It may have only been an exhibition, but the Cleveland Browns got off to a strong start in their 2013 campaign, cruising through the St. Louis Rams, 27-19, on Friday night. Preseason performances have to be taken with grains of salt, but Cleveland fans certainly have plenty to be enthused about after their starters jumped out to a 17-0 lead en route to the big win.
The story of the game was quarterback Brandon Weeden, who went 10-of-13 for 112 yards and a touchdown, most likely finishing off any type of quarterback controversy in Browns camp. First-year head coach Rob Chudzinski hasn't officially named Weeden the starter, but after Friday's performance, it certainly seems it's his job to lose.
After a field goal on the Browns' opening drive, Weeden capped the second drive with a two-yard touchdown pass to running back Dion Lewis. After the Brown's defense forced a three-and-out on the ensuing possession, Travis Benjamin fielded the resulting punt and raced untouched 91 yards back for the score to make it 17-0 just moments into the second quarter.
While the Brown's defensive backups allowed the Rams to close the gap, it was an overall dominating performance from a team that won just five games last season.
Charles Pokorny of Dawgs by Nature was impressed by the team's all-around performance, writing that they seemed to be clicking all around during the preseason win.
The Browns' quarterbacks were very accurate, completing 76% of their passes as a team... The wide receivers didn't drop passes. The offensive line blocked exceptionally well for Weeden. The defense was hard-hitting. There are things to nitpick on, sure, but this was a spirit-lifting effort by the Browns, something that Cleveland fans needed, especially with the poor streak the Cleveland Indians are on.