure if I would have done it that way. And the onside kick….. DOESN’T WORK. So, uh, no. I’d have definitely gone for the TD on 4th down.


Browns lose 34-27, and are now 0-2. The defense had issues. The offense didn’t have nearly as many as in Week 1. And I got my wish and then some. In my estimation, not only did Weeden and Richardson both improve, they both ended up with very good games. Richardson had 19 carries, for 109 yards and a touchdown. He also caught four passes for 36 yards and another TD. Weeden was equally as god, if not better — 26 of 37, 322 yards, 2 TDs and ) interceptions. I repeat, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions.

No moral victories in this loss, but significant improvement by the offense. SInce that’s the side of the ball that the Browns focused on in the draft, it’s nothing but encouraging. I can’t say, with all the injuries and the Haden suspension, that I expected the defense to play a great game. The Browns were going to have to outscore Cincinnati, and they couldn’t. But the fact that they came close is a great sign.