Both the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions are trying to shake their bad reputations that precede them.
Both are trying to establish a new era and that era includes a lot of winning.
Both teams are on the rise, so this was an interesting matchup from the start. Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden was getting his first start since Week 2.
Meanwhile, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford opened up the scoring with a one-yard touchdown pass to the undrafted free agent rookie tight end Joseph Fauria.
Weeden and the Browns responded nicely though by tying it at seven on Weeden’s four-yard pass to running back Chris Ogbonnaya. Weeden also set up a two-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Greg Little a few possessions later, giving the Browns a 14-7 lead.
A Billy Cundiff 40-yard field goal with eight seconds left made it 17-7 heading into halftime. The Browns just completely dominated the first half. Even though Weeden got intercepted by Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy in the second quarter, to his credit, he didn’t let that affect him. The Browns had full control. The Lions' offense and defense were just overpowered.
The high-powered Lions' offense gained only 109 yards in the first half. It looked like the Browns were going to run away with this game. Well, that didn’t happen. Whatever Lions Coach Jim Schwartz said at halftime, it sure did work.
The Lions came out in the second half, looking like a completely different team. The Lions marched down the field in the third quarter with a 79-yard drive, ending with an 18-yard touchdown pass to running back Reggie Bush. That made it a little closer as it was then 17-14 Browns lead.
The Lions didn’t stop there. Early in the fourth quarter, Fauria caught his second touchdown pass of the day. This one was a 23-yarder and gave the Lions a 21-17 lead. We also got to see a Jimmy Graham-esque dunk on the field goal post by Fauria, who is a big man at 6’7”.
A David Akers field goal later made it 24-17 Lions. With the Browns trailing 24-17 in the second half, they needed to play mistake free to be able to comeback. Unfortunately for the Browns, Weeden threw another pick on a first down, instead of taking a sack or throwing it away.
That was Weeden’s second interception of the day and it was once again picked off by Levy. As the Lions drove down the field, they eventually got into field goal position. But instead of going for the field goal with 2:01 left in the game, the Lions went for the jugular and scored yet another touchdown as Stafford connected with Fauria for the hat trick. That sealed the road victory for the Lions making it 31-17.
Matthew Stafford played well as he finished the game going 25 of 43 for 248 yards. Stafford really played much more efficient in the second half. His second half numbers were 15 of 21 for 165 yards and three touchdowns within the final 30 minutes.
Running back Reggie Bush also had a good day as he finished with 135 total yards, with 121 of those yards coming from the second half. The Lions offense isn’t the only unit that turned it around though. The Lions' defense also did its part in the second half and limited the Browns to only six yards and no first downs in the third quarter.
Sure Brandon Weeden made some mistake, but you really have to give credit to the Detroit Lions for adjusting and just dominating the second half. The Lions really showed that they can be very resilient and they proved that their offense can get hot at any time. They now improve to 4-2 on the season and are in first place in the NFC North.