Browns beat Lions 19-17 with Wolfert’s late FGBy LARRY LAGE, AP Sports Writer Saturday, Aug 11, 2012
DETROIT (AP)—The Detroit Lions won every preseason game last year and went on to make the playoffs for the first time since the 1999 season.
Detroit dropped its first exhibition this year, blowing an 11-point lead in a 19-17 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Friday night, but coach Jim Schwartz tried to put his disappointment into context.
“Let’s be clear: preseason games, we don’t use them as a barometer,” Schwartz said. “But you want to play well and I don’t think we played well on offense, defense or special teams from the beginning to the very end.”
Backup quarterback Shaun Hill led two touchdown drives in the first half to put the Lions (No. 11 in the AP Pro 32) ahead 14-3.
When all of the reserves for both teams took over in the second half, the Browns outscored Detroit 16-3.
Jeff Wolfert’s 45-yard field goal with 28 seconds left won it for Cleveland (No. 30) after the Lions stopped Adonis Thomas on a 2-point conversion with 6:05 left to keep the lead, but couldn’t keep the ball to seal a win.
“Regardless of whether or not they count, it is always more fun to win,” Cleveland coach Pat Shurmur said. “I told our guys that, and they made some plays to put us in position to do that.”
The banged-up Browns won, but might have another loss on their depleted roster.
“We followed league protocols,” Shurmur said. “When he’s healthy he will play again. Not before that.”
Massaquoi was limited the past two seasons because of concussions, including one that knocked him out of a game last October.
The Lions didn’t risk Matthew Stafford getting hurt for very long, allowing him to play less than a quarter.
Stafford is coming off a breakout season in which he threw for 5,000-plus yards and 41 TDs while ending the franchise’s 11-year playoff drought.
But he was far from spectacular against the Browns.
“We had rookies starting against a team that went 10-6 last year, and we were able to make some plays against them,” Shurmur said. “That was good to see.”
Stafford’s first drive of the preseason ended when Joe Haden broke up a pass. Stafford seemed to throw a pass early, sensing pressure that didn’t appear to be there, and his pass intended for Brandon Pettigrew was picked off by Sheldon Brown to stop Detroit’s second possession.
“I had to cut it loose earlier than I wanted to,” Stafford said. “Pettigrew and I weren’t on the same page.”
Stafford provided a flashback to last year, throwing a 27-yard pass to All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson, on his third and final drive that ended quietly at midfield.
Hill was 8 of 12 for 83 yards and a TD.
He set up Keiland Williams’ 5-yard TD late in the first quarter with a 27-yard pass to Maurice Stovall. The backup quarterback connected with Stefan Logan on a 3-yard pass to put the Lions ahead by 11 points.
Backup kicker Derek Dimke’s 40-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter gave Detroit a 17-10 lead.
Thomas ran for a 3-yard score to pull the Browns within a point and their defense got the ball back for fourth-string quarterback Thaddeus Lewis to lead the game-winning drive.
The Browns were without rookie running back Trent Richardson, the No. 3 pick in the draft, because he had surgery on his left knee earlier in the week.
Weeden was 3 of 9 for 62 yards with an interception and a fumble.
“I know my numbers didn’t look good, but I’m not a numbers guy,” said Weeden, the 22nd pick in the draft. “This was my first time out, and there was some good and some bad.”
Weeden ended his first possession as a pro by fumbling, a turnover forced and recovered by Willie Young.
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