Reserves Play Well As Bears Top Browns 28-20 In Final Preseason Game
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CLEVELAND (AP) — Quarterback Colt McCoy did little to solidify winning Cleveland’s backup job — or impress any other NFL team — and Chicago’s Josh McCown threw two touchdown passes in the first half, leading the Bears to a 28-20 victory over the Browns on Thursday night in the exhibition finale.
McCoy, who lost his starting job in training camp to rookie Brandon Weeden, is battling Seneca Wallace to be Cleveland’s No. 2 QB. McCoy went 2 of 5 for 16 yards and an interception.
The Bears (3-1) returned an interception and blocked punt for TDs in a 90-second span of the third quarter to pull away from the Browns (2-2).
McCown played the entire game, finishing 20 of 29 for 157 yards and the two TDs. He will sit behind starter Jay Cutler and Jason Campbell.
The Browns are unlikely to keep both McCoy and Wallace on the roster, which must be trimmed to the league-mandated 53-man limit Friday night. Cleveland has discussed trading McCoy, but coach Pat Shurmur has been impressed with the way his former starter has handled his demotion and may want to keep him as insurance should Weeden get hurt.
Shurmur has much more to worry about than naming his backup quarterback.
Cleveland’s special teams were bad again, and rookie running back Trent Richardson still hasn’t returned after undergoing knee surgery on Aug. 9.
Phil Dawson’s 39-yard field goal brought the Browns within 14-10 in the third before the Bears struck quickly.
First, cornerback Greg McCoy picked off Thad Lewis and returned it 15 yards for a TD. Moments later, Bears linebacker Patrick Trahan shoved up-back Rod Windsor into punter Reggie Hodges, whose kick caromed off his teammate’s back and Brittan Golden scooped it up and ran 22 yards for the score.
Rookie Adonis Thomas flipped over from the 1 in the fourth to pull Cleveland within 28-17.
Not wanting to risk injury to any of his starters, Shurmur sat almost all of his first-teamers, including Weeden and his entire defense. Shurmur said earlier this week he was pleased with Weeden’s development during training camp and feels the 28-year-old is ready to face Philadelphia in the Sept. 9 opener.
Weeden didn’t look so smooth last week, fumbling twice as the Eagles hammered the Browns 27-10.
Weeden dressed for the final preseason game but only watched from the sideline as McCoy, who started 13 games last season before being sidelined with a severe concusson, struggled.
On McCoy’s first pass, he never took his eyes off Greg Little and nearly got his wide receiver pummeled. When Cleveland got the ball back, McCoy threw high to intended target Jordan Norwood and was intercepted by Chicago backup free safety Jeremy Jones.
On the first play following the turnover, McCown waited for wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher to get behind rookie Trevin Wade, and the Bears’ versatile wide receiver made a diving, one-handed TD grab. The play stood following an official replay.
McCoy was lifted after one quarter — 13 total plays — and was replaced by Wallace, a nine-year veteran who has made seven starts in two years with Cleveland. Wallace engineered an 80-yard scoring drive before halftime, capping it with his 2-yard TD pass to Windsor.
As Wallace ran off the field, McCoy greeted his teammate with a tap on the helmet and pat on the back.
Like Shurmur, Bears coach Lovie Smith rested his starters in advance of their home opener against Indianapolis. Fullback Tyler Clutts was the only Bears’ first-stringer to start.
Cutler, who threw just one TD pass and completed only 47 percent of his passes in three games, stood on the sideline wearing a baseball cap.
Browns running back Montario Hardesty had six carries for 24 yards, but most importantly he didn’t fumble after a turnover in each of the past two games. His roster spot seems secure because of Richardson’s uncertain status.
Notes: Browns rookie LB James-Michael Johnson injured his side in the first half and did not return. Johnson is expected to start if LB Scott Fujita has to serve his 3-game suspension for his role in the Saints’ bounty scandal. … Bears NT Brian Price and RB Lorenzo Booker sustained head injuries. … Cleveland was outscored 35-6 in first quarters during the preseason.