DETROIT — The third preseason game is commonly referred to as a dress rehearsal. Consider Jake Delhomme nattily clad.
Delhomme, who played the first half, finished 20-for-25 passing for 152 yards with one touchdown and no interception as the Cleveland Browns lost the Great Lakes Classic thanks to a turnover-sparked comeback by the Detroit Lions 35-27 on Saturday at Ford Field.
"(The Lions) are not that bad," Delhomme said. "It was a good test tonight especially to work against their front four. They did good things against Pittsburgh and Denver."
In three preseason games, Delhomme is 38-for-48 passing for 345 yards and two touchdown passes. He has not thrown an interception.
"I thought he was outstanding tonight and he's been outstanding the whole preseason," Browns coach Eric Mangini said. "He's pretty close to 80 percent completion. The way he runs the offense and gets us into good plays when we're not necessarily in the best situation, that's what I'm looking for from our quarterback. You want him to be efficient, but also be a really good decision maker."
Against Detroit, the Browns' no-huddle offense worked quickly, but also maintained possession. The Browns' three drives that resulted in a touchdown consisted of 15, 10 and nine plays, respectively. In the first half, Cleveland owned time of possession 19:39-10:21.
Meanwhile, the Browns second-teamers relinquished a 10-point halftime lead. Once again, fumbles plagued the Browns.
Detroit capitalized with a 11-play, 70-yard drive ending with a 4-yard touchdown run by Aaron Brown with 9:38 remaining.
On the ensuing possession Browns rookie Colt McCoy got the nod. But five plays into the drive McCoy was stripped by Willie Young.
Once again, Detroit and Brown capitalized. This time it was an seven-play, 40-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard touchdown, giving the Lions a eight-point lead with 4:55 left to play.
The Browns fumbled four times, lost three of them as all three led to 21 points for the Lions.
Regardless of the preseason result, the Browns were met with a scare with 8:04 remaining in the first half.
Browns' kickoff cover man, Nick Sorensen, was met by two Detroit Lions' blockers. Sorensen instantly went to the ground and once the play was whistled dead, his teammates motioned feverishly to the team's medical staff.
The short delay ended with Sorensen being carted off the field. His entire body was strapped down as he was rushed off the field and to a nearby Detroit-area hospital for further examinations and tests. According to Mangini, Sorensen left the hospital walking with his wife, Danielle, who is seven months pregnant.
"He talked a little bit (out on the field)," Mangini said. "More importantly he moved everything, which is the first thing you're looking for. All his tests were negative."
"It's horrible to see anybody laying down on the field like that. It's a reminder how tough this game is and how things can change so dramatically. It's no worse feeling whether it's our guy or anyone else's guy. You don't want to see it."
Offensively, the Browns showcased a no-huddle look throughout the first half. Cleveland racked up 17 first downs and 217 yards (152 passing, 65 rushing).
On the game's opening drive, the Browns drove 45 yards on 15 plays in 7 minutes, 49 seconds culminating in a 35-yard field goal by Phil Dawson. Delhomme directed 13 of those plays. Seneca Wallace played two snaps when the Browns reached the Lions' 10-yard-line.
The Lions answered quickly. On their first play from scrimmage, rookie running back Javid Best, who received the start over Kevin Smith, went 51 yards and two plays later Stafford connected with Bryant Johnson from seven yards out to give the Lions' their only lead of the half at 7-3. The drive lasted 1:28.
Johnson was fronted by Browns cornerback Sheldon Brown, but Brown gave up four inches. Stafford's delivery the ball was just out of Browns' reach.
Defensively, each team has a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
Near the end of the first quarter, Browns defensive lineman Brian Schaeffering forced Kevin Smith to fumble. Eric Wright scooped up the ball and went 44 yards untouched for the score. With 10 yards to go, Wright did his best Deion Sanders impersonation.
The Browns pushed their lead to 17-7 in the second quarter on a 5-yard pass from Delhomme to Lawrence Vickers.
Detroit's offense began to struggle, but a fumble by Jerome Harrison with 3:40 left in the half was picked up by Lions' cornerback Chris Houston and returned 14 yards for a score.
Still, Cleveland ended the half with a 1-yard touchdown run by Peyton Hillis, who capped a nine-play, 78-yard drive that took 3:16 off the clock.
Harrison finished with 34 yards on 11 carries, Hillis had 26 yards on seven carries and a team-high four catches for 40 yards. Josh Cribbs and Evan Moore both caught three balls for 47 and 36 yards, respectively.