GREEN BAY, Wisc. — Robert Griffin III‘s first preseason play with the Cleveland Browns was a 49-yard completion down the sideline.
That play was the highlight of two series in which Griffin completed 4 of 8 passes for 67 yards — with one interception at the goal line.
Griffin’s first drive in the 17-11 loss was his best. Facing mainly Green Bay Packers starters, Griffin completed passes of 49 yards to Terrelle Pryor, 7 yards to Gary Barnidge and 8 yards to Pryor to convert a third down.
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That’s so Browns: QB Cody Kessler runs out of back of the end zone
Cleveland Browns rookie Cody Kessler threw a touchdown pass on his first attempt in Friday night’s 17-11 preseason loss to the Green Bay Packers, but then ran behind the end line on his next play, giving Green Bay a safety and providing plenty of chuckles for anyone watching.
“It was a great play by TP,” Griffin said of the pass to Pryor. “He tracked the ball down and has been doing that all offseason and all of training camp. He made a play for us. We are going to need those kind of plays to win games.”
Two plays later, Griffin tried to hit Barnidge down the middle of the field. Griffin threw as if Barnidge would take his route inside, but Barnidge kept running down the field.
Packers safety Micah Hyde then made the diving interception. Barnidge went to Griffin after the play and appeared to take responsibility for the miscue.
“We have some work to do,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “We had some chances, but we have to not turn the ball over. One of our goals is to not turn the ball over. If you don’t turn it over, mostly good things are going to happen.”
Griffin took responsibility for the miscue.
“That’s on me,” he said. “I’m the quarterback. I have to make sure we are not hurting ourselves with penalties or turnovers.”
Griffin quarterbacked one more possession, and he was not productive against the backups.
“Our operation was smooth getting in and out of the huddle, getting the plays and making the calls,” Griffin said. “We had a few mistakes, but overall, I thought it was good for us to get out and go against another team. We look forward to getting back on the field during the next preseason game.”
In four more pass attempts, Griffin had one 3-yard completion to Barnidge. He then missed three throws in a row, badly overthrowing Taylor Gabriel on third down.
One of his incompletions on his second possession came when he threw a screen pass that was heading straight to the ground.
In two series, Griffin had two first downs, one interception and one botched handoff that he was able to recover. Forty-nine of his 67 yards came on one play. Griffin’s rating for his first two series with the Browns: 39.1.
“I’m the quarterback,” Griffin said. “I have to make sure we are not hurting ourselves with penalties or turnovers.”
Meanwhile, rookie Cody Kessler had a not-so-memorable debut. Kessler threw a 10-yard touchdown on his first pass, but then ran out the back of the end zone as he escaped the rush. Kessler followed with another safety late in the fourth quarter.