Lions, Defense Struggle in 17-10 Loss To Browns

After a hot start, the Detroit Lions cooled off and never regained momentum in a 17-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

If it wasn't confirmed a week ago, Joey Harrington's favorite target is now officially Charles Rogers.

On the heels of a nice dual performance in last week's win over Pittsburgh, Harrington and second-year receiver Charles Rogers hooked up early in the first quarter Saturday on a 10-yard touchdown completion.

Unfortunately, it would be the Lions only touchdown in a 17-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

The Harrington-to-Rogers connection capped a 7-play, 34-yard drive by Detroit that started on a fumble recovery by the Lions' defense. The drive also included a nice showing by Lions' rookie running back Kevin Jones, who carried 3 times on the drive for 13 yards, including an 8-yard scamper.

Harrington was 2 of 3 on the drive for 16 yards, handing the Lions a 7-0 lead.

The Browns, on their second drive, evened up the scoring on an 8-yard run by running back Lee Suggs, on a drive that included a 25-yard connection between quarterback Jeff Garcia and controversial rookie tight end Kellen Winslow.

The Lions would struggle offensively on their next two possessions, including one that ended in a blocked Jason Hanson field goal.

Harrington, replaced by backup Mike McMahon later in the half, finished 5-of-12 for 45 yards, and no interceptions. In his first game action, Jones led the Lions in rushing with 29 yards on 6 carries, including an 11-yard run.  

In the second quarter, the Browns' offense would exploit a weak Lions' run defense, compiling a 9-play, 62 yard drive that included runs of 25 and 15 for Suggs, the latter ending in the endzone. Facing a 4th and 6 at one point on the drive, Lions' defensive tackle Shaun Rogers was flagged for encroachment, giving new life to the Browns who immediately cash in.

The run defense has been an issue that has drawn concern out of Lions' camp, and even led to the removal of third-year defensive end Kalimba Edwards from his starting position.

The Lions trailed 14-7 at halftime, after yielding 104 yards on just 17 carries. In the second half the two teams exchanged field goals, with neither team posing much of a threat offensively.

In extended playing time, McMahon finished 11-of-17 for 86 yards. Back-up tight end Casey Fitsimmons led the Lions in receiving with 3 catches for 33 yards, while Az-Zahir Hakim and Avon Cobourne had three receptions apeice as well. 

Jeff Garcia was 5-of-7 for 55 yards for Cleveland, while Suggs led the Browns in rushing with 63 yards on 6 carries, and two touchdowns.

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