Browns' Brandon Weeden much improved vs. Bengals

A fair amount of mirth was derived from Brandon Weeden's encounter with a mammoth-sized American flag two Sundays ago. His debut for the Cleveland Browns, of course, was no laughing matter.

On NFL Replay
NFL Replay
will re-air the New York Giants' 41-34 win over the Tampa Bay  Buccaneers in Week 2 on Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. ET.

The rookie quarterback was much improved in Sunday's tight 34-27 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Instead of rattling off four interceptions -- eyes glazed-over, staring into the distance -- Weeden looked the part in his first taste of this AFC North rivalry.

Weeden's 322-yard day set a Cleveland rookie passing record, but numbers aren't the main story here. We saw a more comfortable passer. In his second game, Weeden spread the ball around to eight different receivers and successfully pushed the team downfield for the first time in a Browns uniform.

Receiver Greg Little noticed a difference in the huddle. "He was on the edge. Not in a bad way, but talking to us all, 'C'mon, hold 'em right here. Give me time so I can get it downfield.' Or, 'Receivers, make sure you get your depth,'" Little told the Akron Beacon Journal. "Really more authoritative with everybody."

Weeden's improvement was matched by a big day from rookie running back Trent Richardson, who shut the Bengals up with 109 yards on the ground and a sizzling 23-yard touchdown reception that showed off his moves. Richardson ran lower to the ground and shook off tacklers.

The Browns have more work to do. This group of receivers lacks a true leader and the attack seems to fizzle out and break down too often during games, but the new pieces made a difference on Sunday. We saw a glimpse of team identity, and so did the Bengals. That's been missing in Cleveland for a long, long time.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

See all the Action

Replay every game all season.