Welcome to the topsy-turvy world of the Cleveland Browns. The infusion of young skill position players was supposed to vastly improve the offense. Injuries and lack of offseason attention threatened to downgrade the defense.
So what happened in Week 1? Quarterback Brandon Weeden (12-35-118, 0 TDs, 4 INTs) looked terrible. He finished with a 5.1 QB rating. Running back Trent Richardson (19-39) showed little burst and saw no holes. The offense was horrble. And the defense performed so brilliantly the Browns almost won, anyway.
Go figure. And, oh yes, the 17-16 loss to Philadelphia dropped the Browns to 1-13 in season openers since they returned to Cleveland in 1999.
QB Michael Vick (29-56-317, 2 TDs, 4 INTs) matched Weeden pick for pick, and his team's offensive strategy proved perplexing. The Eagles averaged five yards a carry but stuck to the aerial attack until they just couldn't allow Vick to pass any more. If not for a strong performance by the secondary, Philadelphia would be looking for its first win next week.
When the game turned: Vick, who had played horribly, threaded the needle for a 4-yard TD to TE Clay Harbor with 1:18 remaining to give the Eagles the 17-16 lead. Weeden then tossed another of his many overthrows on the next play and the Browns were cooked.
Highlight moments: Richardson burst over the middle, collided with Eagles FS Kurt Coleman and knocked his helmet off. It wasn't a huge play in the game, but it drew one heck of a reaction from the sellout crowd.
What they said about the dropped INT by LB L.J. Fort, which was followed by the winning TD for the Eagles:
- Browns LB D'Qwell Jackson -- “You have to be prepared every snap. He'll have another opportunity to make that play. I think it was a great learning experience for him.”
- Browns coach Pat Shurmur -- “That would have been a nice way to end the game. Unfortunately, we didn't.”
- Browns LB L.J. Fort -- "We repped that all the time in practice. I read it perfectly. He threw it right to me. It just went through my hands. I should have made that play, definitely."
Numbers you should know: Richardson was the lone Browns running back to carry the ball. He rushed for 39 yards and averaged 2.1 yards per carry. Eagles running backs rushed for 145 yards and 5.0 yards per carry. It's no wonder Philadelphia boasted a time of possession of 34:58 to 24:02 for the Browns.
Injury update: Browns CB Sheldon Brown was diagnosed with a stinger. He left in the second quarter and didn't return.
Going forward: The complete debacle offensively that affected every unit makes it difficult to be optimistic as the Browns prepare to play at Cincinnati next Sunday. Unless Weeden and Richardson play far more effectively and the offensive line opens up holes as well as it did in the preseason, the Browns will be doomed in any game, anywhere. Buffalo and Baltimore follow on the schedule, but the importance of taking things one game at a time grew after this offensive performance.
Stay dialed in on the Cleveland Browns on Twitter at @CBSBrowns throughout the season with on-site updates from CBSSports.com RapidReports correspondent Marty Gitlin.