With not much more than players fighting for roster spots at stake, the Clevleand Browns closed the preseason with 24-14 loss to the Chicago Bears at Solider Field. It was the Browns' third consecutive preseason loss, as they finished 1-3.
The majority of the Browns' starters and key contributors suited up but did not play for either team. That's why NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants to play two preseason games instead of four. Coaches are worried about injuries and with roster cut downs in less than two days, the majority of the game was played by players who will not be wearing an NFL uniform come Sept. 11.
"Everybody that is playing is fighting to either keep a job or win one," Pat Shurmur said. "That is the mindset."
The Bears built a 17-0 lead before the Browns scored with 1 minute, 29 seconds to play in the first half. The Browns had not made a first down until their scoring drive. Meanwhile, the Browns committed eight penalties for 68 yards to no penalties by the Bears in the first half alone.
"We got points at the end of the half," Shurmur said. "But, you kill yourself with penalties and keep drives alive, and we can't do that."
The Bears took the opening kickoff and marched to the Browns' 6-yard-line before stalling and settling for a 22-yard field goal by Robbie Gould with 7:24 to play in the first quarter to make it 3-0. The Bears had the ball for 16 plays and 76 yards in 7:36. Caleb Hanie was 4-of-7 for 53 yards. Chester Taylor ran for 12 yards and caught a pass for 11. The big play was when former Ohio State wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher caught a 22-yard pass from Hanie to the Browns' six.
After a three-and-out on the Browns first possession, the Bears scored on their next possession as Johnny Knox caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Hanie with 1:47 to play in the first quarter to make it 10-0. The Bears went 67 yards on eight plays in 3:54. Knox beat DeAngelo Smith and Buster Skrine on the play.
The first quarter was all Bears as Chicago had 121 yards to the Browns' seven. The Bears had the ball for 12:16 to the Browns' 2:44. The Browns didn't stop the Bears until they switched to their third quarterback in the second quarter.
The Bears increased their lead to 17-0 with 5:08 to play in the first half as Robert Hughes went in from two yards out. The Bears went 50 yards in nine plays and took 4:42 off the clock. The drive was kept alive by three penalties on the Browns. An illegal contact penalty and pass interference penalty by rookie James Dockery, sandwiched by a personal foul on Brian Schaefering set the Bears up.
The Browns finally were able to get something going and a six-yard touchdown run by Armond Smith with 1:29 to play in the first half made it 17-7. The Browns went 74 yards in nine plays, taking 3:39 off the clock.
The Browns had done very little until late in the second quarter on offense. Their first completed pass and first down came with under five minutes to play in the half as Seneca Wallace hit Brian Robiskie on a crossing pattern for 21 yards. Robiskie caught another pass to get the ball to the Bears' 15 at the two-minute warning. The duo hooked up on the next play to the six. Robiskie caught three passes for 39 yards on the drive.
After the two Robiskie receptions, Smith went up the middle for the six-yard score.
The Browns took the second half kickoff and stalled at the Bears' one after holding the ball for 10:16 after 17 plays and 78 yards. Jarrett Brown was at the helm for the drive. He was 7-of-7 for 43 yards on the drive with his longest completion to Rod Windsor for 11 yards. He also hooked up with Demetrius Williams for nine yards.
After Quinn Porter was stopped at the one-yard line the Browns went for it on fourth-and-one and Owen Marecic was stopped short of the goal line over the left side, but the Bears were offside for the Bears first penalty of the game. It didn't matter as Marecic tried to go over the right side on the second try and again was stopped short of the goal line.
After not scoring, the Browns got the ball back early in the fourth quarter and trimmed the lead to 17-14 with 11:43 to play in the game as Brown hit Windsor for a 38-yard touchdown. The Browns went 76 yards on six plays taking 2:42 off the clock. Windsor led the Browns with three receptions for 55 yards, including the touchdown.
Brown scrambled for 12 yards to get the drive going and an unnecessary roughness penalty on Winston Venable moved the ball to the Bears' 41. After a three-yard run by Porter, Brown hit Windsor in stride for the score.
The Bears put the game away when Hughes scored his second touchdown of the game from one-yard out with 5:56 to play to make it 24-14. The score was set up when Deron Minor intercepted a Brown pass intended for Jordan Cameron and returned it 30 yards to the Browns' 22. After a short pass to Hughes moved the ball to the one, he then scored on the short run.
