CLEVELAND - Derek Anderson looked worthy of being a No. 1 quarterback. Rookie Matthew Stafford hardly looked like a No. 1 pick.
Anderson led Cleveland to its first offensive touchdown in seven games and stayed tight with Brady Quinn in their too-close-to-call quarterback competition, helping the Browns beat Stafford and the Detroit Lions 27-10 in their home exhibition opener on Saturday night.
“I thought things went well,” said Anderson, who got the start after coming off the bench at Green Bay last week. “I played all right. I made some good throws and a couple I wish I could have back. It was an opportunity and I was happy to go out there and play well while I was in.”
Joshua Cribbs had an 84-yard TD punt return in the first half as the Browns (1-1) built a 20-0 lead. Rookie James Davis added an 81-yard TD run and 116 yards on 12 carries for Cleveland.
After backing up Quinn in a 17-0 loss to the Packers, Anderson started with the first team and finished 8 of 13 for 130 yards with one interception. The former Pro Bowler made several strong throws, and, as usual, a few bad ones. Re-inserted by coach Eric Mangini to run a 2-minute drill, Anderson threw his pick in the final seconds of the first half, leading to three points for Detroit.
Quinn came in during the second quarter and was sacked on his first play. He went only 3 of 5 for 29 yards.
Mangini was asked if he has a clearer picture about his quarterback dilemma.
“I’m really not going to assess it that way now,” Mangini said. “We’ll keep rolling along and move into next week and see where it goes.”
Stafford, selected first by Detroit in April’s draft, threw an interception on Detroit’s first play and went 5 of 13 for 34 yards. He also overthrew a wide-open Adam Jennings for a potential TD in the first half.
“That’s what football is,” Stafford said. “You’ll play good some weeks and bad some weeks. The tough part about preseason is you get your allotted amount of plays. You can have a bad 25 plays and not get a chance to come back and fix it and make it right in the second half.”
Lions coach Jim Schwartz, who inherited a team that went 0-16 last season, also has yet to settle on a starting QB. Daunte Culpepper, competing with Stafford, went 10 of 16 for 86 yards.
The Lions made plenty of mistakes: turnovers, penalties, dropped passes. Schwartz also had to deal with a pregame fight between tight end Carson Butler and defensive end Dewayne White, who tangled during warmups.
“I’ve never seen that before,” Schwartz said. “The thing I like about it is they were competitive and going hard. I came in and said, ’Some of y’all thought the game started at 7 o’clock instead of 7:30.’ Obviously that’s something that shouldn’t happen and it’s already been addressed.”
White hasn’t put the skirmish behind him yet.
“We’ll probably have to go at it one more time when we’re not playing a game — next week sometime,” he said. “There’s going to be bad blood between us.”
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