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NFL Game Summary - Miami at Cleveland
(Sunday, September 8th)
Final Score: Miami 23, Cleveland 10
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Ryan Tannehill threw for 272 yards with a touchdown and the Miami defense came up with three interceptions and six sacks in a 23-10 victory over Cleveland, as the new-look Dolphins handed the Browns their ninth straight season-opening loss and spoiled the head coaching debut for Cleveland's Rob Chudzinski.
Tannehill, a 2012 first-round pick in his second year as Miami's starting quarterback, completed 24-of-38 passes for the Dolphins (1-0), who were 7-9 last year in Joe Philbin's first season as head coach.
Brian Hartline caught nine passes for 114 yards, including the go-ahead 34- yard touchdown in the third quarter, as Miami outscored Cleveland 17-3 in the second half. Mike Wallace, the Dolphins' big free-agent acquisition on offense, was a non-factor with one catch for 15 yards.
The Dolphins, in their new uniforms with a lighter shade of aqua and a new helmet logo, are hoping to end a string of four straight losing seasons, which matches the longest in franchise history. They've reached the playoffs just once in the past 11 years, a surprise AFC East championship in 2008.
Cleveland has had just one playoff appearance and two winning seasons since returning to the NFL as an expansion franchise in 1999. The Browns have endured five straight losing seasons, never winning more than five games a year in that span.
A 5-11 mark in 2012 ended Pat Shurmur's two-year tenure in Cleveland, which is now in its first full season under new ownership and management. Jimmy Haslam took over as owner last October and Joe Banner replaced Mike Holmgren as head of football operations.
Brandon Weeden, a 2012 first-round pick also in his second year as Cleveland's starting signal-caller, connected on 26-of-53 throws for 289 yards with a touchdown and the three picks for the Browns (0-1), who were just 1-for-14 on third down.
"A disappointing game and a tough start," Chudzinski said. "There's a lot of football left to be played this season."
The Dolphins, despite three interceptions of Weeden, trailed 7-6 at halftime, then took the lead with 6:46 remaining in the third when Tannehill hit Hartline with a perfect throw down the left sideline for a 34-yard touchdown.
Cleveland answered with a 39-yard field goal from Billy Cundiff with 3:02 left in the period, then punted after reaching midfield on the next series and the Dolphins followed with an 85-yard touchdown march.
Tannehill ignited the 10-play set with passes of 24 and 16 yards on the first two plays to reach Cleveland territory. He finished 6-of-7 for 78 yards on the series and a pass interference penalty in the end zone set up Daniel Thomas' dive from the one for the score and a 20-10 advantage with 6:48 remaining.
The Browns failed to pick up a fourth down deep in their own territory on the ensuing series and the Dolphins tacked on three points with a 36-yard field goal from Caleb Sturgis.
Cleveland then drove deep into Miami territory and Weeden threw a touchdown pass with 1:40 left that would have cut the deficit to six, but a holding penalty negated the score and the Browns soon after turned it over on downs.
The Dolphins prevailed despite rushing for a meager 20 yards on 23 attempts, led by Thomas' 14 yards. Miami did, however, convert 8-of-16 on third down.
"That's not a good way to live in the NFL, you've gotta have balance," Philbin said of the rushing total.
Weeden had the Browns on the move to start the game, but fired a deep pass toward the end zone from the Miami 40 and was picked off by Nolan Carroll at the one. The Dolphins were unable to escape the shadow of their own goal line, but took their second possession 58 yards for a field goal.
Tannehill converted a trio of third downs on the 15-play series, which took more than seven minutes off the clock and ended with a 45-yard kick from Sturgis. The rookie added a 49-yard boot early in the second quarter for a 6-0 edge after Miami's Dimitri Patterson came up with a second interception of Weeden in the closing seconds of the first period.
Weeden appeared to have thrown a 49-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Cameron midway through the second, but he was ruled down by contact at the Miami 22 and disaster followed. Weeden went toward Cameron on the very next play, but the poorly thrown pass was deflected by the tight end and picked off by a diving Patterson.
Tannehill, though, returned the favor and had a tipped pass intercepted by Tashaun Gipson at the Cleveland 15. The 29-yard return set the Browns up at their own 44 with just over four minutes left in the half and led to Weeden's 7-yard scoring toss to Cameron with 28 seconds to play before the break.
The Dolphins had a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown by Marcus Thigpen negated by a holding penalty early in the third quarter.
Cleveland is 1-14 in its last 15 openers ... Cameron led the Browns with nine catches for 108 yards ... Trent Richardson was the lone ball carrier for Cleveland and had 47 yards on 13 carries ... Miami previously had four straight losing seasons from its expansion year of 1966 through 1969 ... Rookie cornerbacks Will Davis and Jamar Taylor were among Miami's inactives ... The Browns were without their top rookie in linebacker Barkevious Mingo, who has been sidelined with a bruised lung ... Hall of Fame wide receiver Paul Warfield, who played for both the Browns and Dolphins, participated in pregame ceremonies.
09/09 01:32:22 ET
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