Cleveland—At least we know who the quarterback is.
It really didn't matter as Adrian Peterson broke loose in the second half for 155 yards and two touchdowns to blow open the game and the Vikings cruised to a 34-20 season opening win over the Browns. Overall, Peterson had 180 yards and three touchdowns.
The Browns are now 1-10 in home openers since 1999.
Brady Quinn made his much anticipated start and was 21-of-35 for 205 yards, but he turned the ball over twice, leading to 10 Vikings points and becoming a turning point in a game that was close up until then.
The Browns scored with just 28 seconds left as Quinn hit tight end Robert Royal for a 26-yard touchdown. Otherwise, the only Browns touchdown was a 67-yard punt return by Josh Cribbs that gave the Browns a 13-10 halftime lead.
The Browns scored the first points of the season as Phil Dawson kicked a 37-yard field goal with 11:28 to play in the first quarter after an eight play, 31 yard drive. The Browns started at their own 49 after the Vikings attempted an onside kick on the opening play of the game. Abram Elam recovered and the Browns started in good field position. After Jamal Lewis had a seven-yard run to start the game, the Browns picked up their first first down when Cribbs rushed for five yards out of the shotgun. The big play on the drive was an 18-yard pass to tight end Robert Royal which moved the ball to the Vikings' 22. Quinn was 2–of-4 for 19 yards on the first drive.
The Vikings tied the game with three seconds to play in the first quarter as Ryan Longwell hit a 21-yard field. The Vikings ran 12 plays and covered 46 yards taking 6:52 off the clock. The Vikings had a first and goal at the four, but the Browns were able to hold off the Vikings from getting into the end zone. On third and goal from the three, Brett Favre threw over Sidney Rice's head in the end zone forcing the field goal. The Vikings started on a short field after a short 31-yard punt by Dave Zastudil.
The Vikings took a 10-3 lead with 11:09 to play in the second quarter as Peterson went in from the one. After a three-and-out by the Browns, Darius Reynaud returned a punt 45 yards to the Browns 23. Nick Sorenson and Kaluka Maiva missed tackle opportunities on the play. Favre hit Peterson on a swing pass for 18 yards to the Browns' three. Two plays later, Peterson went in from the one.
After the Vikings' touchdown, the Browns made it 10-6 with 5:57 to play as Dawson booted a 20-yard field goal after having the ball inside the one. The Browns started at their 26 and drove 71 yards to the Vikings' three.
Quinn hit Lawrence Vickers for 12 yards and then Jamal Lewis had a 15-yard run to the Vikings' 46. After a seven-yard pass to Steve Heiden, Quinn threw deep to Braylon Edwards, who made a tremendous catch for an apparent touchdown. However, Benny Sapp interfered with Edwards and pushed Edwards out of bounds at the six. The Vikings challenged and the touchdown was called back. After a three-yard run by Lewis, and back-to-back attempts by Cribbs from the one, the Browns were turned back and limited to a field goal.
After stopping the Vikings deep inside their own 10, Chris Kluwe punted and Cribbs took the punt and returned it 67 yards for a touchdown and the Browns took the lead at 10-6 with 1:30 to play in the first half.
The Vikings took the second half kickoff and quickly regained the lead 17-13 on a one-yard run by Peterson. Percy Harvin started it off with a kickoff return to the 45. After picking up a couple of first downs, the Vikings score was set up on a pass interference on Brandon McDonald as he ran into Sidney Rice inside the five. Peterson went in from the one with 10:07 to play in the third quarter after the Browns had stopped him on first and second down to give the Vikings the lead.
After Quinn threw an interception to Cedric Griffin, the Vikings marched down field in 13 plays, 82 yards to increase their lead to 24-13 as Favre threw his first touchdown pass as a Viking to Harvin with 1:06 from six yards. The Vikings took over seven minutes on the drive and Peterson was featured on the drive with a long run of 19 yards. The Browns had started the drive with 14- and 8-yard runs by Lewis that took the ball to the 50. However, the Browns tried to go downfield and the interception cost them.
The Vikings extended their lead to 27-13 with 6:55 as Longwell kicked a 37-yard field goal after Quinn fumbled. Quinn was rolling out and lost the ball trying to throw the ball and Kevin Williams recovered the ball inside the Browns' 30.
