Griffin throws 2 TD passes in Browns' 24-13 loss to Falcons
CLEVELAND (AP) Robert Griffin III gave the Cleveland Browns some hope with a strong home debut.
Griffin threw two touchdown passes in the first half in the Browns' 24-13 exhibition loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night.
Griffin found wide receiver Terrelle Pryor streaking down the right sideline on Cleveland's second drive of the game for a 50-yard scoring strike. Griffin connected with tight end Gary Barnridge for a 22-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.
''Those were two great plays,'' Griffin said. ''TP running by a guy and making a play and Gary making an amazing catch. We were able to get things clicking a little bit working the long ball''
Griffin signed with the Browns (0-2) after being released by Washington. He was 6 of 8 for 96 yards in four series, and ran for 36 yards on three carries - including a 22-yarder.
Devonta Freeman scored on a 19-yard run to cap Atlanta's first drive. Matt Ryan played three series and completed 6 of 11 passes for 78 yards.
Atlanta (2-0) trailed 13-10 at halftime, but went ahead on Brandon Wilds' 32-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. The Falcons gained 498 yards, including 224 on the ground.
''The real story was the line of scrimmage,'' Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said. ''For us to have the ability to run the ball like we did, that's a real plus.''
Falcons: LBs Deion Jones and De'Vondre Campbell were in the starting lineup. Jones, a second-round draft pick, played in the middle while Campbell, taken in the fourth round, played on the weak side.
Falcons: QB Matt Simms, who is competing with Sean Renfree for the No. 3 spot, directed a 15-play, 98-yard drive for a fourth-quarter touchdown.
Browns: K Patrick Murray, who is competing with Travis Coon, made an extra point after Cleveland's first touchdown.
Falcons: PK Nick Rose handled all of the team's kicking duties because of injuries. PK Matt Bryant didn't play beacuse of tightness, according to the team. P Matt Bosher left the game with a chest injury after taking a big hit from LB Tank Carder covering a kick. DE/LB Vic Beasley (shoulder), RB Terron Ward (ankle) and S Kemal Ishmael (shoulder) were also out.
Browns: WR Corey Coleman, the team's No. 1 draft pick, has yet to play in the preseason because of a left hamstring injury. RT Joe Thomas (back), CB Joe Haden (ankle) and WR Andrew Hawkins (hamstring) were also out. S Rahim Moore was taken to the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion.
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WR Josh Gordon (quad) returned to practice Tuesday but didn't play. He is suspended for the first four games of the regular season after missing the entire 2015 season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
Falcons: ''I thought we were sharper than we were in the first week. We made some plays in the passing game and we ran the ball well.'' - Ryan on the offense.
Browns: ''As a receiver, if the ball is anywhere in your area you try and make the catch. It was a good ball, great protection.'' - Pryor on his touchdown catch.
C Cam Erving fired a shotgun snap over Griffin's head in the second quarter, sending the quarterback racing for the ball. Griffin recovered for what would have been a 24-yard loss, but had his facemask grabbed by linebacker Sean Weatherspoon.
''I don't want to have to coach that, but it's something we have to fix,'' Browns coach Hue Jackson said. ''That was disappointing to have the ball go over the quarterback's head.''
Veteran DE Dwight Freeney, signed last week, played his first game with Atlanta after signing last week.
''It's hard to get the rust off,'' he said. ''I got about six to eight plays. I felt a little rusty, but that's what preseason is for.''
Falcons C Alex Mack, who played his first seven seasons with the Browns, visited with several of his former teammates on the field before the game.