Lions' offense quiet in 13-12 win over Browns

By NOAH TRISTER - AP Sports Writer
    2014-08-09 23:32

DETROIT (AP) - Matthew Stafford's appearance was brief, and Calvin Johnson didn't play at all.

So if Detroit fans were hoping to see what the Lions' new offense is capable of, they'll have to keep waiting.

''We have a lot of different looks and a lot of different plays that we can show the opposing defense,'' Stafford said. ''You didn't see a lot of that tonight, because we barely gameplanned for this game at all, so there weren't a lot of the things that we will have in the regular season.''

The Lions beat the Cleveland Browns 13-12 on Saturday night in a game most noteworthy because of Johnny Manziel's preseason debut. The Cleveland rookie looked solid at quarterback after entering in the second quarter.

Stafford led the Lions to a field goal on his only drive of the game. He went 2 for 4 for 18 yards.

Detroit's Kellen Moore threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Corey Fuller with 1:05 remaining in the game, and Giorgio Tavecchio made the long extra point to give the Lions the one-point win. That was long after Detroit's top offensive players had called it a night.

''We determined that they only needed one drive tonight,'' coach Jim Caldwell said. ''If it had been a three-and-out, that might have been different.''

There was plenty of evidence that this was the first preseason game - the Lions had trouble all night getting the right number of players on the field for punt returns. But there was a buzz in the stadium because of Manziel's debut, and the former Heisman Trophy winner took the field with 7:32 remaining in the first half, drawing a few cheers but also plenty of boos from the Detroit crowd.

Amid a fair number of camera flashes at Ford Field, Manziel took the snap and immediately completed a 6-yard pass toward the left sideline to Anthony Armstrong.

But the Lions stuffed the Cleveland quarterback on what looked like a read option on third down, ending that drive.

Manziel went 7 of 11 for 63 yards, completing one more pass than Cleveland starter Brian Hoyer. Manziel also ran for 27 yards on six carries, including a 16-yard scramble in the third quarter.

''It was a good start,'' he said. ''You have to start somewhere and set a foundation. I got my feet wet, got my first preseason game under my belt.''

Cleveland receiver Nate Burleson, who played in Detroit the last four seasons, sat out.

Billy Cundiff kicked four field goals for the Browns, and rookie Nate Freese made two for the Lions. Detroit was playing its first preseason game under Caldwell, and the offense did little to impress with Stafford barely playing. Backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky went 12 of 23 for 89 yards.

''This is a two-part process, because forgetting everything I've learned in the last five years is just as important as embracing the new stuff,'' Stafford said. ''It's tough, but I'm trying to get all the old stuff out of my head as soon as possible, so that I can really pick up everything we are doing now.''

Johnson, Stafford's top receiving target, was held out of the game. There was no real need to risk an injury to the star receiver, and Caldwell was noncommittal when asked if Johnson would play in the next preseason game.

Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon played while awaiting word from the NFL on his appeal of a possible suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. He caught two passes for 32 yards. Hoyer went 6 of 14 for 92 yards.

Rookie tight end Eric Ebron, Detroit's first-round draft pick, played after missing some practice time during the week with an injury. He caught one pass.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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