Peterson capped his game with a 64-yard run in which he broke at least four tackles to make the score 34-13 with 5:58 to play.
The Browns made the final 34-20 with just 29 seconds left to play as Quinn hit Royal for a 26-yard score as the Browns went 80 yards in nine plays in the waning moments.
Brady's Debut: In his first start to open a season, QB Brady Quinn led the Browns to a field goal in their first possession. On the second possession, the Browns were forced to punt after an illegal block on WR Braylon Edwards put them in a third-and-14 situation. He was 7-of-11 for 47 yards in the first half. He was sacked once and his longest pass was for 18 yards to TE Robert Royal. In the third quarter, Quinn threw a pass intended for WR Braylon Edwards and he was intercepted by CB Cedric Griffin. On the next possession, Quinn fumbled on a rollout. The two turnovers resulted in 10 points for the Vikings. Quinn improved his stats when the Browns were down by 21 late in the game as he threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to TE Robert Royal and finished 21–of-35 for 205 yards. He had a touchdown and an interception and a fumble. He was sacked five times.
Drought Over: The Browns ended last season with no offensive touchdowns in the last six games and did not score a touchdown against the Vikings until 28 seconds were left in the game.
Wildcat Cribbs: The Browns lined up WR Josh Cribbs in the QB formation at least four times in the first half, including twice inside the Vikings' five-yard line and resulted in no gains. Cribbs ran once for a first down in the first quarter. However, Cribbs had a 67-yard punt return with 1:30 to play in the second quarter to give the Browns a 13-10 lead. Cribbs has tied Eric Metcalf for the most career returns (7) in Browns history. That was Cribbs' second career punt return for a score, while he has five career kickoff returns. Metcalf had five punt returns and two kickoff returns.
Jammin Jamal: After a dismal preseason where RB Jamal Lewis averaged 2.6 yards per carry, he had 57 yards on 11 carries.
Good Start for D: The Browns defense held the Vikings to a three-and-out on their first series. RB Adrian Peterson had just one yard on two carries in the first series. However, he recovered in the second half and finished with 180 yards and three touchdowns. He finished with a 64 yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Bright Spot: After having a franchise low of just 17 sacks in 2008, the Browns had four sacks on QB Brett Favre. The Browns were able to get some pressure on QB Brett Favre early as DB Abram Elam and DL Kenyon Coleman were able to take Favre down. DB Brodney Pool blitzed and sacked Favre late in the second quarter inside the Vikings' 10. DL Shaun Rogers bull rushed Favre and brought him down despite being held by C John Sullivan. LB Kamerion Wimbley sacked Favre in the fourth quarter.
Down Goes Brady: Quinn was sacked by DL Kevin Williams as Floyd Pork Chop" Womack was beaten in the first quarter and he was sacked five times in the game.
Top Tacklers: LB D'Qwell Jackson had nine tackles, while DB Abe Elam and LB Eric Barton had eight.
Favre Radar: QB Brett Favre was 14–of-21 for 110 yards, with a touchdown. He was sacked twice.
Dawson's 900th: The first field goal that K Phil Dawson kicked was his 900th point as member of the Brows. Dawson kicked a second field goal in the second quarter to give him 903 points.
King in the House: LeBron James was at the game and received a huge ovation when shown on the screen. He stood and acknowledged the fans.
Tricky, Tricky: The Vikings opened the season with an onside kick attempt and Abe Elam recovered at the Browns49.
Inactives: For the Browns: DB Marquis Floyd, DB DeAngelo Smith, RB Jerome Harrison, RB Cedric Peerman, OL Rex Hadnot, TE Martin Rucker and LB Leon Williams. Third QB is Brett Ratliff. Alex Mack started in place of Hank Fraley. For the Vikings: WR Jaymar Johnson, WR Greg Lewis, CB Asher llen, S Jamarca Sanford, LB Erin Henderson, C Kory Lichtensteiger and DT Fred Evans. Sage Rosenfels was the third QB.
Dino Honored: Dino Lucarelli was honored prior to the game for his 35 years of service to the Browns with the coin toss.