CLEVELAND – The Dolphins’ touchdown midway through the third quarter propelled them to a 13-10 lead over the Browns after three quarters of the opener at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Ryan Tannehill beat an all-out blitz on third-and-9 with a 12-yard completion to Brandon Gibson. Two plays later, he hit former Ohio State receiver Brian Hartline for a 34-yard touchdown pass and a 13-7 lead.
Cornerback Buster Skrine was beat as Hartline faked an out and continued deep.
The Browns defense could’ve been off the field, but strong safety T.J. Ward previously dropped an interception in the end zone.
Cleveland kicker Billy Cundiff, who joined the team Tuesday, made a 39-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 13-10 with 3:02 left.
Brandon Weeden put the Browns in field-goal range with completions of 21 yards to tight end Jordan Cameron, 18 to running back Trent Richardson and 20 yards to Travis Benjamin.
Here are some observations:
** Second-year right tackle Mitchell Schwartz gave up his second sack to Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake.
** Defensive end Billy Winn left the game temporarily with cramps. He started in place of Ahtyba Rubin, who was inactive with a calf injury.
** Cornerback Joe Haden dropped an interception to start the second half.
The Browns committed stupid penalties, Brandon Weeden threw three interceptions and the receivers had balls bounce off their hands for much of the first half.
Yet the Browns led the Dolphins 7-6 at halftime of the season opener at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Weeden threw a beautiful 7-yard touchdown to tight end Jordan Cameron with 28 seconds left in the second quarter to salvage a sloppy half.
Weeden threw four interceptions in the opener last year as a rookie. He had three in the first half today, but two went off the hands of his receivers.
A third-down cross to Greg Little bounced into the air and was intercepted by cornerback Dimitri Patterson, who made a juggling catch that was initially ruled an incompletion but changed by replay.
Until the late touchdown, the turning point of the half was a Cameron touchdown that wasn’t.
Cameron caught a pass down the right sideline from Weeden and went to the ground, but got up and raced into the end zone. The officials initially called it a touchdown before saying Cameron had been touched by a Dolphins defender at the 27-yard line.
Rookie head coach Rob Chudzinski decided not to challenge, and on the next play a Weeden pass slightly behind Cameron went off his hands, bounded into the air and into the arms of Patterson.
Patterson was with the Browns in 2011 and last year until being cut in December.
Weeden finished the half 12-for-21 for 118 yards, a touchdown, three interceptions, a sack and a 49.4 rating.
Here are some more observations:
** Defensive end Desmond Bryant, a signature pickup in free agency, has two third-down sacks.
** Free safety Tashaun Gipson got an interception and 29-yard return off a ball deflected by inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson. It set up the Cleveland touchdown.
** Right guard Oniel Cousins was flagged for hands to the face and a hold. The hands-to-the-face penalty wiped out a completion to Davone Bess for a first down.
** Miami rookie Caleb Sturgis is 2-for-2, including a 49-yard field goal into the Dawg Pound.
** The Browns are looking for their first season-opening win since 2004. They are 1-13 in openers, including 1-12 at home.
** Running back Trent Richardson carried four times on the game’s first drive for 26 yards. He had carries of 9 and 10.
** Quarterback Brandon Weeden threw two interceptions.
He was intercepted to end the first drive. On third-and-8 from the Miami 40-yard line, he threw deep to receiver Travis Benjamin on a post-corner route. Weeden was hit, the ball hung up in double coverage and was intercepted by Nolan Carroll at the 1-yard line.
Weeden was picked with 10 seconds left when the ball bounced off receiver Greg Little’s hands. Dolphins cornerback Dimitri Patterson, who played for the Browns for two years, made a juggling catch for the interception.
** The Browns came out in a two-tight end formation with Jordan Cameron and Gary Barnidge and used the personnel grouping a lot in the quarter.
** Benjamin started at receiver in place of Josh Gordon, who’s suspended for the first two games. Benjamin dropped a third-down slant on the second possession and failed to catch a punt.
** New offensive coordinator Norv Turner used Weeden in the pistol on one snap, went no huddle for a play and called two formations with both tight ends in the backfield along with Richardson.
** Chris Owens started at cornerback in place of Buster Skrine. Skrine, who didn’t practice Friday with a shoulder injury, played in the nickel package.
** New running back Bobby Rainey returned one kickoff for 27 yards to the 19-yard line.