Cleveland — Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden missed a couple deep throws in the first half of Sunday’s game against the Lions, but he played well enough in the first two quarters to help his team grab a 17-7 lead.
Then, after halftime, the Lions defense stood up the Browns rushing attack, and Weeden struggled with the task of carrying the team as Cleveland went scoreless in the second half of Detroit’s 31-17 win.
“We just didn’t execute, didn’t do the things we needed to do,” Weeden said. “That starts with me. I need to play better and eliminate, obviously, the mistake at the end. We have to play 60 minutes; that’s all it boils down to.”
The mistake in the fourth quarter will be the lasting memory from Sunday’s game. On a third-and-3 at the Cleveland 38, Weeden felt pressure coming, and as he rolled left to evade it, Lions defensive tackle C.J. Mosley stayed in his face. Weeden pump faked and took a few more steps, and as Mosley dove for him, he flicked the ball underhand toward the sideline where Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy made an interception.
“The quarterback gave (Levy) a gift, so that’s what you look for,” Lions safety Glover Quin said. “He flipped it right to him.”
Weeden said he was trying to throw it over fullback Chris Ogbonnaya’s head, but it didn’t quite make it out of bounds.
“I couldn’t really turn to actually throw it,” Weeden said. “I didn’t want to take a sack there. … It’s almost better to take the sack there and move on to the next play.”
The interception gave the Lions, who led 24-17 at the time, the ball at the Cleveland 49, and they marched to the game-sealing touchdown on the ensuing drive.
“A quarterback like him, he tried to make a play,” Lions safety Louis Delmas said. “Obviously the play didn’t turn out to his favor. Playmakers do that. Sometimes you make good plays; sometimes you make bad plays.”
Weeden made more bad plays than good in the second half, granted he didn’t have much help.
In the first half, Weeden was 12-of-20 for 135 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, and the Browns dominated on the ground, running for a season-high 115 yards on 16 carries.
The Lions held the Browns to just 11 rushing yards in the second half. Without the balance, Weeden went 14-of-23 for 157 yards and an interception, but he had seven completions for 86 yards on the final drive.
Weeden also was sacked twice in the second half after staying upright in the first half.
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said his perception of the quarterback didn’t change after Sunday’s performance.
“I don’t feel differently about anybody,” he said. “What we need to do is learn and grow, and that’s what we’ve been able to do this season.”