Sunday’s 30-24 loss by the depleted Browns in Miami should have never gotten to overtime.
Terrelle Pryor totaled 200 yards of total offense catching, throwing and running the football for the Browns in their third straight defeat to open the season. Unfortunately he can’t kick it too.
Cody Parkey, signed Saturday as an emergency following a knee injury sustained by Patrick Murray during a walk-through that landed him on IR, cost the Browns their first win of the season. Parkey shanked 3 of his 5 field goal attempts wide left, including the would-be game winner from 46 yards as time expired in regulation. The other 2 misses were from 41 and 42 yards while he made attempts from 46 and 38.
Jackson pulled out all the stops Sunday mixing Pryor, who also played the final snap of the first half at safety, in at quarterback.
While his decision to not try to inch closer with a run after linebacker Corey Lemonier – a former 2013 third-round pick of the 49ers and a week 1 waiver claim – strip-sacked Tannehill and fell on the ball at the Miami 27 as well as to kick off to start overtime can be questioned, his game plan Sunday was creative and certainly positioned his team to compete and win.
It should also shut the national media up with their tanking talk.
Pryor’s performance was sensational and historic.
Pryor became the first NFL player to register 3 passes, 3 rushes and 3 receptions in the same game since Billy Kilmer in 1964. He caught 8 passes for 144 yards, completed 3 of 5 passes for 35 yards and ran 4 times for 21 yards and a touchdown making him also the first player with 120 or more receiving yards, 30 or more passing yards and more than 20 rushing yards in a single game since Frank Gifford on Dec 6, 1959.
Third round pick Cody Kessler bounced back in strong fashion from a disastrous opening series to complete 21 of 33 passes for 244 yards and 2 fumbles – 1 lost. He was sacked 3 times for a loss of 17 yards.
Kessler’s first 3 NFL snaps went like this: a delay of game penalty on first down, a fumbled snap on second down and a strip sack courtesy of Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake, who beat right tackle Austin Pasztor, on third down. The sequence came after the Browns’ defense forced the first of 3 turnovers when former Dolphin corner Jamar Taylor picked off Ryan Tannehill to give the Browns the ball at the Miami 33.
Despite Kessler becoming the 24th out of 26 quarterbacks to lose his first game and the sixth straight – 12th overall – to not throw a touchdown in his debut, he hardly embarrassed himself even as the game appeared too fast for him at times. Aided by a strong run game, he helped rally the Browns from a 24-13 fourth quarter deficit.
Duke Johnson ran 10 times for 69 yards including a 17-yard burst while Isaiah Crowell led everyone with 79 yards on 15 carries. His longest run went for 25.
DeVante Parker, remember him? He was the Louisville receiver who didn’t want the Browns to draft him. Well, he beat rookie cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun for a 26-yard TD for a 7-0 Dolphins lead 5 plays after the Kessler fumble recovery by Wake. Boddy-Calhoun redeemed himself later in the half when he picked Tannehill and returned it 27 yards to become the first player in franchise history to run back an interception for a score in his first NFL game.
The Browns, who were expected to get steamrolled by the Dolphins, hung tough all afternoon despite falling to 0-3 for the first time since 2012.
They had their opportunities to win the game but like the first 2 weeks of the season, they just didn’t take advantage and get it done.