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Lions vs. Browns final score: Detroit ends pathetic preseason with loss to Cleveland, 35-17

Get live updates as the Lions close out the preseason vs. the Cleveland Browns.

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Cleveland Browns v Detroit Lions Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

The Lions lost their final preseason game in another ugly game, dropping their preseason record to 1-3. Here’s a recap:

First quarter

The Browns got the ball first and didn’t take any time driving downfield against the Lions’ second string defense. They got a big play out of tight end Devon Cajuste (of “Hard Knocks” fame) after Rolan Milligan fell down in coverage and was injured on the play. Just a few plays later, Nick Chubb would convert a fourth-and-1 for a 3-yard touchdown run.

With Jake Rudock as the starting quarterback, the Lions offense quickly went three-and-out. Here’s what their starting offensive lineup looked like:

Baker Mayfield and the Browns continued to move the ball downfield with little pushback, but the Lions did eventually force them into a field goal. Brown 10-0.

But during commercial break, the play of the game happened:

Love you, Lions fans.

Rudock took his second drive and nearly went three-and-out again, but a defensive holding extended the drive... for three more plays. The Lions punted again without earning a first down.

The first quarter ended with the Browns continuing to drive, and the Lions declaring two roster bubble players, Rolan Milligan (chest) and Zach Zenner (back) out for the rest of the game.

Second quarter

The Brown offense continued to look unstoppable. Facing a third-and-6, Browns running back Matthew Dayes took a draw play for a 42-yard touchdown. 17-0 Browns.

The Lions took the ball, and stop me if you’ve heard this, but they went three-and-out again. Thankfully, the Lions defense finally got a stop of their own, and the Browns punted for the first time.

But the Lions offense couldn’t muster up anything. They did get another first down (by penalty, again), but that was it. Another drive, another punt.

The Lions defense forced another punt, and it was time for Matt Cassel to put in his best efforts for a two-minute drill to end the half.

Surprisingly... he did well... well, up until he didn’t. Cassel quickly drove the Lions into Browns territory, but on a third-and-1, Cassel threw a pass right into Brown defensive lineman Nate Orchard’s hands and Orchard took it 64 yards for a Cleveland touchdown.

The Browns rubbed it in with a two-point conversion. 25-0 Browns.

Third quarter

The Lions finally got on the board, but it was thanks to a Browns turnover. After punting on their first offensive possession, the Lions recovered a muffed punt that hit an unsuspecting Browns player. Already in field goal position, it didn’t matter that the Lions would end up going backwards, as Ryan Santoso knocked through a 46-yard field goal. 25-3 Browns.

The teams would trade punts for a couple of possession, with Cassel unable to move the Lions offense downfield and Browns third-stringer Brogan Roback struggling the same.

In the end, the Browns would end up adding a field goal, too. 28-3 Browns.

Fourth quarter

With Jake Rudock back in the game with some third and fourth stringers, the Lions offense showed a little bit of life. Thanks to a big pass interference penalty, and solid 21-yard scramble from Rudock, the Lions got down into the red zone and Dwayne Washington punched it in from the 1-yard line. 28-10 Browns.

The game would end unceremoniously with no “exciting” comeback this time. The Browns would essentially put the game away with a nine-play, 90-yard drive, ending with a 22-yard touchdown pass. 35-10 Browns.

Rudock would again lead the Lions to a late-game touchdown thanks to a superb grab from Teo Redding and a solid fade pass to Chris Lacy. 35-17 Browns.


The 2018 NFL preseason mercifully comes to an end on Thursday night. All 32 NFL teams will be in action, including our beloved Detroit Lions.

The Lions exhibition season ends as it always should: with a contest against the Cleveland Browns for the glorious Great Lakes Freighter Trophy.

Yes, the two teams used to actually award a trophy to the winner of a preseason game. The Athletic’s Ty Schalter has a phenomenal read on the history of the pathetic-yet-hilarious bronzed ship.

“The Great Lakes Classic preseason series was a throwback to the leather-helmet days of the NFL, an echo of decades-old college football traditions and a revival of a proven concept,” Schalter wrote. “It was an innovative way to generate excitement around exhibition games, and a clever leveraging of dollars earmarked for charity.”

Of course, what followed was over a decade’s worth of ineptness for both franchises, leading the trophy to become a joke and the preseason matchup to become an even bigger farce than before.

The Great Lakes Classic was scrapped in 2015, but with both franchises looking to be on the rebound, maybe this is the start of the revival of the Great Lakes Classic. Or maybe this is just another preseason finale we’re all in a hurry to get past.

Either way, if you’re interested in watching, the game happens to be nationally televised. Here’s how to catch Lions vs. Browns.

How to watch

Date: Thursday, August 30, 2018
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Ford Field—Detroit, MI
Nationally televised: NFL Network
Locally televised:
WJBK (FOX/2 - Detroit)
WNEM (CBS/5 - Saginaw)
WSYM (FOX/47 - Lansing)
WXMI (FOX/17 - Grand Rapids)
WFQX (FOX/32 - Traverse City MI)
WUPW (FOX/36 - Toledo OH)
WJMN (CBS/3 - Escanaba MI)
Online streaming: NFL Game Pass (free 7-day trial),
Announcers: Matt Shepard, Chris Spielman, Tori Petry
Local radio: WJR-AM NEWS TALK 760
Radio announcers: Dan Miller, Lomas Brown

Replay times:

Friday, August 31

  • 12 a.m. ET - Fox Sports Detroit
  • 3 p.m. ET - Fox Sports Detroit

Saturday, September 1

  • 12 p.m. ET - NFL Network
  • 12 p.m. ET - Fox Sports Detroit

Sunday, September 2

  • 9 p.m. ET - Fox Sports Detroit