Lions Move To 3-and-0 in the Preseason

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) -- Brady Quinn had some legitimate excuses to explain away his lackluster debut as an NFL starter.
He didn't want any of them.
Quinn barely broke the century mark in yards passing and failed to make a big play, helping the Detroit Lions beat the Cleveland Browns 26-6 in an exhibition Saturday.
The former Notre Dame star, taken 22nd overall last year, had just a few days to get prepared after Derek Anderson was knocked out of Monday night's game and playmakers Braylon Edwards and Jamal Lewis were missing from the Browns' lineup.
Quinn, though, said criticism is merited after he was 14-of-24 for 106 yards without a score, turnover or a pass longer than 16 yards.
"There's nothing unfair about it," he insisted. "You can say it was a short week. You can say what you want, but I'm not that type of guy.
"I completely take the burden for his loss. I didn't execute and I didn't get in a rhythm to let the team drive down the field."
Detroit's Jon Kitna threw for 98 yards on his two drives to set up field goals. Rookie Kevin Smith overcame a sluggish start with a 35-yard touchdown. Dave Rayner improved his chances of finding a job by making four field goals in Jason Hanson's place.
Smith was held to 10 yards on his first nine carries. On his next one, the third-round pick took a handoff to the right, cut back and used his speed to get to the sideline, where he got a block from Dan Orlovsky to finish off a long run for a 13-0 lead early in the second quarter.
"When I got to daylight, I saw receivers blocking and Dan was out there," Smith said. "Dan really took two, and then I kind of weaved and dove over the top."
Even though the Lions seem best suited to throw a lot, they are committed to being balanced and acknowledged Smith's run as a positive sign of sticking with the running game.
"That's how the running game is, it's 2, 3, negative-2, nothing, then all the sudden the big one hits," Kitna said. "The running game is like that boxing match where a guy keeps hitting a guy in the body and it doesn't look like much early, but later on they get tired of getting hit in the body and they let their guard down."
Detroit coach Rod Marinelli liked that two runs went for a combined 75 yards, but wants more consistency.
"What I want to do is punish the defense," Marinelli said. "I want to take the legs out of them so they can't rush.
"Then, they'll defend it. Then, we have a chance to use the big guys outside."
Orlovsky completed 13 of 20 passes for 167 yards with a score and an interception. Brian Calhoun's 40-yard run set up Orlovsky's TD pass to Brandon Middleton, giving the Lions a 26-6 lead late in the third.
The Browns were handed a blow Monday night when Anderson left a preseason game against the New York Giants with a concussion. Last season, Anderson made Charlie Frye expendable and kept Quinn on the bench as a rookie.
Cleveland defensive lineman Shaun Rogers had five tackles -- getting booed after each one -- in his first game against the team that traded him during the offseason.
"If they're not rooting for the home team, what are they doing here?" Rogers asked. "It's expected. Maybe if I was a Lion, I'd be a little disappointed."
Detroit (3-0) is the only undefeated team in the NFC North and Cleveland (0-3) is the only winless team in the AFC North.
The Lions, though, were relatively healthy, missing just defensive tackle Cory Redding, cornerback Brian Kelly, kicker Jason Hanson and third-string quarterback Drew Stanton.
The Browns weren't playing with many players who helped them win 10 games last season. Missing were Anderson, Edwards, Lewis, linebacker Willie McGinest, safeties Sean Jones and Brodney Pool along with return specialist Joshua Cribbs.
"Some guys will talk about the guys who didn't make the trip and did not play," Browns coach Romeo Crennel said. "But they had guys who did not play as well. So, you can't use that as an excuse.
"Every game we lose, I'm concerned."


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