Hardesty Injured in 1st half vs. Bears

Browns rookie running back Montario Hardesty was the lead story in the first half of the final preseason game Thursday night. Hardesty scored a touchdown on his fourth carry, then injured his knee early in the second half.

CLEVELAND — In the first half of the Browns final preseason game there wasn't much of a story line while players battled for roster spots. The Browns and Bears are tied at 10.

The big story of the first half was the debut of Montario Hardesty. He scored the Browns first touchdown as he carried the ball on all three plays after the Bears turned the ball over on the Browns' 13.

Hardesty looked good in the early going. He had seven carries for 25 yards, including the touchdown.

In the second quarter, Hardesty went down with what was called a left leg injury after a short carry. It appeared to be either his ankle or knee. The Browns said his return was questionable. It was unrelated to the bone bruise on his right knee that kept him out of the first three preseason games.

Hardesty walked off without a limp but was immediately surrounded by several trainers and doctors.  After conferring on the sideline for several minutes, he walked to the locker room with a team doctor with a slight limp.

Other than Hardesty's injury, Colt McCoy started and was 10-of-10 for 93 yards with a long of 16 yards.

The Bears jumped out to a 7-0 lead with 10:00 to play in the first quarter as they turned another Browns' fumble into a quick score as McCoy and center Shawn Lauvao mishandled the first offensive snap and it was recovered by Kevin Malast at the Browns' 19 and three plays later, Todd Collins hit tight end Greg Olsen for a 15-yard touchdown. After two short plays, Olsen got behind DeAngelo Smith for the score on third-and-six.

The Browns tied the game at 3:40 to play in the first quarter as Hardesty scored from one-yard out. Hardesty, seeing his first action of the preseason, carried all three times for the 13 yards in the short drive. The score was set up as the Bears returned the favor and fumbled the ball back to the Browns at the Bears' 13 as Jason Trusnik fell on the ball. Quarterback Todd Collins was trying to call a timeout when the ball was snapped over his head by Josh Beekman.

Hardesty carried the ball over the right side for six yards to the seven and then again for six more to inside the one. On first-and-goal, Hardesty plowed in for the score to tie the game at 7-7.

The Browns took a 10-7 lead with 3:29 to play in the first half as Phil Dawson kicked a 24-yard field. The Browns went 69 yards in 11 plays for the score, taking over six minutes off the clock. The Browns moved with McCoy hitting Syndric Steptoe for 16 yards and then a 16 yard pass to Joel Gamble to the Bears' 28. James Davis took over for the injured Hardesty and had a run of eight yards and a 12-yard pick up on a pass from McCoy to the Bears' seven. McCoy was 4-of-4 for 44 yards and a sack on the drive.

The Bears tied the game at 10-10 with a 46-yard field goal by Robbie Gould after the Bears moved the ball 42 yards on eight plays.


Colt's Turn: Rookie QB Colt McCoy started in place of QB Jake Delhomme and was 10-of-10 for 93 yards with two sacks and a fumble. His QB rating was an impressive 105.4. Both Delhomme and QB Seneca Wallace were suited up but did not play. McCoy got off to a bad start as he and fellow rookie Shawn Lauvao mishandled the opening snap and the Bears recovered on the 19. They turned the fumble into a touchdown. McCoy completed his first pass to TE Evan Moore for five yards, but was sacked on third-and-one. McCoy found RB James Davis three times for 38 yards. He led the Browns down field at the end of the first half and the drive resulted in a missed 58-yard field goal by K Phil Dawson.

James Makes His Bid: Capitalizing on Hardesty's injury, RB James Davis had seven rushes for 33 yards and three receptions for 38 yards after subbing for Hardesty.

Sacks: LB David Bowens and DL Brian Schaefering combined to get the Browns only sack in the first half.

Active Marcus: LB Marcus Benard had seven tackles in the first quarter and had eight for the half. LB David Veikune and DB Larry Asante had four.

Bubba Who: DB Ray Ventrone made a nice play when the Bears went for it on fourth-and-one from the Browns' 20. Ventrone dove and broke up a pass near the sideline to give the Browns the ball.

For Starters: LB David Veikune, LB David Bowens, LB Jason Trusnik were starting linebackers, while CB Brandon McDonald and Joe Haden started at cornerback. Rookies Larry Asante and T.J. Ward were the starting safeties. Brian Schaefering and Derreck Robinson started on the defensive line. Robinson had a tackle for a four-yard loss on the first series as he burst through and dropped the running back. On offense, Shawn Lauvao started at center with Pat Murray at left guard and Scott Kooistra at left tackle. Billy Yates was at right guard and Tony Pashos at right tackle. Joel Gamble started at tight end. Carlton Mitchell and Jake Allen were at wide receivers with Montario Hardesty at running back. Alex Smith lined up as the fullback.

Old Friend: OL Kevin Shaffer is the backup left tackle for the Bears.

Inactives: For the Browns: DB Nick Sorenson, LB D'Qwell Jackson, DL C. J. Mosley, OL Floyd Womack, OL John St. Clair, TE Robert Royal and DL Shaun Rogers. For the Bears: QB Jay Cutler, QB Caleb Hanie, S Craig Steltz, S Major Wright, LB Nick Roach, LB Brian Urlacher, LB Lance Briggs, C Olin Kreutz, WR Earl Bennett, LB Hunter Hillenmeyer.

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