Mayfield sharp as Browns bag Lions
Rookie QB has dominant first half
Baker Mayfield threw for 138 yards in a dominant first half for Cleveland, and the Browns wrapped up the preseason with a 35-17 victory over the Detroit Lions on Thursday night.
Mayfield completed a 41-yard pass to Devon Cajuste on the first play from scrimmage, and the top overall pick in this year’s draft looked sharp throughout his two quarters directing Cleveland’s offense.
With Tyrod Taylor atop the depth chart at quarterback, the Browns are likely to bring Mayfield along slowly. But if the rookie doesn’t play again for a while, this was a nice note to finish on before the start of the regular season.
Nick Chubb and Matthew Dayes ran for touchdowns for Cleveland in what was generally a battle of backups.
The Lions closed out an uninspiring preseason under new coach Matt Patricia. They were booed off the field at halftime by the sparse crowd at Ford Field with the score 25-0.
Jake Rudock did little to distinguish himself in the competition to back up quarterback Matthew Stafford. When he was taken out late in the second quarter, the Lions had been outgained 261-40 and had only two first downs — and both of those came on Cleveland penalties.
Matt Cassel took over at quarterback and led Detroit down the field in the 2-minute drill. Then, defensive lineman Nate Orchard made a leaping interception near the line of scrimmage and ran it back 64 yards for a touchdown with 28 seconds left in the half.
Cleveland went for 2, and the Lions were called for roughing the passer. Detroit was then called for having 12 men in formation. Dontrell Hilliard eventually ran the ball in to make it 25-0.
Dayes had 77 yards on eight carries, and his touchdown came from 42 yards out in the second quarter.
The Lions had 2 yards rushing in the first half.
Rudock returned to the game in the second half, but it was more of the same for Detroit until the Lions finally scored a couple touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
The Lions were outscored 68-16 in the first half this preseason.
Orchard’s touchdown could be a big play for the 25-year-old lineman. A second-round draft pick in 2015, he started 11 games that season but has only two starts since.
Nobody appeared to be kneeling for the national anthem.
The Browns host the Pittsburgh Steelers in their season opener Sept. 9.