CLEVELAND - Apparently Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had no problem with the hit by Browns linebacker Quentin Groves, other than he might have to deal with a sore back today.
Referee Walt Coleman did have a problem with the way Groves delivered the hit. He penalized Groves for unnecessary roughness, giving the Lions a first down on a third-and-3 call at the Browns' 31. It kept alive a drive that ended with a Stafford touchdown pass to Joseph Fauria that put the finishing touches on a 31-27 Lions' victory.
Groves broke free on a blitz and reached Stafford immediately after the ball was released. The timing was right, but Coleman decided that the impact of the follow through was too physical.
"To my knowledge it was a clean hit, but to him it was a judgment call," Groves said.
Groves appeared to pull his hands back as he drove Stafford into the ground. It was his way of showing his intention to back off.
According to Groves, Stafford complimented him on the hit.
Groves didn't want to make too much of his reactions to the penalty. If Coleman hadn't thrown his flag, the Lions might have attempted a 48-yard field goal by David Akers to try to extend their 24-17 lead. A miss would have given the Browns possession at their 38 with about three minutes to play.
"At the end of the day I'm not mad at the call," Groves said. "I'm not going to go talking bad about the ref because he made a judgment call."
NO WAY: Another call that didn't go the way of the Browns came on the second drive of the game when cornerback Joe Haden was penalized for pass interference in coverage of Kevin Ogletree. The replay showed nothing more than mild hand contact when Ogletree cut outside. Haden appeared to tackle Ogletree when the ball arrived. The first down extended a drive that produced six points.
"How they threw the flag, no way," safety Tashaun Gipson said. "No hands; no contact. The first contact he made was on the ball. It was a clean play, and I was right there 2 or 3 yards away."
LITTLE HELP, PLEASE: Gipson admitted that the inability of the offense to score a point or even move the ball with consistency in the second half was frustrating.
"The game seems a lot more lax when the offense is putting points on the board because the pressure is on their offense as opposed to the pressure being solely on the defense," Gipson said.
HOT HANDS: Browns receiver Josh Gordon hauled in seven receptions for 126 yards. It was Gordon's second 100-yard receiving game this season. He's the first Browns receiver to have multiple 100-yard games in a season since Mohamed Massaquoi had two in 2009.
TEAM LEADER: Tight end Jordan Cameron caught five passes for 65 yards. He leads the Browns in catches (38), receiving yards (460) and touchdowns (five). The reception total is the most by a Browns player in the first six games of a season. Earnest Byner had 34 in 1986.
SECOND-QUARTER WOES: The Browns clearly aren't a second-half team. In their three losses they've been outscored in the second half by a combined score of 55-3.
MOVE THE CHAINS: The Browns finished with 126 rushing yards, the most in a game this season. The previous best was 109 against the Vikings. The Browns surpassed that total with 115 in the first half.
ROSTER MOVE: The Browns added receiver Charles Johnson to their roster, signing him off the Green Bay Packers' practice squad. He replaces quarterback Brian Hoyer, who will have surgery on torn knee ligaments Friday.
INACTIVES: Defensive end Billy Winn and linebacker Jabaal Sheard were out for the Browns. Sheard is nursing an ankle injury. Winn is recovering from a knee injury. Other inactives were Johnson, offensive lineman Patrick Lewis, offensive lineman Martin Wallace, offensive lineman Garrett Gilkey and tight end Keavon Milton.
Receiver Calvin Johnson played for the Lions. Johnson missed the previous game against the Packers with a knee injury. He didn't practice Wednesday and was limited Thursday and Friday. Other inactives were receiver Nate Burleson, quarterback Kellen Moore, cornerback Jonte Green, running back Theo Riddick, guard Leroy Harris, tackle Jason Fox and tight end Tony Scheffler.