No Colt: QB Colt McCoy did not start. QB Seneca Wallace started in his place. Wallace was 4-of-9 for 52 yards and a QB rating of 63.2. He was sacked twice. QB Jarrett Brown played the entire second half. He was 7-of-7 for 43 yards on his first drive and finished 10-of-15 for 92 yards. He had a touchdown and an interception and was sacked twice. His rating was 77.6. He rushed four times for 24 yards.
Slow First: The Browns didn't get a first down until Wallace hit WR Brian Robiskie for a 21-yard completion and a first down with 4:51 to play in the first half. It was also the Browns first completed pass of the game.
Demetrius Down: WR Demetrius Williams, in a battle to make the team, made a leaping grab of a ball from QB Jarrett Brown, but was hit in the helmet and took a while to get up. The Bears' Winston Venable were flagged for a personal foul, but the extent of Williams' injury was unknown. He was taken to the locker room and finished with two catches for 10 yards.
Little Playing Time: DL Phil Taylor and DL Jabaal Sheard were the only two projected starters that started against the Bears on defense. On offense, again the only players projected to start as of now were FB Owen Marecic and LG Jason Pinkston. Sheard was flagged for hitting the quarterback late in the first quarter. He was off side on the next play.
Robo Time: Third year veteran WR Brian Robiskie did start and played through the first quarter. WR Jordan Norwood, Greg Little played and Demetrius Williams, as well, while Mohamed Massaquoi, Josh Cribbs and Carlton Mitchell did not. WR Evan Moore lined up wide as a receiver in a couple of sets. Robiskie caught three passes for 39 yards.
O-Line Shuffle: The Browns played Brandon Braxton at left tackle, Jason Pinkston at left guard, Steve Vallos center, Pat Murray/Phil Trautwein at right guard and John Greco at right tackle. Braxton was called for grabbing the face mask. The line gave up a sack and Wallace was running for his life most of the first half as they gave up two sacks.
English Major: DL Auston English picked up his third and fourth sacks of the preseason. English had two tackles and two sacks. English might've picked up his third sack, but was held just before he got to the quarterback in the fourth quarter.
Armond Hammer: RB Armond Smith scored his second touchdown of the preseason in his bid to make the roster. He had 11 carries for 47 yards and three receptions for 21 yards. RB Quinn Porter had five carries for 17 yards. He also had a punt return for 30 yards in the fourth quarter.
Temper, Temper: DL Brian Schaefering was called for a personal foul penalty in the second quarter that moved the ball to the Browns' 21. Schaefering looked as though he injured his shoulder in the fourth quarter and had to come out of the game. He did return a few plays later.
Paxson Flashes: One of the defensive linemen fighting for a starting job, DL Scott Paxson had his hands on the Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie on the first series, but couldn't bring him down. He was credited with a sack for no yards later on. He then picked up his second sack late in the game.
Dockery Docked: DB James Dockery was flagged for multiple penalties against the Bears. He had a pass interference call on the Bears' first possession. Dockery started in the defensive backfield and he returned the first kickoff to the Browns' 23. Dockery broke up a pass in the end zone intended to WR Earl Bennett. He also intercepted a pass that was called back after an illegal contact call. He picked up a pass interference penalty to give the Bears a first down inside the 10 in the second quarter.
Flag Day: The Browns were penalized eight times for 68 yards in the first half to zero by the Bears, including three on the Bears' third scoring drive. The Browns finished with 10 penalties for 83 yards.
Taylor a Candidate for Browns?: RB Chester Taylor, formerly of Toledo, might be released by the Bears and could be someone the Browns could pick up to replace RB Brandon Jackson. The Bears acquired RB Marion Barber in the off-season to back up RB Matt Forte. Rookie RB Khalil Bell has had a good preseason and might've made Taylor expendable.
White on White: The Browns announced they will wear white jerseys and white pants at home games.
Big Night for Former Buckeye: Former Ohio State WR Dane Sanzenbacher had a big game with four receptions for 50 yards. He also returned a punt over 50 yards for a touchdown, but it was called back for a penalty.
The Turk Looms: NFL rosters must get down to the league limit of 53 players by Saturday. The Browns have 80 players currently on the roster and must trim 27 in the next 48 hours. Around the NFL, over 800 players will be released and the Browns might add several players that are cut by other teams.